Dear Patheos: Which Topic Was the Last Straw?

I appreciate the support I am getting from readers today via email and social media. Twitter support has been especially strong with numerous readers asking why my blog was live one day and gone the next.

Thus far, no additional specific information has come to light. According to the information I received Monday from Patheos COO Jeremy McGee, my blog did not fit Patheos “strategic objectives.” Assuming that the diverse blogs remaining do fit the strategy, I am puzzled about what those objectives are.

Being a curious sort, I got to wondering what clues I might find by looking at my recent posts. Over the past two weeks, I posted the following articles at Patheos.

So which of those posts might have crossed a line?

Much of the interest on social media has focused on the fact that Mark Driscoll and Gospel for Asia CEO K.P. Yohannan are blogging at Patheos now while I am not. Apparently, the strategic objectives of Patheos include those fellows.

Ponder that.

UPDATE (8/1/18) – An earlier version of this article referred to a possible connection to BN Media and Joe Gregory. I learned today from Joe Gregory’s attorney that Gregory sold his interest in BN Media in 2013 and therefore has no involvement with BN Media. I regret the misinformation and apologize to Mr. Gregory for any problem this may have caused. I have corrected this post to reflect this new information.

44 thoughts on “Dear Patheos: Which Topic Was the Last Straw?”

  1. Rampaging atheist here, outraged at this mistreatment. Will bookmark to read, though I never posted much. If I haddid, Disqus would be easiest; I have no idea why people don’t like it.

  2. I’m really encouraged to see a lot of people willing to move to your new platform away from patheos, and also willing to leave a comment. Are you going to move away from this current comment system towards disqus or something? or stay put with this?

    1. Probably go back with Disqus to keep continuity but that hasn’t been completely decided.

      1. For what it’s worth, I do hope you find Disqus useful for your new location, as it’s a fairly easy platform for creating and maintaining dialogue.

      2. I couldn’t find the “leave a comment” link, so I’ll speak directly to the big guy. So Beliefnet acquired Patheos last year, and Jay Sekulow is on Beliefnet’s Board. I have to mention how helpful your exposee of the Sekulow family’s financial enrichment through their positions as ACLJ Board members was. I keep tweeting those links to anyone who regards Sekulow as less than a huckster. Now I’ll just post links to the Guardian where the story broke, although your posts were vastly more engaging.

        I have a really good feeling about your new chapter, Professor.

  3. Your blog is the best online IMHO. I’m extremely disappointed that Pathos is so tunnel visioned. Where else can we learn about the LGBT world from a Christian (I mean REAL Christian) perspective? Where can we learn about the religious scams, the misguided thinking and so forth that the wider Christian world seems to so often ignore? This blog is such a valuable resource, please don’t leave us without it!
    BTW there’s new research on trans minds showing the reality of trans sexuality.

  4. Dear sir,

    Please, know that I have trusted you and relied on your insights for years. Whatever Patreos is doing, all Incan think about is that they are hiding the truth. For all your hard work, thankSam B

  5. Judging from the company’s Beliefnet, the “strategic objectives” might be to create and legitimate a lovely fantasy world populated with nice, mostly white middle-class heterosexuals who ignore things like institutional injustice, income inequality, sexual minorities, poor people etc.

    In other words, it’s about creating propaganda for the rightness of whiteness.

    But, you don’t play that game.

  6. Warren,

    Do you have an e-mail contact at Patheos that people could ask directly why your blog was dropped? and what other blogs have been dropped as well?

  7. Warren

    Are you telling us that Patheos simply dropped you without warning? Wow! Too bad!

  8. I’ve heard that the truth is hard to find. Maybe it’s the way those in different authority positions make determinations about where and how far a body has to go to find it. If I were to guess- I would my my usual conclusion about which of the blogs- on which topics cause you to be declared a “non-person” for the purpose of Patheos. In situations like this, my conclusion is generally, all of the above. Your coverage of Gospel For Asia , and KP Yohannon burgeoning self adulation and increasingly suspect financial conduct- Mark Driscoll’s exponentially multiplying ego, and still more questionable financial behavior- David Barton’s courses of study- which are an historical version of Trump University- and of course the faux history of the Diamond and Silk lunatic fringe cheerleaders , and their epic lying praise of the NRA in an America that never existed (in this dimension, at least).
    I do concede that the party capable of mounting the most forceful retaliation would likely be the NRA- even though I can see these liars easily uniting to pile on until a decision is made that soothes them.
    Hope your emails still arrive.

  9. I am not a Christian, and I think I even posted some critical comments some time ago. But I am shocked and disgusted by this move by Patheos. I am glad you are standing up for justice.

  10. I don’t know what to think about all that.

    On one hand, it’s a clear act of evil authoritarianism.

    On the other hand, being a christian also means obeying God – whatever God asks. Symbolically, it’s a call to obey the authorithy without questionning.

  11. I started reading your posts back when I was trying to make sense of my experience of bullying and abuse in the church. At the time, you were writing a lot about Driscoll’s reign of terror, and so much of it sounded familiar. Your willingness to expose this type of authoritarian religious ‘leadership’ was a real godsend!

    Glad that I’ll still be able to follow you here! Keep up the good work. Please 🙂

  12. Er, hi, the connections of BN Media (new owners of Patheos) with the NRA and the extreme and homophobic Christian Right is why a lot of Pagan bloggers, including me, left Patheos in early 2017.

  13. BN Media acquired Beliefnet from Fox, circa 201o. Beliefnet later acquired Patheos in Sept 2016, which was shortly after Trump was named the official GOP candidate and less than 2 months before the general election – pretty auspicious timing considering it was the 81% white evangelical vote that put Trump into the WH. Although BN Media is a for profit LLC, they are based in Pat Robertson country, Virginia Beach (Pat was the man who launched Jay Sekulow’s Right Wing Christian empire, calling it the Christian version of the ACLU).

    BN Media seems to mostly make their money off of right wing religious groups who channel revenues for all kinds of secular services through BNM’s other company, Affinity4, via their followers. In this respect, they are similar to James Robison who uses donations from well meaning Christians intended for starving orphans to fund his conservative news empire, The Stream. Both Robison and BNM are controlling politic spin using the profits made off of the name of Jesus Christ.

    It’s pretty clear that BNM partners with the top far right Big Eva folks. For those not familiar here’s an article that outlines BNM’s lack of tolerance for free speech.

    Jay Sekulow would, no doubt, want to silence Warren, but why now? If I had to pick from your listed articles, I would choose the NRA one over the others.

    Thus far, Trump has failed to drain the swamp, create loads of new jobs where promised, build the wall plus a lot of other stuff. What he has dramatically accomplished in his first year and a half is staunchly supporting the most corrupt televangelists in the country and he has a made a lot of noise about the Second Amendment.

    Both Trump and Pence personally spoke at the Annual NRA Meeting this month in DFW (first time for both a sitting POTUS and VP to do so at the same event). That meeting had a record high attendance. People ate the Trump/Pence rhetoric up. Trump has put in one very conservative SCOTUS to protect the 2nd Amendment and it sounds like another will be forthcoming as a replacement for Kennedy.

    The problem is this whole #NeverAgain (Parkland) movement isn’t going away any time soon. Regardless of folks’ opinions on gun control, all of the relentless school shootings are resulting in one of the most difficult seasons ever for the NRA, which is why protecting the NRA would become mission critical.

    If GFA, Driscoll or Gateway had the sway to silence Warren, they would have done so a lot sooner than now. But if WT continues to take on the two major accomplishments (protecting the 2nd Amend & promoting Christian Nationalism) that are resulting in a whole lotta red MAGA hats and rallies, that would be a “problem” that must be “solved”. Trump’s decisions are based on 2020, not 2018. Sekulow is not that talented of an attorney. What he mainly brings to the party is his connections to these right wing conservative Christian groups ie political activists/voters.

    Since appeasing gun enthusiasts and Christian Nationalists rank amongst Trump’s more visible voter achievements, Sekulow & other Beliefnetters need to protect that. The fact is that Warren shines a brighter light of truth than other journalists. As Dan pointed out, other Patheos bloggers have criticized the NRA before with no visible retribution for having done so.

    What sets Warren apart from other bloggers is his sizable source base and his redoubtable nature. No one who has followed his persistent coverage on Mars Hill, David Barton, Gateway or GFA can argue that when corrupt organizations find themselves in his crosshairs, they tend to lose a lot of business. Warren is one of the few investigative journos who spends time developing contacts. If he decided to look into the NRA during this #NeverAgain movement, who knows what would be exposed? BNM may be seeking to bury a story that hasn’t come out yet.

    We should all prepare to see more oppression like this in the future. It is a sign of the times and quite discouraging that it is coming from the religious right, yet is targeting a Christian professor/journalist.

    1. Gosh I feel better, gosh the interweb feels better… I thought they silenced you. Glad to see you around.

    2. I was getting worried. Nice to see you show up. Hope you look both ways before you cross the street.
      I think a lot worse is coming. I keep saying that only Evangelicals can provided the tens of millions of votes to dominate society. We are the battleground of the future.

    3. It is interesting that there are other bloggers on Patheos, particularly on the Progeressive channel, who have been willing to say negative things about Driscoll, Barton, the NRA, etc. and who have not been removed from the platform.

      I suspect that Warren may have been singled out because his blog is on the “Evangelical” channel. Progressive Christians are pretty unlikely to support Driscoll, the NRA, etc. anyway, so anti-NRA rhetoric there is mostly preaching to the choir and unlikely to harm their profits and political influence. However, if some of their Evangelical Christian target demographic is enlightened about the lies of these sleazebags, that could actually threaten the bottom line of groups like the ACLJ and the NRA.

    4. This is the most convincing explanation so far – thanks, GW. I’d say Warren is the Seth Abramson of the world of evangelical corruption, but I’m not sure anyone else would know what I’m talking about. 🙂

      Glad to see you mostly settled in your new home, Doc Throck, and still as feisty as ever. I don’t have to agree with you on every point of theology to appreciate your research efforts to support the vulnerable and your personal valuation of the truth (refreshing in these times of “alternative facts”).

      Any chance you’ll be able to reroute links to your old article locations to the new? I notice you’ve already fallen out of Google results for GFA. 🙁

  14. Keep up the investigative reporting. It was your articles on GFA that prompted us to terminate our giving to them a couple of years ago. And an easy reference for friends when GFA was discussed.

    Regards, Mark

  15. Remember this the next time a right winger screams about free speech. They demand their rights but if they could (and when they can) they deny rights to others. I wish all the liberal and nonreligious blogs could migrate from patheos. It’s a shitty platform anyway.

    1. It’s a private blog. Why would equate free speech with a blog someone else owns?

  16. Patheos is a hellhole of obnoxious ads. Sad that you had to move, but this is 100% better.

  17. Absolutely shocked Warren. I assumed there was an issue with Patheos and refreshed all day yesterday until I finally went to the front page and realized it was just your blog.

    Given their ownership I really shouldn’t be shocked though. Seems like it was only a matter of time…

    That said, the Patheos website is a travesty (as is Disqus) so from a selfish point of view this is fantastic for me…

  18. This stinks.

    While I am very far in my beliefs from evangelical Christianity and find many of its practitioners utterly appalling in their attempts to influence public policy and law, you always brought reason and compassion to matters of social controversy. I hope you continue your blog and I will make a more concerted effort to seek out your opinion on such matters.

  19. I am thrilled that you will continue your blogging! I am sorry that Patheos removed you without a true explanation.

    Sometimes, those that seek honesty and/or accountability must simply ‘shake the dust off their feet’, and move on.

  20. Wow, quite a shock to see the 410 where your blog used to be. What a shoddy way to treat a long time blogger on the Patheos platform. Clearly Patheos is lying to you regarding the reason for your ouster, especially given the diverse subject matter the site allows on its pages.

    Of the reasons you speculate on, I would lean toward it being another blogger on the network threatening to kick up a fuss and/or walk if they didn’t do something about you, and after looking at the page view stats and money they generate, decided you were expendable.

    I understand the benefits of blogging network, but I’m not sure Patheos is much help in that regard these days. Ever since their new design, their landing pages for the various religious sections have been absolutely useless when it comes to discovering new content. Half the blog posts given prominence at the top of those pages are from weeks, months, or even years ago, which is especially frustrating to realize after reading the article and deciding to add a comment only to find the last comment posted there was over a year ago.

    Just the other week, I was wanting to see what the Catholic bloggers were saying about the Alfie Evans situation, and there was not one single post about it on the Catholic front page, despite the fact that more than a dozen Catholic bloggers had written about it. (I had to use the search to find those.)

    The best way to keep your stories in the public eye is social media — Twitter and Facebook, et al. I think if you’re a regular presence on both those platforms, you won’t have any issues keeping your work in the public eye. If Patheos thinks it doesn’t need you, then you don’t need Patheos.

    All the best for the new blog. Now I know where to find you again, I shall continue to drop in from time to time.

  21. Hello Warren,

    What a bummer that they would take a solid watchdog blog like yours down. We need you more than ever now with all the rip-off “Christian” organizations, abuse scandals, etc. I sure hope you get a lot of traffic here, and I would hope that a major news organization like Huffington Post or Slate would make a story out of this. Patheos ought to be held accountable.

    Thanks for your good work.

    Ruth A. Tucker

  22. You’d think that if it was the NRA post, they’d just ask you to take that single post down, rather than dumping the entire blog (along with the associated revenue those archives generated). Other Patheos bloggers (Hemant Mehta, Jeff Hood come to mind) have written posts scathingly critical of the NRA and didn’t face consquences like this.

  23. Dear Warren,

    I am writing from Australia, and started reading your blog back in 2014 as you addressed the manifold issues coming to light (as uncovered by you and others) in what was the sad unfolding of events at Mars Hill Church. I appreciated your candour, integrity, diligence and grace in the way you did this, and since then have continued to read your posts, appreciating not just the way you write but the integrity of character you bring to them.

    This morning I looked for your Patheos page and received an error message. I then looked for you in the list of Patheos columnists and couldn’t find you. So, I contacted Patheos asking if you are okay.

    An online search has now revealed that you have been removed as a columnist by Patheos.

    I am sorry for this, and for what appears to be the lack of any sense of due process in the way this took place. There will be a story here which will no doubt become clearer in time.

    However, from someone who has never written before, may I thank you so very much for all you do and have done: your hard work, research, analysis, insights and observations are very much appreciated. The amount of time you spend behind the scenes for your posts must be astounding. In reading you over the years I have been struck by the grace you bring to your investigative reporting. What has unfolded in some of the main threads (like Mars Hill Church, Gospel for Asia, David Barton to name but a few) brings to light behaviour which is frankly often sad, confronting and hard to fathom; but opportunities are presented for those involved to respond, engage, clarify, repent, even make amends and be restored. Sadly this rarely happens.

    So, thank you for the past four years (as I have read you) and thank you for continuing in this new forum.

    May you be encouraged by many expressions of thanks.

  24. I doubt it was the NRA article. One article out of a thousand isn’t going to get you spiked.

    I think it’s more likely that Patheos is pursuing the path of a modern Christianity: let’s just all be friends, ignore and differences and disputes, and welcome all comers. Which also means no criticism of others–financial or doctrinally.

    You really didn’t fit that model.

    1. Except that there are links between the NRA, Affinity4, BeliefNet, BNMedia, and Patheos. John Halstead, formerly of the Patheos Pagan channel, discovered these a year ago, criticised Patheos very sharply, and his post was removed, and he still hasn’t been allowed to download the XML to export his posts from there to his WordPress blog.

      I managed to get access to my XML and transfer all my posts to a new blog, but several other Patheos Pagan authors who left didn’t get theirs, so Mr Throckmorton was lucky that he managed to get his posts.

      1. I disagree.

        The NRA article wasn’t even particularly negative. It pointed out that blacks did positively benefit from the NRA’s actions, even if that wasn’t the specific purpose of those actions.

        But, it provided an opportunity for Patheos to cover their reasons. “We’ll get rid of Throckmorton now and they’ll blame it on the NRA article and not the finance stuff.”

        What made Throckmorton’s blog unique was the exposing of financial chicanery (from radio stations to churches to ministries). I don’t see this in terms of conservative vs. liberal, but more like the revenge of the “Christian Industrial Complex”.

        A lot of people today consider Christianity their career, not a calling, and there is a lot of money at stake. Throckmorton was one of the few reporting on it. IMHO, they found a convenient time to get rid of a financial critic thorn in their side.

        1. So where is your documentary evidence that the. NRA’s founding and activities benefitted African Americans in the Jim Crow era?
          The fact that anyone gives Diamond and Silk any credence reveals something, you figure out what. These are the ladies that in essence say that Hillary gave Russia The Bomb. How much dumber does a statement have to be before the speaker forfeits all
          any expectation of being taken seriously?

          1. Huh? To rehash…

            The NRA was founded just after the Civil War to protect 2nd amendment rights (everyone’s, but not specifically blacks).

            Southern states were passing laws to prevent blacks from owning weapons, leaving them defenseless.

            The NRA’s efforts to protect gun ownership rights in general, also helped blacks maintain their right to gun ownership.

            Was the NRA founded to help blacks? No. Did the NRA’s efforts at the time help blacks (and whites, and indians, and asians)? Yes.

  25. I followed your blog regularly when you were covering Mark Driscoll: I live in Seattle, and I appreciated the bulldog tenacity with which you pursued the facts. I am, unfortunately, not surprised that you have run into trouble with Patheos, which seems to have been pursuing something very different in the last several years.

    The facts from my perspective as a reader: Patheos does not respond in any way to criticism from readers, and it does not support blog authors. Fred Clark has been asking Patheos to give him tools to ban a persistent troll for several years, and has lost many readers because Patheos never responds. I wrote to Patheos repeatedly about the fact that their ads crashed my browser, making the site unusable: dead silence. (Now I read with an ad blocker.) It is apparent that neither readers nor authors are a priority for the site management.

    I think you’re better off on your own, frankly. Good luck!

  26. My hunch is that it wasn’t GFA or Driscoll, but much higher up the food chain. When I was a journalist, even when flack came from people you were covering, management stood by you. It was the money interests, the power people; like owners, and deep pocket advertisers that could send you packing whether your bosses liked it or not. Different country, but same dynamics.

    BN Media Associates appears to be stacked with hard core religious right power/money people. Jay Sekulow, Steve Halliday, Joe Gregory, etc., as readers are pointing out. One or more had to have been unhappy.
    I sincerely hope that readers and Patheos bloggers keep up the pressure until answers are forthcoming.
    Who is next? Fred Clark at Slacktivist comes to mind, it appears speaking truth to power in US evangelicalism and BN Media Associates is not part of the Patheos strategic objectives.
    Is Patheos becoming another religious right echo chamber?

    How Patheos chose to dismiss this blog is shameful, and we can only hope the powers that be feel the effects.

    I have a question.
    Why did Patheos traffic plunge in December 2017 and why hasn’t it recovered?

  27. It was a heart-stopping moment when I went over to check on your reaction to Paige Patterson’s removal as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary only to get 410’d instead by Patheos.

    I’m going with the NRA blog and will add in Jay Sekulow to cover the bases on why Patheos decided to ditch one of their popular blogs.

    Anway, now you’re found and re-bookmarked. The Disqus plug-in might be the easiest way to transport the comments.

  28. U.S. white evangelical intolerance for even the most elementary truth is on full display. Do they not understand that their digital footprint is permanent? This is how history will remember them.

  29. Dr. Throckmorton, Patheos really blew this one. It’s their loss. I hope they receive many, many letters of condemnation for removing your blog. I have no idea what criteria they re using that you don’t fit; but whatever they are, they’re wrong.

  30. I only read your stuff @ Patheos every once in a while. I try to stay away from the Evangelical channel. But, now I have you in my Feedly. I look forward to getting to know you better through what you share.

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