Petition to Jeremy McGee
Interfaith Site Patheos.com Should Break All Ties With Anti-LGBT Affiliates
Interfaith Site Patheos.com should break off all ties to the anti-LGBT American Center for Law & Justice and Trump's anti-LGBT lawyer, Jay Sekulow. The Backstory If you’ve been following the news about the Trump administration lately, you’ve probably heard the name Jay Sekulow. Sekulow is one of Trump’s legal advisors and is frequently referred to in the media as “Trump’s lawyer.” He makes frequent appearances on Fox News. Sekulow has an extensive anti-LGBT history. He is the chief counsel for the the anti-LGBT organization, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). The ACLJ was founded by Pat Robertson to oppose the American Civil Liberties Union. Since 1991, Sekulow has been working through the ACLJ to defund Planned Parenthood, defend school prayer and government subsidization of religion (or rather, Christianity), oppose the Islamic community center at Ground Zero, oppose LGBT marriage equality in the US, and promote the criminalization of homosexuality in Africa. The connection between Patheos and the ACLJ is a matter of public record. Patheos and Affinity4 are BN Media brands, and Affinity4 funnels charitable contributions to the ACLJ, as well as several other right-wing groups like the National Rifle Association, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, Gun Owners of America, Promise Keepers, Concerned Women for America, and the American Family Association. But that’s not all. Jeremy McGee, President and COO of Patheos, serves on the Board of Affinity4 together with Jay Sekulow. Affinity 4 is the link between Beliefnet (which now owns Patheos) and the ACLJ. (Patheos is also promoting Sekulow’s book.) Since Patheos was bought out by BN Media and Jay Sekulow has become Trump’s legal advisor, Patheos is now just one step removed from the Trump administration. The same attitude that the Trump Presidency has toward free speech is reflected in the attitude of the new ownership of Patheos. The anti-LGBT policies of the Trump administration are reflected in the anti-LGBT agenda of Patheos’ affiliates. This isn’t a coincidence, because the people in both organizations move in the same political and social circles. As the degrees of separation get smaller, the similarities get larger. What’s more, BN Media also seems to have taken a page from the Trump playbook for dealing with negative publicity. Since the Patheos controversy broke out, BN Media has taken active steps to obscure the relationship between Patheos and the ACLJ and Sekulow. Over two dozen Pagan authors have since left Patheos, due in part to concern about the morally problematic connections between Patheos and right-wing political groups like the ACLJ, which was of special concern in light of Patheos’ demand for increased editorial control over its authors. Patheos should break off all ties to the anti-LGBT American Center for Law & Justice and Trump's anti-LGBT lawyer, Jay Sekulow.
Petition to Patheos , Jeremy McGee, Jason Mankey
Help Pagan Writers Get Back Control of their Intellectual Property from Patheos.com
In September 2016, the interfaith platform Patheos.com became associated with a number of right-wing organizations, like the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, and the American Center of Law & Justice, which promotes the criminalization of homosexuality. Patheos Pagan writers should not be forced to affiliate with or be seen to support these organizations, which are inimical to our values and hostile to our existence or the existence of our LGBT friends and family-members. For that reason, we are asking that our writing and other creative work be removed from the Patheos domain. Please sign the petition to help us get back control of our intellectual property from Patheos.com. Here is a copy of the letter that we sent to Patheos: Dear Patheos: We the undersigned former and current Patheos Pagan contributors hereby request that Patheos remove our names, likenesses, and our intellectual property, including our writing, art, and images, from the Patheos domain. We previously gave Patheos license to publish our writing, but Patheos is no longer the company that we contracted with. In September 2016, Patheos was purchased by Beliefnet, which is owned by an evangelical organization, BN Media. At that time, there were concerns among some of the Pagan writers at Patheos about the acquisition, because Beliefnet was known to have previously censored at least one Pagan blogger, Gus DiZerega. Although Patheos contributors received assurances that Beliefnet’s acquisition of Patheos would not change anything, in January 2017, writers received new contracts and were pressured to sign within two days, an unreasonable amount of time to allow authors to review the contract. Furthermore, this was not a contract renewal; rather, BN Media unilaterally changed the terms of the existing contracts. The new contract included greatly expanded editorial control over Patheos writers. In addition, the new contract explicitly forbade disparagement of Patheos or any related company. This prompted an investigation of what companies Beliefnet is related to, which revealed that Patheos is linked with a number of right-wing organizations, including the National Rifle Association, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, Gun Owners of America, Promise Keepers, Concerned Women for America, the American Family Association, and the American Center of Law & Justice. For many of the Pagan contributors at Patheos, these affiliations are morally problematic. The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) provides just one example. The connection between Patheos and the ACLJ is a matter of public record. Both Patheos and Affinity4 are BN Media brands. Affinity4 funnels charitable contributions to the ACLJ. In addition, Jeremy McGee, who is President and COO of Patheos, was also on the Board of Affinity4, together with Jay Sekulow, who is Chief Counsel for the ACLJ. The ACLJ promotes the criminalization of homosexuality in Africa. This conflicts with our deeply held religious values. For many of the Pagan contributors at Patheos, the agendas advanced by these right-wing organizations, like the ACLJ, are morally repugnant. Though the terms of the contract were revised to prohibit disparagement only of Patheos and Beliefnet, many of us find the connection of Patheos, through Beliefnet, to these organizations to be unacceptable. For this reason, among others, many of us have left Patheos. For those of us who have signed below, it is intolerable that our work continues to be associated with and, potentially, financially benefit those organizations. We should not be forced to affiliate with or be seen to support, through our work, organizations which are inimical to our values and which, in many cases, are hostile to our existence or the existence of our LGBT friends and family-members. For this reason, we ask that our names, likenesses, writing, art, images and other contributions be removed from the Patheos domain. Sincerely, Catharine Clarenbach, Nature’s Path Christopher Scott Thompson, Polytheistic Monism Dana Corby, The Rantin’ Raven Drea Parker, Wild Garden Elinor Predota, A Sense of Place Erick DuPree, Alone in Her Presence Holli S. Emore, Wild Garden James Lindenschmidt, A Sense of Place Jasmine LunaMadre, Dear Jasmine John Halstead, The Allergic Pagan Lupa Greenwolf, Paths Through the Forests M. Macha NightMare, Wild Garden Nimue Brown, Druid Thoughts & Pagan Leadership Pat Mosley, Common Tansy Rhyd Wildermuth, A Sense of Place Sam Webster, Pagan Restoration Shauna Aura Knight, Seeking the Grail Taylor Ellwood, Socially Responsible Magic Traci Laird, A Sense of Place Yvonne Aburrow, Dowsing for Divinity