6 Reason Why John Beckett is a Tool: Reflections on the Pagan Exodus from Patheos

Patheos-apologist John Beckett has written a 1-year anniversary retrospective about the exodus of about two dozen Pagan writers from the Patheos blogging platform, which just highlights again why Beckett still doesn’t get it.

If you need some background to the Pagan exodus from Patheos (or “Pexit” as those who like to be dismissive have been calling it), then check out this summary at Huffington Post or this one at Gods & Radicals.

Now back to why Beckett is a tool …

#1 Beckett ignores Patheos’ affiliations with anti-LGBT groups.

Somehow Beckett managed to write 1,700 words about the exodus without a single word about the fact that, since its purchase by an Christian evangelical corporation, Patheos is now affiliated with a number of right-wing groups including the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ).  Specifically, both Patheos and Affinity4 are now BN Media brands, and Affinity4 funnels charitable contributions to the ACLJ.  The ACLJ works to defund Planned Parenthood, defend school prayer and government subsidization of Christianity, oppose the Islamic community center at Ground Zero, oppose LGBT marriage equality in the U.S., and promote the criminalization of homosexuality in Africa.

Jay Sekulow, who is now President Trump’s attorney, is also chief counsel for the ACLJ.  He also served on the Board of Affinity4 together with Jeremy McGee, the new president of Patheos (the person with whom we tried to renegotiate the Patheos contract).  You can read more about the connections between Sekulow, the ACLJ, and Patheos here, and also about how someone tried to cover up these connections.

A lot of the writers who left Patheos last year did so because they were uncomfortable with the association of Patheos with the ACLJ and other right wing groups, like the National Rifle Association, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, and Promise Keepers.  Conveniently, Beckett doesn’t even mention this in his retrospective (nor did he in his original apologetic).

#2 If it didn’t happen to Beckett, apparently it didn’t happen.

Beckett writes that Patheos has not censored him in the last year, despite the increased editorial control the new contract gives.  “Censorship: still zero” he says.

My question to Beckett is, how many posts have you written were critical of Patheos?  How many discussed the connection of Patheos to anti-LGBT organizations?

Oh, also zero.  Hmm, I wonder if there is a connection.

Beckett happens to be chief promulgator of the lie that Patheos had never censored anyone for their content.  I call bullshit.  Patheos removed my post, which was critical of the contract and set off the controversy.  (It’s been re-posted here, if you’re interested.  Like Dixie Chick singer, Natalie Maines, if I had known the impact it would have, I would have been more articulate.)  My access to my Patheos account and all my writing was then blocked and never restored.  What is that if not censorship?

Pat Mosely was then kicked off Patheos for his criticism of Patheos on his personal blog on another platform!

But apparently, none of that counts for Beckett, because it didn’t happen to him.

Also, I have to mention that Patheos is still holding hostage the writing of 20 former Patheos Pagan bloggers who have demanded that their content be returned to them.  I’m sure Beckett would be similarly dismissive of that.

#3 For Beckett, these decisions (like voting) don’t matter anyway.

Beckett then proceeds to defend his choice to stay at Patheos by saying that our decisions don’t matter because our “worst fears rarely come true” anyway.  Like voting, he says.

Are you serious?!  We are living in the age of arguably the worst President in U.S. history.  He is a racist, amisogynist, and a fascist.  He is dismantling health care, deporting people who have been working here for decades, and provoking a nuclear war with Korea … just to name a few things that he bragged about in his State of the Union speech this week.

But I guess we can all rest easy, knowing that our worst fears rarely come true.  Right Beckett?  How incredibly privileged you must be to be so unconcerned with the consequences of your decisions.

#4 The Coward’s Way: Maintain “Optionality”

According to Beckett, we should “maintain optionality,” which basically means, don’t make a choice until someone forces you to.  In other words, don’t take a stand until something affects you personally.  Way to show your principles Beckett!

#5 Benefiting from Other People’s Work

This one really galled me.  Beckett has the balls to lecture me on how to negotiate, when he is the beneficiary of a contract I helped to negotiate.  He says my “opening salvo of profanity got negotiations off to a rough start.”  Really?!

Motherfucker, there would not have been any negotiations without my “opening salvo of profanity” (and Rhyd Wildermuth’s timely republishing of my deleted post at Gods & Radicals).  Nobody would have even known there was an issue, and most people would have unwittingly signed the original contract, including yourself.  Also, you weren’t in on the negotiations, so how the fuck would you know?

(How’s that for a “salvo of profanity”?)

#6 Well, at least Beckett is making more money.

It’s very interesting that Beckett starts out his article talking about the financial consequences for him of the new contract.  He’s apparently making 16% more under the new contract.  So I guess that makes everything okay.

P.S. Jason Mankey let us down.

Since Beckett took the time to sing Jason Mankey’s praises, I have to add something.

Jason is everybody’s favorite nice guy.  So it’s really hard for people to hear anything negative about him.  But you should know, when Gwion Raven and I were trying to renegotiate the contract with Patheos President, Jason did not raise his voice once to speak on behalf of the Pagan writers who trusted him to do so.  Not once.

He was silent.

I agree with Beckett that Jason Is “a skilled witch, a dedicated Pagan, a good writer, and a great person.”  But Jason was the Patheos Pagan editor.  I believe he had a responsibility to his writers.  And he let us down.

10 thoughts on “6 Reason Why John Beckett is a Tool: Reflections on the Pagan Exodus from Patheos

Add yours

  1. Really disturbing that John Beckett still doesn’t get it, but I think it’s not very nice to call him or Jason a “tool”. Other than that, I agree with the arguments you are making here. It is disingenuous of John Beckett to say that no censorship has occurred after what happened with your post and Pat’s blog.

    Even if there had been zero censorship, I still wouldn’t have wanted my blog to support the NRA and their ilk, and I am annoyed that my content is still there. They let me export my content, so at least it is available on my blog without having to go to the Patheos site, but as you say, they are still holding other people’s content hostage.

    1. As Rhyd wrote, “I wouldn’t call Beckett a ‘tool’ as in ‘douchebag’ but more ‘tool’ as in ‘unfortunately duped spokesman for a right-wing Christian corporation.'”

      1. No, Pat asked that the post about transgender people be removed *after* he as locked out of his account by Patheos for what he posted on his private blog, which they interpreted as a resignation.

  2. I thought people were leaving Patheos because the parent company, BeliefNet, support’s Pat Robertson and Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow’s far-right organization, the American Center for Law and Justice, which promotes anti-LGBTQ, anti-reproductive rights, etc. I will never visit their sites again. #followthemoney

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