ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Since Patheos was acquired by BN Media late last year, there’s been concerns among the site’s Pagan bloggers about how they will fit into a largely Evangelical organization. Those worries boiled over this week when all Patheos bloggers were asked to sign a new contract with only two days’ notice. It’s being characterized as everything from boilerplate legal language to an all-out attack on freedom of expression, with some writers taking sides and others preferring to wait and see how the situation unfolds. John Halstead has adopted the most direct of approaches by writing a post at his own Patheos blog that was highly critical of the new contract.
TWH – Now that the season has turned and we are nearing the end of the 2016, we look back, one last time, to review this extraordinary year. What happened? What didn’t happen? What events shaped our thoughts and guided our actions? In our collective worlds, both big and small, what were the major discussions?
ENGLEWOOD, Co. — Last week came the announcement that religion site Beliefnet has acquired Patheos, the far more popular home of a wide variety of religious blogs, include a vibrant Pagan channel. While Beliefnet also once hosted Pagan bloggers, since being acquired by the Christian-focused BN Media company, those writers all eventually moved on. With the new purchase, it has been stated that plans thus far are to keep the two sites independent of each other. A Wild Hunt investigation into BN Media buying Beliefnet in June, 2016, disclosed the company’s focus:
BN Media seems to be a different sort of owner, if their two largest initiatives, Affinity4 and Cross Bridge, are any indication.
NORFOLK, Vir. — It was announced that Patheos, one of the most popular religion-based websites, has been purchased by BN Media Associates, LLC, the owners of BeliefNet. According to the announcement, “The joining of the two web sites under one umbrella will open up further opportunities to foster the faith and spirituality discussion in a real and honest way. Combined, the websites reach 15 million unique visitors and generate more than 50 million page views each month.” BN Media Associates, a holding company which is known to have had an evangelical focus, purchased BeliefNet in 2010.
This past April I wrote a piece criticizing the religious portal site Beliefnet for a news item that conflated the recent Cornwall controversy over teaching Paganism in religious education classes with the troubling trend of witch-hunts and witch-killings in places like Africa and the Middle East. The article, written by Beliefnet Senior Editor Rob Kerby, not only drew criticism from me, but from Beliefnet’s only Pagan blogger, Gus diZerega, and several Pagans who commented on the original article at Beliefnet. It also inspired a response from Evangelical Christians Paul Louis Metzger and John W. Morehead. “Those in Pagan circles have responded strongly to the piece, and with good reason. Kerby provides no solid substantiation for his claims, demonstrates a lack of familiarity with the spiritual practices and beliefs he critiques, and as a result, the piece creates fear and suspicion of witchcraft (and broader Paganism as well). While Christians have often accused Paganism of superstition, the irony is that the Christian community has often approached Paganism superstitiously.