R.I.P. HuffPo’s Religion Section?

[UPDATE #4: HuffPost Religion is back in place on the front page.]

[UPDATE #3: A few hours ago HuffPost Religion editor Paul Raushenbush tweeted, "HuffPost Religion isn't going anywhere. Temporary design change on Front Page."]

[UPDATE #2: It's 5:50 a.m. PST Tuesday morning. Still no HuffPost Religion section. I assume they'll announce something ... well, I would think today. One thing that's changed is that now (see update #1 below) the Healthy Living section is opening up in the same window as Huffington Post generally. Also, the header on all the Healthy Living sections I visited is now serving as a home button back to the Huffington Post front page. So it's clear they're still working out the exact relationship between their AOL and HuffPost content. That makes sense; of course there's much to consider there. Another thing I noticed, which for sure is of particular interest if your write for The Huffpo Media Group, is that on the front pages of all the sections of the new HuffPo Healthy Living, author bylines are no longer displayed with the featured pieces. The stories linked to off the front Healthy Living pages, in other words---the stories accompanied by pictures---are no longer showing author bylines. And it's pretty clear that's part of the new template for those pages. Those stories featured in the left-hand column of the Healthy Living front pages---those not accompanied by a graphic--continue to show bylines and little author-profile boxes. Bylines continue to be displayed on featured stories within HuffPo itself.]

[UPDATE #1: Just up on the prime spot of the front page of Huffington Post is a letter from Arianna introducing HuffPo's new Healthy Living section. No mention is made of HuffPo's Religion section. Interestingly, if you hit the link in Arianna's letter to the new Healthy Living section, a new browser window is launched for that section. This means that once you're on the Healthy Living page, your back button will no longer return you to Huffington Post. As per my guess below, I think this a subtle way to begin encouraging readers to think of AOL's Healthy Living as wholly disconnected from HuffPo. Any link within HuffPo leading to a HuffPo story still opens in the usual way, within the current window. What's really interesting is how HuffPo Media Group will manage to present as independent from it AOL's burgeoning new world of content, but at the same time utilize within that world HuffPo's phenomenal commenting/social media matrix, which is everywhere marked by the Huffo brand. Will a "HuffPost Super User" remain so designated when he or she is commenting in AOL's new territory?]

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

As of this writing (3:00 p.m. Monday, May 16) there is no religion section of The Huffington Post.

On the front page of Huffington Post are the usual section buttons running along its top: Front Page, Politics, Business, Entertainment, Media, Tech, Comedy, Style, etc. What’s now missing amongst those is the button for the Living section, a subsection of which used to be Religion.

The Living section button is now labeled Healthy Living. And that button’s drop-down section-buttons are four: Body, Mind, Spirit, and Health News.

No Religion !

What’s interesting is that if you go to the Healthy Living section, it appears you are no longer within Huffington Post. What it (hugely) says across the top of that page is AOL Healthy Living. And nowhere on that page is there a button for returning you back to any page within Huffington Post. The Healthy Living section, its four subsections, and all the articles contained therein, are now presented not as Huffington Post content at all, but rather as AOL content exclusively.

AOL Healthy Living is the only section of the main ones listed off the Huffington Post front page for which this is true. Politics is still HuffPost Politics; Business is still HuffPost Business, and so on. Only Healthy Living takes you to a place clearly outside the HuffPo realm.

So has the HuffPo religion section gone to that big archived website in the sky?

I don’t see how, given this April 26 story in The Daily Princetonian. The article is about how Paul Raushenbush, editor of the HuffPo religion section (making him my editor, doncha know) is leaving his job as Associate Dean of Religious Life at Princeton to become the full-time Senior Religion Editor for the beefed-up religion section envisioned by the AOL-HuffPo media group.

My guess (and it’s just a guess) is that HuffPo/AOL has decided to move what’s now AOL Healthy Living into a specific, separate AOL area of content now under development. I would think this would mean that the company is using its vast resources to develop a whole new world of content that will exist under the auspices and banner of AOL. Furthermore, I would guess that content will be “soft”—lifestyle-type stuff—while HuffPo will stick with the “hard” categories of content, such as politics and business. That seems to be the way they’re setting it up thus far.

It’ll be interesting to watch how HuffPo Media group rolls out and presents all that new content.

Whether AOL/HuffPo’s religion section will exist under the HuffPo or AOL banner remains to be seen.

(P.S. You can still get to HuffPo’s Religion section; it’s here. You just can’t get to it directly from any Huffington Post page.)

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://www.searchingforchetbaker.com Gary

    I never understood WHY there was a religion section on there, considering that virtually every article I saw posted on there, would just get flooded with comments from atheists, agnostics, or whatever just denouncing the idea of Christianity and God. blaming everything that’s bad in the world on them, and making “Clever” references to “man in the sky”.

    It irritated me and essentially made me just not even bother with the comments section. I mean, I’ve written to a few of the writers, including Jim Wallis, but never got a response as to WHY they bothered to post their stuff there, when it was CLEARLY not appreciated by what seemed like the vast majority of the site. At least those who bothered to comment.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I can only tell you that the reason I write for HuffPo religion is because my imperative to say the things I feel I need to about religion generally and Christianity specifically takes precedence over whether or not those things will be popular.

      • SugarMags

        Like.

        • Diana A.

          Me too!

      • http://www.searchingforchetbaker.com Gary

        I can dig it. I think it probably boils down to me having a thin skin and would not deal well with personal attacks on my faith and me in the comments. Thankfully i have a blog that hardly anyone reads. So I don’t have that problem. ha ha.

      • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        Wow. I think similar reasons are why I bothered to read and comment there. Seriously, it got to the point where I felt like “Why am I here? I must be on here only because I am a massochist. It’s like throwing pearls before swine.”

        Then, my name there was AdorableHero and I had an avatar (fanart) of Link (of Legend of Zelda). Fighting giant monsters and running headlong into impossible odds are his thing, so I guess, I felt like I was a self-torturing hero on teh Internets. Or something.

        Also, I think sterotypes need to be met in combat wherever and whenever they appear.

        • Don Rappe

          “Also, I think sterotypes need to be met in combat wherever and whenever they appear.”

          Go Shadsie!

          • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            My sword drips with blood, but sadly, the beasts have not been slain. They just grow more heads, like the legendary Hydra.

            It’s enough to make one sheathe one’s sword forever and vanish into the sunset.

    • denver

      I’m not saying this to target you Gary, but I think insular religious people are a primary reason why atheists and agnostics HAVE such derisive opinions on the subject and it’s people. If the only “religion” these people are exposed to is Westboro Baptist protesting funerals, pedophile priests in the news, and pushy evangelicals telling them they are going to hell, what else are they going to think? If more religious people came out and interacted with people who weren’t just like them, they might see that religion does not equal bigotry, hate, and batshit crazy. If they are exposed to thoughtful pieces such as what was found on huffpo’s religion section, maybe they’ll think better of religion, or religious people. And maybe they’ll realize not all churches teach hate, not all Muslims are terrorists, etc. Maybe someone who left the church they grew up in will find one that doesn’t drive them away. Maybe people will have a better understanding of each other. Maybe this sounds a little fluffy for what a website can do, but even if you give one person peace, isn’t it worth it?

      • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        Not to target you, but it seems like Huffers, when exposed to such things, just want to rant and scream. I’ve heard moderate religious voices being called “accomdationists” as in, they don’t really believe that anyone can believe in God, Spirit, metaphysics or whatever and actually be SMART or actually be NICE. They’re too caught up in their own bigotry-memes.

        To be fair, some of the regular “religion section attackers” on there *are* people with stories of being abused and terrorized with Hell as a kid and suchlike. They seem to think they’re “freeing” people by telling them what they believe is meaningness. Most of the other ones, the really, really trollish ones? (As in the people I’ve seen crap on people for writing eulogies for their loved ones there?) – I think they might be kids, college kids. I think this because that’s around the age many people think they’ve got the universe figured out and it’s also the age when people think parroting memes makes them smart. (You know, I’ve never been particularly fond of the song “Imagine,” but Huffpo made me actually hate it….).

        I like to hope I’ve changed a few minds there (shown that people who believe in stuff aren’t all monsters, though I have the feeilng that because I “think” they probably believe I’m on my way to becoming an atheists *rolls eyes* ).

        As an unrelated thing, I had a very odd dream about Mr. Shore and about God giving me proof of his/its existance, but I could not share that proof with the world without sounding completely crazy. Will share if asked, but worry that I will sound crazy.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Hmm… to ask or not to ask . . .

          • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Alright. The dream I had a couple of nights/mornings ago… (trying to shake off the one I just awakened from that involved me being chased by lions and bears)…

            I had a dream the other night/morning that, all of a sudden, I had the ability to talk to animals. I mean, out of nowhere, people’s dogs and wild birds were talking to me in plain english. I felt a voice – I mean, it was kind of a voice, kind of a feeling… that this was God giving me irrefutible evidence of his existance because it was such a far out and sudden ability.

            I mean, I think people can talk with animals in normal life – in that, if you get to know enough about a species and can read their body language, the tone of barks/growls/meows/whinnies and such, some communication happens, but this dream had a bird saying stuff like “Yo, I bet you wonder why you can hear me talkin’ to you!”

            I even went to the meat in my freezer to gather its thoughts on having been slaughtered. I seem to remember wanting to remain a meat-eater, though.

            But when I tried to tell people of this… apparently, I was the only one given this ability and people thought I was acting crazy when I tried to tell people what I was hearing. There was even an athiest-street-preacher in my dream. Yes. He was handing out fliers and I seem to recall him having a sandwitch-board. He was trying to “wake up the world” to the good news of the abscence of God and Heaven. He was the first person I told of this animal-talk ability and he was the first to declare me insane.

            Somewhere in this dream, I meanded away to see some old college art teacher of mine – who happened to be John Shore (wtf?) and he had a habit of keeping a brown foil wrapped Hersey’s kiss under his desk becuase “Learning should be sweet.” He had a lot of crap under his desk, too, and I was annoyed that he’d orderd some really good watercolor paper for his new class that he didn’t use when I was in class.

            Yes, dreams are weird.

            The first part of this dream echoes, in a philsophic way, the content of a novel I wrote – the characters in it had spiritual companions that only believers-in-said-companions could see and explored their dealings in a world full of those that did not see. Also, it seems to be the way things go for me in life. I’ve never had any big miracles. Every “miracle” I’ve had has been subtle. Having prayer answered at just the right time in unexpected ways… surviving something I souldn’t have survived. It just seems like there’s a world of little evidences of something being out there “for me” that are easily dismissed by skeptics as concidental or my “caveman/monkey brain seeing patterns.”

            I suppose even if I gained the ability to talk with animals plainly, I couldn’t share it as proof of anything to anyone who doesn’t want proof.

  • Rob

    You can still get to it via this link…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/religion/

    I guess if they’ve taken the link to it down from the front page then they might not be putting up as many articles or as good quality articles as before but it is still there

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Yes, the page itself hasn’t been eradicated; it’s just that, for now anyway, it exists only in Archive Land.

      Or (to put it a probable better way), you can still get to it, just not through HuffPo directly.

      • Roger Smith

        Actually, elsewhere someone pointed out that you can still get “directly” to the religion section — but you have to scroll way, way down HuffPo’s front page, where eventually (I think, next to the bargain and sale tables) you will find teensy links to “recent blog posts” under all the main sections — including, ta-daah, religion. which link then takes you to the one posted above. One way or another, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

        • Diana A.

          I’ve just faved it.

  • http://micksgrill.wordpress.com Mike

    I wonder how long it will be before people complain by angry emails and it’s restored?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I don’t think it’s a big deal. They’re not going to let Paul quit his job and then yank his job away from him.

  • DomainDiva

    No religion for you since you stopped the Smith Family Chronicles. (OK so I was hooked…)


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