Nevertheless, it is my conviction that this action by these rabbis was fundamentally wrong, and led to a terrible Hillul HaShem.
My reasons for saying so are:
1) The Hillul HaShem is an expression of their inability to communicate Jewish concerns in a manner that can command anything close to respect. Indeed, the entire situation reminds me of the way the Rambam characterizes the first of the three approaches to Drashot of Hazal. Certainly the result is precisely as Rambam describes there, that the average person ends up mocking the Torah (or worse)