Why Hasn’t HuffPo and/or Crosswalk.com Fired Me?

The front page of yesterday's Crosswalk.com

Yesterday, on fan page ala’ moi, one Michael Haberlein posted this:

Hey John! I have a question: I have listened to you online on the radio station in Pittsburgh [WORD-FM 101.5] and just read your article in Crosswalk.com. As the websites for both of those things look pretty Christian-conservative, I’m surprised that they let you talk or write under their name? Don’t they think you are a little radical, what with all your writings about the idea that God thinks homosexuals are “ok” just as they are and loves them just as much? – Signed – a partnered gay man in Michigan.

Crosswalk is more than “pretty” conservative; it’s so conservative it has to turn left to get back to right. Crosswalk is the flagship online product of the mighty Salem Web Network—which is owned by Salem Communications, “a leading U.S. radio broadcaster, Internet content provider, and magazine and book publisher targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content and conservative values.” The company owns and operates approximately 100 Christian radio stations, including twenty-three stations in the top 25 markets. In 2004, Time magazine named Salem’s founder and owner, Stuart Epperson, one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America.

Epperson is one of the great powerhouses of political conservatism in America. (For more on that, see this 2005 article from Mother Jones.) From the Wikipedia page on Salem:

Both founders [of Salem--being Epperson and his brother-in-law, Edward Atsinger III] have served on the Council for National Policy. They gave $100,000 to the Bush presidential reelection campaign and $780,000 to the 2000 “California Defense of Marriage Act” (Proposition 22) ballot measure.”

And that’s just … those two things.

Put simply, there’s not a whole lot that happens in the world of “morals-based” conservative politics and activism to which Epperson and Atsinger are not in some real way connected.

And there I am, being featured on the front page of Salem Communication’s largest website. And though there’s nothing even vaguely lefty about “Constantly Living the Great Commandment is Impossible — And That’s Okay,” Crosswalk has also run such pieces of mine as, “What Would Jesus Do if Invited to a Gay Wedding?,“The (Confusing?) Power of the Devout Gay Christian,” “Away, Gay Christians! But About That Charitable Work You Do …”, “Nothing Says Lovin’ Like a Lesbian Christian Minister With an Oven,” “Our Church: “Wanna Be a Deacon? Then Sign This Anti-Gay Statement,” and, “How I Broke The Heart Of My Lesbian Friend.” (Not to mention stuff like, “Does the Holy Spirit Vote Republican?”, “Beyond the Christianization of Abortion,” and, “Christians: Don’t Too Readily Dismiss Atheists/Rationalists.” )

And my blog posts don’t appear on Crosswalk.com alone, either. Most of Salem’s radio stations have their own website—and most of those are populated by the content of Crosswalk.com.

In the three and a half years I’ve been blogging for Crosswalk, no one there has ever treated me with anything less than gracious kindness. They don’t vet my stuff before it appears on their site; they simply trust me not to be too offensive to the sensibilities of their vast audience. And I take care not to betray that trust. Some of my recent posts around the relationship between gays and Christians, for instance, I haven’t published on Crosswalk, for the same reason that I wouldn’t go to a Trappist monastery and start talking a lot. It would just be obnoxious.

Plus (and mainly), I don’t want to be cut off from Crosswalk’s audience. I don’t want to talk only to people who agree with me on everything. Then nothing changes.

In a culture increasingly marked by radical polarization, I’m proud to write about Christianity for both Crosswalk.com on the (far) right, and The Huffington Post on the (far) left. It’s a slightly tricky tightrope walk, for sure. But I’ve never published a word on either site in which I didn’t fully believe.

We so often hear how those on one side of an issue simply refuse to listen to those on the other, how these days everyone is so blinded by their own convictions that they’re incapable of little more than reflexively demonizing all who disagree with them. But I go to bed every night with clear reason to believe that it’s all a bit more complicated than that—that, for all of the yelling and screaming with which we’re daily bombarded, most of us aren’t deaf yet.

****

Speaking of not being deaf, you’re invited to join/”like” the conversation always going on on my Facebook page.

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About John Shore

I’m in the final stages of finishing a novel. If you’d like to be kept up on what’s happening with that, subscribe to my personal newsletter (which is different from subscribing to my blog—and is how, increasingly, I communicate with my readers). I send out my newsletter using MailChimp (so your email address remains safe and secure); I would never sell your email address or use it for junk mail; unsubscribe with the click of the button. (May 9, 2015)

  • Tim

    I appreciate that you can appeal to a varied audience. Paul said,” Be all things to all men that by all possible means, some might be saved.” I don’t always agree with everything you blog, John, but I do love how you present it.

  • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

    Yeah! ^.^ What Tim said. Well, not really that stuff about Paul. But building bridges and furthering understanding is, well, divine work. Even if you are sometimes dead wrong. :P Keep on truckin’!!!

  • Chellee

    And I truly appreciate that you are a place that can allow for either extreme and everything in between. I have been one of the many that have been (and sometimes still am) FAR TOO OPINIONATED for my own good. It’s amazing I haven’t lost my own hearing just from my own self-interested yelling. lol So for all of us who need a place to share our thoughts (sometimes known as vomiting) and still be tolerated……we’ve found a place for us chickens to roost. If no one else will put up with us….at least John sure does. (or as I like to say in my head, “Shore does! my own private little joke! hahahahahaha Shore does. Shore nuff does!!!) ;)

  • jes

    “But I go to bed every night with clear reason to believe that it’s all a bit more complicated than that”

    I have a t-shirt that says “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that,” which is a favorite line from Dr Ben Goldacre in his columns on bad science. :D

  • John

    This is why I enjoy reading this site. Its the first christian site I’ve seen that doesnt have post after post of how were all evil perverted abominations, god hates us etc.

  • Mindy

    You are refreshing, John, that’s for sure. I hope those on both sides of the aisle appreciate what you have to say.

  • susan

    Not many people would able to pull that off, John. In fact, I’m not familiar with anyone who does write for such a broad range of audience members. It’s rather amazing, and so totally cool.

    Happy to have found you and glad to share you with others.

    Thanks, JS.

  • susan
  • Dallas Jenkins

    I’ve never known one Christian who believes that God loves homosexuals less than straight people.

  • Don Whitt

    And, on top of all the stuff they all said, you are very entertaining, John. You write very well, you’re funny, you make solid, logical and compelling points about a tricky subject and, besides all that, it’s fun to watch you swim up the salmon ladders of faith in what has become a crazily conservative culture, thanks to crazily conservative Christians. And I thank you for all of that.

  • Don Whitt

    Oh, and I checked out Crosswalk a few days ago and got the serious willies.

  • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ Sylvie Galloway

    that is a sad statement Dallas, but let me assure you that there are Christians who believe that God loves the whole world, every last freaking one of us, that He loves us so much that he arranged the whole cross thing for every last freaking one of us.

    We exist, those of us who prefer not to categorize people into what whom we think God loves and those we think God doesn’t, cause we believe that God loves every last one of us.

    We may be a minority in Christianity and we’ve been a silent one for far too long, but we are now beginning to change that, and still try to maintain the balance of saying no to bigotry and hatred while remembering that God loves every last freaking one of us.

    We can be thankful for the example John is setting and try to emulate it.

  • DR

    with all due respect, you don’t get out much.

  • Ace

    Wish I lived in your town.

  • Ace

    I’m sure some folks at crosswalk would tell you that you have no business going anywhere near sinful, sinful willies, much less getting serious ones!

    (*groan* what a bad joke. I ban myself for the rest of the evening)

  • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ Sylvie Galloway

    I go to work, I attend school, I come home, do homework, read a bit, write a bit, play WoW a bit. You are right. I don’t get out much.

  • Richard Lubbers

    John,

    You’re bright, sensitive and funny, and you never mince words. That’s why you can write for both with words that come from the heart. Thank God you don’t write at the dictates of either.

  • DR

    I wasn’t referring to you Sylvie, my comment was to Dallas Jenkins.

  • denver

    @Sylvie, I think you misunderstood Dallas’ post. he said that he HASN’T met any xtians that believe that God thinks less of gays. Not that he hasn’t met any xtians that DIDN’T think God thinks less of gays. :)

    Also, DR’s comment was aimed at Dallas, not you. It would have been indented further than your reply if it was in reply to you, like this one. I know if you’re not used to this commenting system, it can get a bit discombobulated. ;)

  • denver

    HA Ace. You are too funny. I unban thee. ;)

  • DR

    Who I believe doesn’t get out much. And I mean that, we largely choose the place we go, read and those with whom we interact in order to maintain what we believe. What we *need* to believe.

  • Robert Meek

    Er, because you are an honest, good man, and that is rare.

    Period.

    Oops. Did I just say a “compliment”? (Slaps self across face.)

    Yikes! More caffeine needed. More caffeine!

    G’nite, all, from an insomniac at 03:58 AM Eastern Standard Time, town of Loris, County of Horry, State of South Carolina, Country of United States of America, Continent of North America, Planet of Earth, Galaxy of Milky Way – right? Just in case them thar alien critters have trouble finding me fer next time they abdukt me!

  • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ Sylvie Galloway

    nah. I just misunderstood the original comment. I even read it more then once and still came up with the same thing.

    Also I hate this particular system of indentation. It can be really hard to figure out just whom is commenting to whom.

  • vj

    “I don’t want to talk only to people who agree with me on everything. Then nothing changes.”

    AND, if we only ever read/watch/listen to stuff that we already agree with, how will we ever be able to understand someone else’s point of view? As I keep telling my kids, “different isn’t necessarily wrong”… Jesus told us that the Father’s house has many rooms, and I really do believe there’s more than one way to ‘be’ a Christian.

    But thanks, John, for putting so much effort into getting us to open our minds a little more!

  • Ace

    A lot of what my dad spouts is pure nonsense, but I do remember him telling me once that “our God is a God of exceptions” and really if you look at the prophets in the old testament, many of them were deeply flawed, stubborn, possibly crazy people. Much like the rest of us. ;)

  • Tim

    If Dallas hasn’t yet met a Christian who thinks homosexuals are less loved by God, I’d say he’s picked his friends and church family well. Why would you berate that? WTF?

  • Don Whitt

    @Robert – It’s good that someone is up and watching for extraterrestrials while the rest of us sleep. I sincerely thank you for that. You never know what might show-up and what justice or havoc they might wreak upon us.

    Doing my part in that effort, I am urging the METI folks to start sending John Shore’s tweets into space.

    http://www.setileague.org/editor/metitran.htm

  • Don Whitt

    I was told to call my physician if the serious willies lasted longer than four hours.

  • DR

    First, I’m not “berating” anything, Tim. Please slow down.

    In terms of Christian people who don’t “love” gay men and women any less, what does love look like? Gay people get to define what that “love” looks like. For those that have expressed themselves here, those of us who call who they love and want to marry a “sin” are not “loving” them. Those of us who deny them their right to marry legally are not “loving” them.

    Christians don’t get to define how we “love” someone (not anymore). That’s not what Jesus practiced. It’s like peer review with us, like doctors evaluating their malpractice suits with other doctors. Others who we *claim* to love are telling us, “No thank you. You really don’t.”

    In terms of explicit abuse and hostility regarding gay men and women on behalf of Christians? It’s so prolific, one need only to do a quick Google search to identify it. It’s *everywhere*. That Dallas has never met a Christian who doesn’t love Christians means he’s not exposing himself to a huge, huge problem.

    Secondly within his own community, I’m sure there are lovely people there (just like my own) that in private corners, flare up at the mere suggestion of “gay”. I also suspect that this topic – if my own evangelical christian community a while ago was any kind of indication – doesn’t ever talk about this in depth. They avoid it, it’s a very uncomfortable topic. We just stick to fairly safe topics, and we stick with one another.

    SImply put. If Dallas hasn’t experienced it, it’s because he’s chosen to live in a world where he doesn’t have to *see* it. It still exists, probably quite close to him. He just doesn’t look. Too scary. Too much to lose.

  • http://anziulewicz.livejournal.com Chuck Anziulewicz

    Your answer to Michael Haberlein’s question was pretty much what I expected. I visit Crosswalk.com on a pretty regular basis, and I’ve always found it interesting how such a doctrinaire website would keep you on as a columnist. And yet they do, and I suspect it’s because of your sense of editorial diplomacy.

  • StraightGrandother

    I’m kinda wondering myself how long this will last. I mean one or the other is going to figure it out eventually. Never undersetimate inertia, LOL.

  • Scott

    Don, I was just swallowing my Coke when you read that. Now I need a new monitor!


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