Tony Jones’ and company’s continued attempts to silence people and control the narrative

"Bully" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“Bully” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Our struggle is not against actual corrupt individuals, but against those in power in general, against their authority, against the global order and the ideological mystification which sustains it.” (Slavoj Žižek)

This is my response to a post on the WhyTony board on Scribd. Just in case the post gets removed, as per their tactics, I have copied the whole thing here:

”We have come to understand that Julie filed a court motion at Hennepin County Family Court on Monday, January 26th. Since then, there have been two subsequent conferences between the court and Tony and Julie’s attorneys on Feb 3 and Feb 11. At the Feb 11 conference, Tony and Julie were urged by the court to remove all their posts and comments related to their marital issues and children. They were also urged to have their supporters and proxies remove posts and comments related to these topics as well.

“Tony chose to honor the court’s request by removing his document the same day. At his request and to comply with the request of the court, the statements posted to storify and Scribd are being taken down as well.”

Never in a million years did I imagine the fight that would ensue from what I thought was a harmless post critiquing a theologian’s ideas. If you want to read the relevant post I drew and wrote back in September of 2014, click on this —> Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What Came First, the Thug or the Theology.

The number of calls, emails, and messages I have received directly has been incredible and exhausting. Many of them have been clearly adversarial. Many of them have been encouraging. But many of them have been passive-aggressive and confusing. It’s taken a lot of work on my part to unravel what’s really been communicated to me.

Believe it or not, I hate conflict. I am terrified of anger. I avoid these things at all costs. I’m also very principled when it comes to revealing information in my possession. For example, I do not share private conversations or correspondences publicly, even under enormous pressure from without and from within, unless I have expressed permission to do so.

However, I decided that when I get pressured to be silent, I will do the opposite. I will not be bullied into silence! When someone directly or indirectly, aggressively or passive-aggressively, tries to shut me down or silence me, or shut others down and silence them, I am going to broadcast it. Why? Because this is what it is all about: silencing victims, survivors, and their supporters. The same bullying tactics used on victims is used to silence their supporters or even to silence freedom of speech.

I won’t have it!

So when I saw this post yesterday on Tony Jones’ support page on Scribd, I immediately received it as a passive-aggressive attempt to silence people… Julie, me, and all other bloggers and commenters who have spoken or written in a way that raises questions about those in power.

I reiterate, as I have over and over again, that it is not about the details of a difficult divorce, but how questionable actions and statements were lied about, covered up, and used to develop a smear campaign about victims, all to protect important people.

As anyone should, I deconstructed the statement so I could comprehend what was being said to me and to others. I’m not a lawyer, nor am I very informed about what lawyers or the courts do. But I do know when I’m being intimidated to shut up. My radar is very sensitive when it comes to this. I’m not going to talk about the marriage, the divorce, or the children. I’m going to focus on what this statement is saying to me and to you.

  1. First of all, I thought the real reason why Jones’ post on Scribd was taken down was because it was shown to be full of holes… half-truths and outright lies. Any lawyer in his or her right mind would urge their client to remove self-damaging statements from public view. Then, I thought other supporters started taking down their posts because, of course, they wouldn’t want to be implicated in supporting a public lie. Maybe I’m wrong.
  2. As far as I understand it, lawyers do not represent the court. In this case, they represent people. My guess is that Jones’ lawyers would like to see all damning posts and comments about him and favorable ones about Julie disappear. They would like to scrub the internet of all references to him and to her. This has been Jones’ and his supporters’ desire from day one. From the very beginning, they have asked, begged, urged, and threatened me to take down that post and remove or edit comments. This is just more of the same. I imagine Jones’ lawyers might have said that it would be great if the internet was scrubbed of all references to him and these topics, and someone could bend that enough to say that the court requested it.
  3. Lawyers can ask, demand, or threaten, but I don’t think they can order. I don’t think courts make requests. They make orders. Lawyers can issue a cease and desist, but they can’t make me do anything. The court can, but lawyers can’t. They would have to take me to court to accomplish that. Wouldn’t they?
  4. I have received no legal documents “urging” or “requesting” me to take down posts or comments. No court and no lawyer has approached me with any such request or demand. The only way I heard about this was that I stumbled upon this announcement yesterday just after it was posted. If a court is “urging” and “requesting” I do a certain action, don’t you think it would be a little more obvious? Don’t you think I would have been contacted directly, instead of hopefully informed through an obscure online post?
  5. I know for a fact that no such thing was requested from any court. No court required Julie to remove her posts or comments. She has received advice on how to behave on the internet. But she has received no “urging” from any court that she should remove all her words from the internet.
  6. Neither has Julie received any “urging” from the court or her lawyers that she contact all her “supporters and proxies to remove their posts and comments related to these topics as well”. We understand Jones and his lawyers would be delighted if this would happen, but it is not a court injunction. Actually, the fact that “Tony chose to honor the court’s request” says that we have a choice. He made a choice to scrub the internet where he could. Apparently, Julie can make that choice too. So can I. So can you.
  7. When it is said, twice, that “Tony chose to honor the court’s request”, and “to comply with the request of the court”, and then saying that he did it “the same day”… it is a cleverly worded sentence to put Jones in the driver’s seat and in a more favorable light than Julie. It implies that he is being thoughtful, lawful, protective of his children, and compliant by doing everything the court and lawyers request. It suggests that all his supporters and proxies are going to obey his requests or demands to take down their posts and comments concerning these topics. It also implies that Julie is disobeying the court, not following the advice of her lawyers, being unlawful, non-compliant, and destructive to her children. In a word, it says that Tony is ethical while Julie is unethical.
  8. This is a trap baited with fear. In other words, it is a passive-aggressive but bullying threat that if I do not take down posts and comments, and if all Julie’s supporters and proxies do not take down their posts and comments, I am disobeying the court, breaking the law, and damaging the children. I, by implication, am unethical. His public statement that he is being ethical is meant to prove to his supporters that I am not if I don’t bow to his demands.
  9. I want to reiterate that this whole thing began not because I was supporting a person, but a value. That is, I’m not taking personal sides in a divorce, but am upholding and defending the value of free speech. I want to provide safe spaces for people to share their experiences without censure or censor. This “explanation for why these posts have been taken down” would like people to believe that sides are being taken for a person, when in fact my posts and comments are about not silencing people. It implies that Tony can control his team’s narrative while Julie should control hers but cannot. Julie does not control me any more than Tony does, as he would like to imagine. Are Jones and company continuing their tactics of lies, half-truths, intimidation, bullying, silencing, and putting Julie in a bad light? This is what it feels like to me.
  10. Finally, this isn’t, as Zizek suggests above, about the individual Tony Jones. This is about what he stands for. And we won’t stand for it!

So I’m sending out an alert: even though this seems difficult for some people to understand, when space is given for a person to share their experiences and be heard and even believed, this does not necessarily mean I am taking sides. It does mean I protect their right to tell their story though. When others despise, defy, or destroy this right and bully those who protect it, it betrays their desire to control the narrative, and this, in my opinion, betrays their desire to protect their own privileges of power. I’ve always been discreet about the personal lives of both Tony and Julie. But I will not be discreet when it comes to bullying or attempts to silence.

It is asserted that Tony Jones is not in charge of the Scribd board. But they have not revealed who is. However, whoever it is, and this is for all those protecting Jones… please put an end to these bullying tactics. It is shameful and it isn’t working!

Try to shut us up, we’ll just speak up!

The more you try to turn out the light, the more will come into it!

We’re going to “kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight!” (Bruce Cockburn)

Download my eBook "Money is Spiritual" for just $10!

80 Replies to “Tony Jones’ and company’s continued attempts to silence people and control the narrative”

  1. You are 100% right about point #1.

    These supporters of abusers can’t actually be seen as a supporter of abusers. It took them too damned long to pull all of that tripe down. They spoke with one of two positions:

    1) They had no actual knowledge of what has happened to Julie for the past 6 years. They had no knowledge of the court documents that clearly rejected Tony Jones as a fit parent. They had no idea that Julie was awarded full custody of the kids because Tony Jones was an outright psycho in the eyes of the actual court.

    2) They knew all of this and supported Tony Jones anyway.

    In either case, they were wrong. They claimed to have knowledge repeatedly. They had no such knowledge. They were liars, or they were just as narcissistic as Tony Jones himself.

    I want to point out the fact that after the evidence came out, Brian McLaren immediately started into his passive aggressive defense mode. He posted to his Facebook page a quote:

    “Every year of my life I grow more convinced that it is wisest and best to fix our attention on the beautiful and the good, and dwell as little as possible o the evil and the false.”

    So I contend that Brian McLaren, who started the “Why Tony” campaign was in full knowledge of the facts, and supported a liar, and posted lies.

    I want to know why.

    I want to know why the public outcry against these religious leaders is not so overpowering that they are not all flipping burgers at McDonald’s by the end of the week.

    Fuck these assholes.

  2. The JoPa Group (Tony Jones & Doug Pagitt) claim to be social media experts.

    “Our specializations include:
    Social Media
    We are convinced of the incredible power that social media has to connect people to one another and to churches, ministries, and organizations. That’s why we developed Social Phonics, a division of JoPa Productions, which is the premier organization training pastors, ministry leaders, and non-profit leaders in the use of social media.”

    But they seem blissfully unaware of the internet’s standard response to attempted censorship – the Streisand Effect – where the attempted suppression of information causes it to spread uncontrollably.

  3. I want to know why Rachel Held Evans went suddenly silent on the issue. She had all the evidence to throw in her two cents, but changed the subject when the evidence came out. She deleted peoples comments, actively threw Julie under the bus, silenced her, and where is the public outcry?

    These bloggers and book dealers, they chimed in because it was the hot topic, and they supported Tony Jones because he is in the same circle of wagons. Most of them fell silent when the evidence came out.

    I want to know how this is acceptable behavior.

    Will these people answer for their wrong?

    For 3 days, I posted clips of the Tony Jones psych evaluation as my cover photo. Jones and company had me banned from Facebook for 24 hours due to threatening posts which violated Facebook policy.

    You are goddamned right the truth is threatening.

    So what this mess has turned into is a game of money. Julie, the single mother who has no money, against Tony who has money, and he will fight to have his reputation cleared whatever the cost.

  4. I cannot believe that the Love People and “inclusion” folks on Patheos who I have been learning from are behaving so badly. Well… yes, I can believe it. And that is sad. Good for you for continuing to speak up….. saying a skunk stinks is not only appropriate, it’s necessary if we want to stop getting sprayed.

  5. There is such a lack of disclosure and obscuring of truth by Tony Jones and his people.

    They don’t reveal who did the ‘we all support Tony’ site and they won’t reveal who asked them to post there.

  6. They just want you and everyone else to be a “good Christian boy/girl” who complies without analyzing and asking probing questions.

  7. Thank you David for not being silenced!!!! For providing a place where people can speak freely.

    I’m so sick of the lies Tony gives and then the fact that he can just delete them and act as though he’s still in the right. The truth will not go away.

  8. Oh well done sir! Thank you, David. This is the epitome of my favourite quote: ‘I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.’ ~Elie Wiesel

  9. Wait. tony Jones and Doug Paggit are leaders? Of what? I may go as far as to see them as peers or equal but never have I seen them or considered them my leaders.

    Concerning Tony’s divorce. I also had some interesting emails from inside parties. But instead of fanning the flames I believed there was enough issues going on. I basically realized that I had a life. The thing is, people do stupid things and then try to hide it. They then get embarrassed and get defensive. That is why grace is most important as takes the pressure off to hide and instead hopefully come to realize they need to come clean.

    One thing I never see is that Tony has been public with his mental illness. This needs to be considered when you try to expose someone. Often those with mental issues do not even know they have one. Also, they will most often deny any wrong doing as it may be rationalized away within their irrational world. Also, mental illness is a tricky thing. People can seem fine or have an illness that is lesser but becomes worse — especially when under stress. I do have more to say but fear I have stated too much already.

  10. The silencing of voices who shout out about abuse must be stopped.

    I will continue to support you, David, Julie, and all victims of abuse who rightly expose abusers.

    I cannot stop thinking of sexual abuse survivor Paul Grenier’s profound words:

    “My advice to any victim of abuse would be to speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” Paul Grenier

  11. Carlos, Tony’s acknowledgement of his Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Megalomania) diagnosis is here on his site:
    Mirrored at

    And even in a book review (which he somehow made all about himself):

  12. David, In my experience the most effective way to respond to a bully is do exactly what you are doing – exposing their behavior. We have too many victims and too much silence in the world. I just land that you have a platform that is reaching many people and making a huge difference.

  13. So tired of abuse of power, unfortunately it’s a familiar narrative that plays out again and again. Thanks for tirelessly speaking out.

  14. Thank you for having the tenacity to keep going with this . . .at great personal cost. We did not learn to fight back in my fundamentalist culture of origen. We were told to journal, to pray, to be polite, be respectful, and give in to God-given leadership. But we’ve learned a lot since then, thanks to some very courageous survivors. . .This group of pied pipers are referring back to that time, hoping to get us in default mode, “Oh, look! Authority!”

    I like how you are not “just” sticking your tongue out at them, or giving them the finger, but are meeting them eye to eye. Stand tall and proud! You’re up for this!

  15. What’s really ironic is that there was only thing was requested in the original Thug/Theology post: an acknowledgement of what had been done in the name of protecting one person’s reputation by destroying that of another, along with an apology from those who participated in that, even if it was done unwittingly.

    That simple request was too much. Acknowledgement, apology. It would have been The End.

    Instead, furious & prolonged behind-the-scenes efforts to withdraw the request that were in effect more of the same: protect the reputation of one person by destroying that of another. And when that failed, a barrage of “support” that had the opposite of its intended effect.


    So now it’s back to let’s-just-let-the-courts-handle-this kind of language, because that’s what the moral, adult people do. And still the original request to acknowledge & apologize stands.

  16. Thank you for continuing to resist sources of oppression and corruption. We need more people like you willing to stand and shine a light on the wolves that masquerade as sheep within our faith.

  17. So glad to read this! You know, Julie’s comments have been on blogs. As far as I know she has not hosted any site. So for them to think a blogger who has allowed discussion on the issues surrounding Tony as a public figure who used his privilege to control — is going to take it down blog posts simply because those who support the NPD or the NPD himself claims the “court” says so, must think we all fell off the turnip truck. It just does not work that way. BTW: That statement reeks of NPD. Note how it casts Tony in the dutiful citizen light. Please. It is to his advantage it all be taken down except his business blogging of course.

    There is another angle here. Some of his outspoken supporters might be getting a bit antsy so this move could also be about giving them an out to save face. And that out is: We must all be silent.

    Interesting how the progressive/emergent are so against free speech they cannot control. They remind me of the fundys.

  18. Well, Lydia, they certainly didn’t like it when the #WX15 “courageous conversation about hypocrisy and corruption in the church” started early, out of their control, and about Emergent itself.

    So much for wanting a movement led by the people…

  19. You are 100% right about point #2. It is Tony Jones’ paid lawyers who want everything erased.

    And fuck Tony for thinking it would be interpreted otherwise.

    Points 3, and 4, absolutely right. If the “court” had ordered such nonsense, they would have served you, me, and many others with actual papers with a cease and desist order. No such nonsense has been given.

    Tony Joned is a goddamned liar. He is manipulating. Even now, he thinks his manipulations will win the day.

  20. Thank you, David, for your stand. I am 100% behind you, there is no doubt that you are doing the right thing.

    I have never had anything to do with Emergent, so all of these people are strangers to me, and I’ve been watching the whole thing develop since I first heard of this issue (I don’t even remember how). One thing that struck me about Tony’s supporters was that I felt that perhaps they believed him because he seemed such a great guy in every other respect, that he seemed a genuinely warm and supportive person. I wonder how much of their support was based on a sort of shocked denial that the accusations COULD be true, given the public face of Tony with which they were familiar. I wonder, too, how much they have felt betrayed when the facts came to light. This might be the reason for their silence – they believed him until they no longer could, and now they’re just pulling back to try to understand just what’s going on. These are just speculations on my part, and it’s very likely that I’m very mistaken, but these were my thoughts as all this went on.

    Tony’s cause is lost. His very attempts to regain control of the narrative speaks as loudly about his “wrongness” as do the facts themselves. (I don’t know anyting about NPD. Are those with that disease unteachable? Do they never correct behavior that has bad consequences? One would think that a man as intelligent as Tony would have realized a while ago that all his attempts to clear his reputation have had the opposite effect entirely. Everyone else can see that, is it his condition that prevents him from seeing it?)

    I, too, remember that David’s original blog had Julie merely asking those who had condemned her and publicly labeled her as crazy, and tried to get her locked up, to acknowledge their error and apologize. Those that did so were met with truly open-hearted and complete forgiveness to a degree that I don’t think I could match under such circumstances.

    As I said, I knew nothing at all about Emergent or any of the people involved in it, but reading the blogs and other internet posts has revealed the personalities of those involved to some degree. Based on what I have read over the last few months, it seems fairly clear to me that Julie is certainly telling the truth, and that Tony knows it and wants her silenced at any cost. He also seems to think that if he can get every word written about it erased from the internet, that everyone will forget what they’ve read and will go back to applauding him for being Tony Jones. I wonder if he’ll ever understand that we don’t applaud precisely because he IS Tony Jones, and what he has shown us about himself appalls us. I can’t understand how he can think that gagging Julie and others will repair his reputation. That makes absolutely no sense at all.

  21. David, Bravo! Dee on TWW vowed publicly to publish any attempts to silence her. As far as I know, she hasn’t reported that anyone has tried. Would it be an option for you to publish the emails you’ve received? My guess is that you are under no legal or ethical obligation to keep them private, unless you’ve agreed to already. Maybe you’ve addressed this already, and it may not be feasible for you, but it would be shining a light in dark corners to see the emails that people have sent in their attempts to control you.

  22. Cowards hoping that just saying the word ‘lawyer’ will scare people, based on the highly narcissistic assumption that Tony and Cronies are the only sophisticates in the room and the rest of us are country bumpkins who don’t know nothin’ from lawyerin’.

    Can you hear me laughing all the way from here, Tony? Along with my extensive legal team? As to David, you’re absolutely right. Don’t back down. I hope you can hear me applauding from here.

  23. Great cartoon and essay, David!

    Yes, it’s about Free Speech! They are nationally known public figures (Christian leaders/bloggers/writers/authors/speakers) – Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren – and we can discuss ANYTHING about them under the First Amendment.

    You are absolutely correct David that the court didn’t say anything about removing posts. Family court judges are WAY too busy to get involved in this kind of stuff. And a judge would be overstepping his/her bounds and they know it. A judge could face discipline.

    As for attorneys, I just tell them I’ll file a “State Bar ethics charge against you”. Works like a charm each and every time! Even if the State Bar doesn’t discipline them, the very idea that they got turned in to the State Bar and the State Bar has them on record…makes them cringe. “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo” they silently scream. They sweat. I mean business and I have followed through. Works like a charm.

  24. David: You’ve stumbled into a pivotal role in this situation, and you’re handling it well. Keep it up.

  25. I asked John Vest this:

    John – an observation for you.
    It seems quite obvious when reading your blog and the comments that you do not feel comfortable with full disclosure.

    1) You have been asked who made you aware of the ‘We support tony’ scribd. You haven’t answered.

    2) You say that Tony was not responsible for the site (therefore you must know who is) yet you refuse to state clearly who set the site up.

    If I compare this to the actions of people like David Hayward then I find this behaviour really troubling.

    It looks like the behaviour of those in positions of authority (those in the gang) who say just enough to sound like they are replying, and yet don’t reveal all they could. Sounds like a political game.

    If you cannot answer fully the above two questions perhaps you could tell us why you don’t feel able to answer them.

    Thank Al (note I did ask a supplementary Q when he didn’t reply)

    And he replied with this:

    ‘At this point I feel like you’re just fishing for material for the conspiracy theory du jour, and I don’t have any desire to contribute to that. I really don’t think these questions matter. The intent of the site was clear. Whether you believe the reasons given for its removal is up to you. I’ve been clear about why I took down my original post and asked for my statement to be removed. Anyone who has posted anything about this is trying to control the story, or at least their piece of it. There is more than enough of that going around on every possible side of this. It’s an endless loop of trying to gain the upper hand. Unless there is something legitimately new to discuss, I think I’ve said all I need to say.’

    And then they wonder why some of us think that there is a cover up by those on the circuit.

  26. I like the fact that the note on the Scrib’d site said that Tony pulled his stuff down the same day!

    Then if you look at the date of the note on the Scrib’d site it shows that it took them more than a week to take down all the posts of support for Tony…a bit hypocritical?

  27. This public reviling of Tony Jones, et al. puts this blog and TWW on just about the same moral footing as the other side. There are so many infinitely more important and pressing matters than a 6-year-old divorce being continuously dissected on the Internet.

  28. I’m afraid THC that you just don’t get it. I said in the post that this is not about the divorce, but me dissecting the public statement that was made as an attempt to silence people. That’s it. This isn’t about who’s wrong or right, but about freedom of speech. Although when someone does try to silence people and control the narrative it does beg the question “Why?”.

  29. im not sure how the linked to page shows Tony’s statement is full of holes. Despite its title it is not evidence but a list of grievences. It would be better if in their evidences they referenced what in Tony’s document they are refuting. That document does make two serious claims that we MUST take seriously (the doctors report and the claims made in them and the statement by his kids). Some of the other claims (affair, police report) would be strengthened if the documentary evidence of a psychologist report were dropped and the actual report and evidence of an affair provided. I’m not saying abuse didn’t happen but that the evidence provided shows that claims were made but not that claims were provided. It’s possible that the person posting documents is having trouble sorting through them. I’d recommend they bring a lawyer in to make a stronger argument. I’m not a friend of Tony but I am of McLaran. I’m not saying abuse didn’t happen – Julie obviously has trauma – but I would be able to say from the evidence provided that a case has been made. A Stronger argument could be made.

  30. This isn’t about a six year old divorce: this is about a bully, an abuser. He needs to be stopped. Julie deserves to be heard. The church needs to stop supporting abusers and start supporting the victims.

    This is about compassion and empathy. This about doing what is right and righting wrongs.

  31. I say anyone who wants to silence a victim is a coward and should be begging for forgiveness if they know the real jesus.

  32. THC & Jason. You don’t seem to understand. This is not about a divorce, or trying to prove criminal spousal abuse. This is about why Tony is allowed to speak and Julie is not. Why Tony is allowed to use his position of authority in the church to criticize the morality of others, but when his morality is called into question, he is allowed to use the exact same position of authority to silence any and all dissenters. That is the question. Do you understand?

  33. I’ve been followingbthe carious posts on this issue since I first came across it a couple months ago(?) on this blog, and just want to say thanks for providing a place for this discussion to happen. This has opened my eyes to how victims are typically treated, the cult-of-personality error that is rampant in churches, and other issues. Thanks

  34. Bravo David!!! Well said. Thank you. Hang in there.

    When will the Tony Jones team realize what a liability he is?

  35. Stepping on people seems to be your goal of this post as well. The fact is — you are doing the same sort of bullying that you accuse others of doing. No difference.

  36. Randy,

    I have seen your behaviour towards women who you tried to privately pressure into changing their position on Tony Jones.

    Your assessment of what is and isn’t “bullying” has no credibility with me.

  37. Randy, no . . . David is not asking anyone to shut up. He’s refusing to do that.

    Others are asking him to shut up, and they’re asking him to help them shut down a conversation.

    These things are different. One of them is bullying, and the other isn’t.

  38. Randy: I know it’s hard for some people to understand. Like some children can’t understand their parents can have a good fight. There are bad fights, and there are good fights. Some people also find it hard because they are so sensitive to discern the difference between someone being a bully and someone telling them to stop being a bully. The one being a bully is the bully. The one telling them to stop is not. I hope that helps.

  39. It’s not just about the divorce, it’s also about the domestic violence, spiritual and psychological abuse, withholding child support to buy silence, SLAPPs, about how he convinced his prominent friends to lie for him.

    The big problem with a lot of abusers is that they don’t show their true face except to their victims. So it’s easy to take their side.

    The people in this thread saying we’re behaving poorly, maybe some of us are. But we’re not making things up. Go look up R.L. Stollar’s posts on the facts on this issue.

    For the Christian public, following the words of a man that worked as a “man of god”, yet committed adultery, divorced his current wife and married the woman he committed adultery with. Jesus had very strong words on that chain of action. Why does he still have a job in the “Kingdom of God” while committing such massive sins?

    Then there’s the slander that he convinced his buddies to participate in. They simply believed him and repeated such damaging things. Only a few of them have repented of their part in that deed. Why do the rest still deserve any respect?

    This all causes me to wonder if they really believe the religion they claim to profess. It seems they believe that they’ll never be called to account for the evils that they have perpetrated. Exactly what does it take for a bad person to be removed from Ted Haggard had a “prayer”. Jim Bakker is hawking survival gear with a verse at jacked up prices. Mark Driscoll is still “at large” after dumping his church and letting it crater under its debt.

  40. Randy, your comment is the definition of cognitive dissonance. I’m not sure how you can see this post as bullying, and at the same time think your messages to a woman you’d never met, trying to sway her opinion, were ok.

    One thing that really bothers me about all of the people standing up for Tony and against Julie is this: not one of them lived with Tony and Julie. Sure, these people know Tony professionally, but none of them have been in an intimate relationship with Tony (other than his “spiritual wife”). Things happen behind closed doors. It doesn’t matter how well you think you know someone. They might be a completely different person in the privacy of their own home. People like Tony let you see what they want you to see.

    It just so happens that friends of ours are having marriage problems of a similar nature, NPD included. We had no idea how bad things were until she told us. Even though we are friends, we aren’t able to see what goes on all the time. The same is true for Tony and Julie. Stand with him as much as you want, but you will never know for sure that he is telling the truth because you were never there to witness his relationship with his wife.

  41. I never understand a person’s need to insist that those who call out bullies to protect the victim like the church should be doing are bullies themselves. Jesus was about helping those who could not help themselves. He was not about helping bullies.

  42. All of this is nothing but an NPD trying to control and rewrite the narrative happening before his eyes. There is only one way to silence at this point and he gets to use it to try and convince others what a great citizen he is at the same time. He has succeeded in gagging his ex wife who just recently was able to be heard. But he is going to have to get very legal to shut down the bloggers who allow discussion on the fact he used his bully pulpit against his ex wife for years.

    If his cronies in ministry are not on to him by now then perhaps they have some similar issues. Those issues are usually wrapped up in recognition and money. They have made their positions quite clear. It was never really about the oppressed. It was about fame and money.

  43. So Jason Derr (22.7:34pm), you have schlepped the exact same arguments from RL Stollar’s combox to this one.

    It is remarkable when an academic will not modify their writing even one bit after an array of information has been presented. I hope for you it is because the subject matter is outside expertise; even though that wouldn’t excuse your intransigence, it would be less bewildering.

    Once more,, the docs at Stollar are not a “list of grievances”. Rl Stollar exhibits both Tony’s and Julie’s court-ordered psych evals, and the accompanying docs bring further context for the evals. They were used in court, as properly gathered information useful for legal decisions.

    You may think that psychology is a ridiculously flawed field of study. If so, you contradict best practice. Still, opinions are free. But while free, all opinions are not equal and some cannot be expected to receive respect.

    You also remain ignorant of both domestic abuse and the power of secrecy in institutional constructs. I seriously recommend that you do some study of both. You will look foolish pontificating on them until you do.

  44. I’m always grateful you can see through the BS, David. The Scribd note was an incredibly well-written piece of PR, but sometimes writers forget that when you know what to look for you can spot the sleight of hand a mile away. If the note had simply said, “We felt it was best for all involved to remove these personal statements from the Internet [*period*],” then we’d be having a very different conversation. But it was clearly meant to manipulate on every level, from perceptions to actions. Thanks for standing firm.

  45. The only reason details of the divorce, and details of things TJ is saying now, are relevant is as indicators of Tony’s willingness to lie at every stage of the game.

    I don’t need Julie to be a perfect victim, or for everyone to hear every detail and make a scrupulously informed decision about every aspect of this situation. No. What I keep hoping, with all this picking apart of his words, is that at some point, SOME of his supporters, will look at it and wonder why he keeps lying all the time about every little thing.

    In the original NP thread it was said he lied during his marriage, Stollar’s evidence seems to bear that out. It certainly shows that his *kids* saw him lying about his actions. But forget lies from 6 years ago that feel insignificant to strangers because they’re 6 years old.

    Tony continues to lie, almost casually, in post after post. He lies about things he doesn’t need to lie about, that can be disproven easily with a simple google search. He lies *within* his posts so that you don’t even need to do a google search to see him lying. No wonder his lawyers want him to take them down. He lies with authority and condescension and shaming and implied threats- manipulating people to silence because they fear the courts, or worry about making Jesus cry, or think they’re noble if they voice no opinion (other than the one where they think no one should voice any opinion). But whatever tactic and voice he uses, he continues to lie with abandon to direct the narrative to get him what he wants.

    So I keep wondering and hoping. Will his casual internet supporters ever get tired of being lied to and recruited as support for those lies, for his right to lie? (I’m looking at you, Randy Buist).

    Again, I don’t need to parse the details of their marriage and divorce. (For all I know Julie really is a crazy bitch who drove Tony to treat her badly and flee their marriage. I happen to think that’s a ridiculous and victim blaming interpretation of the available info, but it isn’t relevant to my point.) My point is that I don’t need to know ANY of the details of their divorce to see with my own two eyes that Tony lies and threatens people who disagree with him AT EVERY TURN. And I continue to wonder why that is okay with his supporters.

  46. A widely overlooked piece of information found at the bottom of Tony’s 12 page statement was one of the two names listed as contact people who were enlisted to speak on his behalf: Blois Olson. Mr. Olson is a highly-regarded and politically-connected public relations heavy-weight who is based in Minneapolis. He is what is commonly referred to as a “spin-docter” with a particular expertise in “crisis management” and political maneuvering. Boy, it sure is surprising that a humble church leader like Tony Jones seems to need (and is able to afford) high-priced PR talent like this guy. But can you really blame him? Having someone who can help him with his image is probably the best money he can spend right now (it sure beats spending it on child support). That said, I don’t know about you, but I can always tell when the slick-sounding press releases are formulated after “the team” gets together for an exhaustive “public statement” strategy session during which every word, phrase, and nuance is carefully considered, debated-over, written and rewritten, and finally aligned-around prior to being released to the general public. The result is so contrived, manipulative and inauthentic that it makes you feel like a dumbass for even having taken the time to read it. These guys must think we are all complete idiots! Then again, they sure as hell don’t want Tony making his own statements. They’ve seen enough of that.

  47. All the talk about picking sides is sickening to me. And hiding behind the “kids” is equally so. Where were these critics wanting silence when Julie was being slandered as “bat-shit crazy”? Do you think that might be harmful to the kids to hear their mother labelled such wrongfully? Or when she was being pressured to check herself in the psyche ward (wrongfully)? And where were the men and women of God labeling adultery, adultery when it was in the public face of all? Actions tell us the true heart of these matters. And they aren’t about “not picking sides” or “protecting the kids.” The earlier silence during such egregious actions/words says otherwise.

    Silence means that injustice and lies prevail in these matters. It’s the innocent who get hurt when the truth is buried and silenced. Way to go, David, in not allowing them to intimidate you to silence!

  48. Over at the Wartburg Watch site it says on the top that “Julie can no longer comment on social media. It is being used against her in the legal system. Pray!!!” Why can’t Julie comment on social media? Is she choosing to refrain from commenting on the advice of her attorney or has she been ordered to stop commenting by some court authority?

  49. Seth- Interesting move on the selective quoting of what it actually says over at TWW. You forgot the part that says “It is being used against her in the legal system.” I’m sure that was just an oversight, right? I mean, you weren’t spinning to make things look less clear than they are, were you Seth?

    Cause that’s douchey. Transparently so.

  50. AnnieBanannie,
    Seth actually does quote that. He just ignores the fact that his questions are actually answered in that quote. I think this may be an example of “concern trolling” on Seth’s part.

  51. Oh folks, a reminder that Dee and Deb at The Wartburg Watch (at the request of Julie Anne at The Spiritual Sounding Board) have started a GoFundMe fundraiser for Tony Jones’ ex-wife, Julie Anne.


    They are sending funds to Julie M weekly. If you can, please give to this fund. Julie M. really needs our financial support, as well as our emotional support and prayers.

    Thank you!

  52. Bill Kinnon-
    How is my question answered in the quote? I see at least two different possible scenarios. Scenario A has Julie voluntarily not using social media at the recommendation of her attorney. Scenario B has Julie being prohibited from using social media via the action of a legal authority. Scenario A is substantively different from Scenario B and has far different implications.

  53. From reading the 2/18 thread over there it appears to me that Dee at the TWW does not have the answer to my question, but I definitely could be mistaken. Since is the genesis of the recent attention to the situation and receives heavy traffic from people who at least appear to be in the know it seems like a good place for seeking further info.

  54. One scenario has Julie following standard legal advice from an attorney. The other scenario represents something far more serious in that a legal authority is silencing Julie by preventing her use of social media. If the second scenario is true the pertinent question becomes, “How deep does this thing go?” I know that some folks have a different perspective, but when I’m given the choice between less knowledge and more knowledge, I almost always choose more knowledge.

  55. Seth, at TWW, Dee wrote under ‘Brian Mclaren Responds…’ (Feb 16.5:30PM): “Announcement to our readers: Julie will no longer be able to comment on our blog as well as others. Everything she says is being scrutinized and reported to lawyers if you get my drift. Please pray for her. This makes me very sad.”

    Cardinal Richelieu (ascribed): “Give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men and I will find something in them which will hang him.”

  56. Seth,

    “The other scenario represents something far more serious in that a legal authority is silencing Julie by preventing her use of social media.”

    No court authority would ever do this due to free speech. And we all know that free speech doesn’t mean we can speak and write lies about others (this is how you get sued). However, lawyers advise clients to not comment all the time since it is very easy for opposing lawyers to use your own words against you. I believe Julie’s lawyers advised her to stop commenting so that her words cannot be twisted and used against her.

  57. Seth- Even if it seems Dee doesn’t know based on the comment thread, why not double check with her first?

    However, her comment that you quoted seems pretty straightforward. “Being used against her in the courts” doesn’t actually sound at all like the court has mandated something to her on the subject.

    That said, courts do issue illegal gag orders about different cases not uncommonly. Usually there is an even greater power differential involved- such as the recent case with Boston Children’s Hospital and DHS vs the family of Justina Pelletier. Once the family broke the gag order and got some national coverage there was huge outcry from first amendment lawyers about the illegality of that order, and also others speaking out about having been legally gagged in court cases with big power differential.

    So I suppose it’s possible that “it goes deep” as you say. It just isn’t how it sounds from Dee’s phrasing over there at all.

  58. Patrice- Thanks for digging up that comment even if it doesn’t really answer my question regarding the posture and actions of the court. That Richelieu quote always reminds me of 7th grade world history. 50 minutes of the middle school day that were actually well spent!

    David- I want to know because I have been following this situation, and I am curious. I do appreciate this blog. It has been an education, and the response to my question has also been an education! You have a comment section that is open to the public. I asked a question. For whatever reason asking this question appears to be causing some stress.

    Bridget- I hope you are correct and that Julie is silent simply because she is following the advice of her lawyer. That would be my best guess, but I prefer knowledge to conjecture. You state that “no court authority would ever do this due to free speech.” Well . . . I’m going to file that one under Things That I Wish Were True.

    AnnieBanannie- I believe that if Dee knew she would have said so. I could be wrong. I don’t know the Hennepin county court system. It is quite possible that it is a model of objectivity and that LEOs and judges are not enmeshed. As for my query I should probably commence research at the actual court.

    I hope that everyone here has a great day.

  59. Seth: You are welcomed to ask questions. Of course! I suppose that maybe some of us are suspicious of certain ones and their motivations and intents. There are lots of schemes and threats in the air, and it makes conversation difficult sometimes. If I were you I would guess it was either ordered, advised, self-imposed for sabbatical reasons, she’s lost her internet connection, Jesus returned and we weren’t included, or some other reason we are unaware of. Tony’s post suggested it was court requested, which I question. Courts don’t request. At least not in my world. We could all assume, as Tony’s statement suggested, that they are receiving advice from their attorneys. But we can also guess that exhaustion enters the picture and rest is required. If your question is motivated by concern and not just curiosity, then I’m glad.

  60. Seth (24.6:07PM), yeah, I suspect most of us would appreciate a clear answer but being pointed in a direction is all that we are afforded. I suspect Dee knows more, and that she’s not the only one, but some measure of privacy is important in ongoing legal situations, not wanting to set up potential for future harm, and not sure how things might/will be used.

    Which leaves us reading between the lines. One can learn a lot that way. And it’s not our story, after all. I am satisfied that Julie now has supporters when they are needed.

    I wish you well.

    PS: I’ve noticed that AnnieBanannie is almost always correct.

  61. Having worked in law for decades as a paralegal (including in litigation and family law), I find it curious that the name of the MN family court judge was never mentioned (who, what, where, when, why). A family court judge wouldn’t know what’s being blogged about (about Tony Jones). No doubt Jones’ attorney asked the court for people to stop writing, blogging, etc. (after all the threats of the Emergent Crowd haven’t worked too well to get all of us to bow and scrape to their every whim).

    But the fact that a court order wasn’t put up with the name of the family court judge…I find very, very, very odd. I think it’s the usual public relations spin from Tony Jones & Company.

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