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As we celebrate the success of our ‘rainbow wave’, and the record numbers of gay and lesbian  candidates elected to Congress and state legislatures across the country, it’s dispiriting to hear about the violence and hateful rhetoric directed at the LGBTQ community on a constant basis.

Today I read about another controversy that involves Chick-Fil-A and gay rights, and the ensuing right-wing backlash. I’ve never stepped one foot into a Chick-Fil-A because they hate our community, and doubt I ever will.

Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, is a private institution. They asked students to complete a survey about dining options on campus, and didn’t include Chick-Fil-A in the survey “based on the company’s record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ community.”

As a private secular university they can do what they want, and that caused a protest and outcry from right-wingers. Rider University can reject Chick-Fil-A's bigotry, and I support and applaud them for it. Chick-Fil-A’s bigotry has alienated millions of potential customers.

Six years ago when he was trying to defend and justify Chick-Fil-A’s support of anti-gay groups, CEO Dan Cathy said, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’.” The CEO fails to see the hypocrisy in his statement. He’s doing the same thing he's criticizing. He knows what the definition of marriage is, and he will ignore the rule of law, and continue to support bigotry.

Let’s establish the facts.

The Facts About Chick-Fil-A:
  1. Chick-Fil-A has a history of making charitable donations to anti-LGBTQ Christian organizations and hate groups that use lies and hate speech to spread misinformation and propaganda about the gay community.
  2. Chick-Fil-A is a privately held Christian family business.
  3. Chick-Fil-A has a Christian mission “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.”
  4. Chick-Fil-A stated “We have no policy of discrimination against any group, and we do not have a political or social agenda.”
  5. Chick-Fil-A might not have a policy to officially discriminate, while they continue to make donations to religious organizations and charities that DO discriminate. By association they discriminate.
  6. Chick-Fil-A does not have an employment non-discrimination policy, and can terminate an employee if they’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or they’re perceived to be LGBTQ, in states that don’t have laws offering those protections.
  7. Chick-Fil-A's Christian tradition embraces hate speech and discrimination, which has severe consequences on the mental and physical health of non-Christians and LGBTQ people alike. That should be enough to deter anyone's bad behavior, but has little to no effect on Chick-Fil-A, and they continue to represent anti-gay discrimination and hate.
I first became aware of Chick-Fil-A's controversial views in 2012. When I hear high profile business leaders publicly endorse anti-LGBTQ positions, it bothers me. Ignorant public statements can be harmful to LGBTQ kids, as it affects their mental health.

We presume that chief executive officers are hard working and smart. You'd think they would have empathy and compassion for their employees, and be sensitive to their corporate image and their  messaging, because these issues affect the reputation of their brand.

The truth is publicly held corporations that have to answer to shareholders are much more sensitive to messaging and public relations, and privately held companies (especially a family business) don't care as much.

I wrote to Chick-Fil-A's CEO Dan Cathy in 2012. I reread the letter and it still applies today. The CEO didn't answered then, he's certainly not going to answer it now, and that's a shame.

I will continue to stay out of Chick-Fil-A restaurants and be a thorn in their side, until they stop supporting anti-gay organizations, adopt an anti-discrimination employment policy, and they welcome everyone with open arms.

I hope you'll stand with me.

Straight talk indeed.   

Dear Mr. Cathy: 
You recently appeared on the radio program The Ken Coleman Show, and you made some controversial and incendiary remarks that included your personal belief that you think marriage equality is challenging God’s definition of marriage. 
You said: 
I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’  
I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about. 
I’m confused about why you personally think it’s audacious, as well as prideful and arrogant, to demand or expect equality. 
Your personal beliefs and statements raise a few questions that I’d really like you to answer. 
There isn’t ONE WORD about marriage equality in the Bible, so I challenge you to cite where God or anyone else condemns marriage equality anywhere in scripture. 
Do you have a hotline directly to God? Has he spoken to you about this? What has God told you? 
The institution of marriage has been evolving over hundreds of years. There was a time when a wife was the “property” of her husband, and the Bible has many representations that support this fact. As our culture has progressed, a woman is no longer her husband’s property. As such, marriage was redefined. How does God view that? 
For many years women couldn’t charge their husband with assault, or rape. Since they were personal property, like a slave, they weren’t given legal standing in a court of law. As our culture has progressed, if a husband physically or sexually assaults his wife, he can expect to be arrested by the police and be charged with a crime. Again, marriage was redefined. How does God view that? 
If you want to cite scripture to support your view, even though scripture never touches on marriage equality, what do you think of Leviticus (20:9)? In case you are unfamiliar with this passage, if anyone curses their mother or father they must be killed. 
How about Leviticus (20:10)? In case you are unfamiliar with this passage, it says if a man is unfaithful to his wife, or a wife is unfaithful to her husband, they both must be killed.

Since the Bible was written, our society has evolved and we don’t kill anyone for adultery in this country. Marriage was redefined. How does God view that? 
Hell – in Deuteronomy (13:6-10) it states that if a family member worships another God, you should kill them. In our society today, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists and Agnostics live side by side. We are friends and neighbors, and in some cases a family member might have a different faith. We don’t kill someone for their religious beliefs. How does God view that? 
In the United States of America we believe that all men and women are created equally. While you don’t share this view, and you think the LGBT community should be singled out and denied basic civil rights, how do you think God views that? 
A better question is probably – how do you think God views you? 
I’d like to remind you of Corinthians (13:1-3): 
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 
Marriage has been redefined many times over the centuries, and it will continue to evolve and be redefined. 
God wants everyone to love and be loved. At the end of the day - that’s what really matters Mr. Cathy – not your nonsense. 
I’m not shaking my fist at God and telling him that I know anything more than anyone else. I’m shaking my fist at you Mr. Cathy – and telling you I know what the definition of marriage is – and if you would look beneath your bigotry, you might learn it too. 
Roy Steele

© 2011 - 2018 Jive in the [415] All Rights Reserved
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At the crossroads to the world in Times Square, Christmas shoppers and New Year's Eve revelers will be greeted by Citizens for Transparency's "No Gays Allowed" billboard. The gay rights champions implore people to STOP Alliance Defending Freedom by visiting NoGays.org.

Gay rights champion Citizens for Transparency shines a light on the gay hating Christian legal beagles who represented the aggrieved baker in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, with a big prominent billboard in Times Square. Laura Ingraham and Fox Snooze aids and abets this dark and sinister organization, by amplifying their message and spreading their insidious brand of anti-LGBT hate.
Washington, D.C. – From the ‘gimme a gay break department’... The lesbian gay bisexual and transgender community is outraged by the verbal attacks and manufactured anger exhibited by a homophobic television entertainer and her guest, the double talking senior counsel for a Christian hate group. (The hypocrisy is stunning)

Watch the video  (embedded below) and judge for yourself. It’s a political attack ad commercial masquerading as a news story. You'll see a hate group's anti-LGBT propaganda go unchallenged, and yet another Fox Snooze show is a fact free zone.

Critical thinking is “the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment.” Whether we see a story on a television newscast, or read it in a newspaper, if verifiable FACTS are missing from the reporting, we must conclude that a story isn’t credible. That's what fake news is, and that’s exactly what we see here.

Laura Ingraham’s Ingraham Angle continues to magnify anti-gay right-wing propaganda and hate speech, and doesn’t allow gay activists to respond and appear on her show. She doesn't allow anyone to challenge her LIES.

Ten days ago Fox Snooze  entertainer Laura Ingraham began an outrageous segment on The Ingraham Angle  by alleging a conservative group was targeted with a smear campaign by a nasty leftist political group (of gay rights activists).

Ingraham has a series called ‘Defending the First’ where she supposedly exposes individuals and groups opposed to the First Amendment. The ‘First’ guarantees free speech, a free press, freedom from religion, freedom of religion, and bans the government from establishing a state religion.

I have no idea how often The Ingraham Angle airs the ‘Defending the First’ series. Consider that the biggest opponent of the First Amendment currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and we know the Trump News Channel disallows criticism of their patron saint. So much for free speech.

The program guide described the clash like a lover’s quarrel. “Progressive activists label the conservative legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom as a hate group to shut down any debate.”

What’s this brouhaha really about? What does this Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) group do? I never heard of them.
The LGBTQ rights organization Citizens for Transparency placed a prominent billboard in Times Square that says “NO GAYS ALLOWED” and “STOP Alliance Defending Freedom – Learn more at NoGays.org.”

Visitors to the NoGays.org website will find extensive research and documentation about Alliance Defending Freedom’s lengthy anti-gay and transphobic record, with links to research and news articles (aka facts) to support their conclusion that this organization actively promotes hate.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a Christian-based legal organization founded in 1994 by thirty self-proclaimed ‘Christian leaders’. The list of founders reads like a who’s who list of prominent anti-gay purveyors of hate.

Gay Group's Times Square Billboard Slams Christian Cartel's Hate - YouTube

ADF’s work has largely flown under the national radar until recently. They assembled the Christian legal army that represented the Colorado baker in the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, before the Supreme Court.

ADF is an anti-equality organization. They oppose equality for women, and actively campaign to restrict a woman’s ability to make her own healthcare decisions. In spite of the Obergefell marriage ruling, they’re still against gay marriage and civil unions, adoptions by same-sex couples, and any anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment and public accomodation.

The billboard in Times Square highlights Alliance Defending Freedom’s long record of opposition to LGBT rights, and ADF doesn’t like it.
LAURA INGRAHAM: Time now for our ‘Defending the First’ series where we expose enemies of the first amendment, free expression, and free thought. 
They played a role in 54 victories in front of the Supreme Court and have defended families and marriage, but now they’re being targeted by forces on the left in an effort to blunt their effectiveness. 
The conservative Alliance Defending Freedom was targeted by this DISGUSTING billboard campaign in New York City’s Time Square.
She said they played a role in 54 Supreme Court victories. What does 'played a role' mean? Criminal defendants sometimes 'play a role' and win Supreme Court cases. Does 'playing a role' in a case legitimize their mission? Nope. 
In ADF’s marketing and promotional materials, they claim to have “played a role” in 54 Supreme Court victories. If “playing a role” includes filing amicus briefs (any individual or organization can a file friend of the court brief in a Supreme Court case) to support or oppose a case, they’re inflating and overstating their influence. I suspect that’s what’s happening here, and Ingraham gets an 'F' for not explaining where this number came from.

Ingraham isn’t a journalist and isn’t held to the same standards as a journalist (just like entertainer Sean Hannity). She doesn’t feel any responsibility to stick to the facts, and said the Times Square billboard is disgusting. What most LGBT people find disgusting is any organization that believes we are second-class citizens without any rights. That's what ADF believes.

When she introduced ADF’s senior counsel Jeremy Tedesco, she told him she has a gay brother. I don’t know if she was trying to establish credibility with viewers at home, or if she was warning him. Who was she was pandering to? (If you have an idea or want to speculate, let us know in the comment section)

She said “Jeremy I have a gay brother and I love him very much, so I didn’t like that sign at all. I thought it was hideous. That was a group opposing your group – what’s going on here.”

Ingraham does indeed have an estranged gay brother. If she has an ounce of respect for him or his friends, or LGBT people at all, she’d be disgusted by ADF. Why was this ADF promotional video so one-sided? Why didn’t she invite someone with an opposing view to challenge them? I guess "fair and balanced" no longer applies.

We must expose ADF's lies to reveal the truth. Groups like ADF HATE the sunlight.
The senior counsel said the "sign is preposterous” (not a factual statement – merely his opinion). Then he falsely asserted his legal organization is the most successful respected supreme court advocate in the country. That's completely UNTRUE. Hellooo! Ever heard of the ACLU?

Then he claimed they “protect everybody’s freedoms.” Aside from this being untrue too, if he’d said they protect a Christian individual’s right to discriminate, it would have been an honest answer.

Then he declared the billboard “completely misrepresents everything our cases are about.” Actually, the billboard is accurate and Tedesco's misrepresenting ADF’s record. He can say anything since every statement he makes goes unchallenged.

He described their client's as “creative professional clients” and falsely asserted “they serve everyone.” If that were true there wouldn’t have been the Masterpiece Bakery lawsuit and Supreme Court case. After saying ADF protects everybody’s freedom, their clients serve everyone, and we don’t discriminate, the doublespeak started.
JEREMY TEDESCO: They just can’t create art promoting every message. And that’s the most important thing. Jack Phillips we just won his case at the Supreme Court. He’s a cake artist. He declined to create a cake celebrating same-sex marriage. 
LAURA INGRAHAM: Would you represent a gay group if their first amendment rights were being violated. 
JEREMY TEDESCO: Well absolutely. We we we we we (note: he stutters and stumbles here) support the rights of everybody. Our wins...our wins are for everybody. 
LAURA INGRAHAM: They should know that.
Who is they? Who should know what? I nearly wet my pants from laughing at this point.

ADF does NOT support gay people’s right to marry, or any LGBT rights at all. Our community knows about ADF. We’re aware of their mission to dehumanize and denigrate us. Hence the charge “No Gays Allowed” is more than appropriate.

Hate groups and anti-LGBT rights organizations are very much alive and they keep fighting to deny us our rights.
It’s sad but true that there are dark forces opposed to gay rights, transgender rights, women’s rights, gender equality, racial equality and social justice. They are against equality period. ADF is one of many anti-equality organizations in the United States.

The biggest mistake we make today is to allow these political organizations to define these arguments as right versus left, because it’s a false representation of the issues. How we treat and respect people is a moral issue, not something to debate in the public square.

Equal rights and equal protection under the law is guaranteed by the Constitution. If anyone mistreats someone or discriminates and denies someone service due to sex, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity, they’re breaking the law and there are consequences for that.

Tedesco maintains that the “free speech and free exercise and conscience rights we protect, are rights that we all benefit from.” That statement goes unchallenged too. ADF fights for a Christian’s rights - not gay rights. They demand tolerance for their religious views, while they’re intolerant of our very existence.

LGBT people don’t benefit from anything ADF stands for. In fact, ADF is opposed to First Amendment rights for the gay community. It’s fascinating that Fox Snooze and Ingraham fail to recognize their hypocrisy.
LAURA INGRAHAM: The Southern Poverty Law Center figures in here.
Some Republicans despise the Southern Poverty Law Center, because they’ve rightly classified several right-wing organizations as “hate groups.” Ingraham clearly has no respect for the SPLC.

The Southern Poverty Law Center largely put the Klan out of business, and both the ADF and the Klan are hate groups. Does Fox Snooze give the Klan free air time? Nope. But they give it to ADF.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is one of the most prominent civil rights organizations in the country. SPLC has opponents and detractors on both sides of the political spectrum, because they track and expose political extremists.

SPLC rose to national prominence in the late 1970’s and 1980’s because of their overwhelming success in courtrooms to fight and eliminate racist organizations affiliated with white supremacists and the Klu Klux Klan.

That work led to the creation of their Intelligence Project to monitor and track hate groups and extremists. If an organization has “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” they might be classified as a hate group.

In addition to their legal work related to civil rights, the SPLC is considered to be an authority on extremism and hate in America, and they work with the FBI and train law enforcement agencies about extremism. A recent Christian Science Monitor news article noted the “Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual list of extremist groups in the United States is often seen as an authoritative survey of racist and anti-government activity.”

Right-wing organizations who object to their inclusion on SPLC’s list of extremist organizations falsely claim an anti-conservative bias. The SPLC publishes their criterion for being classified as a hate group, and being “conservative” isn’t one of them.

What now Batman?

Hate group or not, any attacks on someone’s sexual orientation, and attempts to abridge us of our civil rights due to bigotry, will be met with our fury. ADF has earned the right to be publicly shamed in Times Square.

When will people accept it’s impermissible to attack a sexual minority? No one chooses to be gay. Our choice is to live an unfulfilling and oppressive life in the closet, or to come out and live out loud.

ADF may find limited success in a courtroom, and I can promise we’ll fight them tooth and nail for as long as they oppose our existence and humanity. Their singular pursuit to deny us our rights under the guise of religious freedom will further alienate them from mainstream thought.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness isn’t preserved for just Christian folks, it’s for all Americans, and that’s a fact I can prove.

Too bad ADF can’t do the same. They’re pretty pathetic. Find out the facts when you visit nogays.org and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Stand up and fight back against Christian terrorists. People's lives depend on it.

© 2011 - 2018 Jive in the [415] All Rights Reserved
straight talk in a queer world. Jive in the [415] Find us on Google+
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Top Row (left to right) Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR)*, Governor-Elect Jared Polis (D-CO), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)*, Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
Middle Top Row (left to right) Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)*, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)*,
Middle Bottom Row (left to right) Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA),* Representative-Elect Sharice Davids (R-KS), Representative-Elect Angie Craig (D-MN), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)*,
Bottom Row (left to right) Representative-Elect Katie Hill (D-CA), Representative-Elect Chris Pappas (D-NH), Associate Justice Lidia Stiglich*, State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (D-CA)

The Rainbow Wave: Midterm Election Results 2018
Colorado elected their first gay governor. The first bisexual woman was elected to the U.S. Senate. A lesbian Native American was elected to Congress for the first time, and California elected their first gay statewide office holder.

History was made in the 2018 midterm elections, with a record number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, candidates running for political office, and a record number of LGBT candidates winning.

The nation’s second transgender state legislator-elect won a seat in the Colorado state legislature, and the third and fourth trans state legislators-elect won seats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Appointed to the court by the Republican governor in 2016, Nevada voters in a statewide election retained the first lesbian justice to sit on their state Supreme Court.

Three states elected their first LGBT member of Congress (Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire), and the 116th United States Congress will have a record number of LGBT members (10). Two LGBT women are U.S. Senators, and nine LGBT representatives will serve in the House. Two of our nation’s governor’s are LGBT, while the first transgender major party nominee for governor lost, and two LGBT candidates for governor won.

There were at least 399 LGBT candidates for offices at every level across the country, and with several races still undecided, at least 161 candidates won. Rainbow wave anyone?

Many pundits say this is the ‘year of the women’ and I don't disagree. The first two Native American women were elected to Congress, along with the first two Muslim American women, while Texas elected their first two Hispanic representatives, the youngest woman in history was elected to the House, and 123 women will serve in the next Congress.

I strongly feel that we need to encourage more women to participate in politics and government, and more people of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, people too. Our government and elected officials DO NOT reflect the demographics of our population. Straight white old men continue to run everything, and that’s a travesty that needs to change.

Our country was founded on the principle of equality, and the Declaration of Independence even says “all men are created equal.” History reflects that we’re not all created equal. We have a ‘modern’ political party that’s committed to voter suppression and disenfranchising minorities. They cheat and get away with it. When you take that into consideration, it makes this year’s midterm election results even more remarkable.

Congressman-Elect Chris Pappas (D-NH)
After the disastrous 2016 election, I was apprehensive about the 2018 midterms. Luckily, MSNBC and CNN projected that Democrats would take over the House well before midnight west coast time, so I didn’t stay up too late watching the inestimable Steve Kornacki announce the results. The pundits wouldn’t characterize the gains as a blue wave on election night, as they didn’t foresee that the net gain would approach 40 seats.

Gay genius Nate Silver said the real story of the midterms was the record-breaking 60 million people who turned out to vote for House Democrats. If Democrats can expand their voter base further, and a sizable number of voters continue to flee the GOP, anything is possible in 2020.

About 60 million people turned out to vote for Democrats for the House this year. That is a **crazy** number. (Republicans got 45m votes in the 2010 wave.)

And this was sort of missed. Why so many stories about Trump voters in truck stops and not so many about "the resistance"?
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 18, 2018

To recap: A record number of Americans participated in the political process this year. A record number of Democrats won. A record number of Democratic women won. A record number of Democratic people of color won. A record number of Democratic LGBT people won

Even though Democrats didn’t win back the Senate, they won the House.

It was a blue wave after all.

High Profile LGBT Midterm Election Winners 2018Governor Governor Kate Brown (D-OR)* Governor-Elect Jared Polis (D-CO) U.S. Senate Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)* Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) U.S. House of RepresentativesRep. David Cicilline (D-RI)* Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)* Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)* Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA)* Representative-Elect Angie Craig (D-MN) Representative-Elect Sharice Davids (D-KS) Representative-Elect Katie Hill (D-CA) Representative-Elect Chris Pappas (D-NH) California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara Nevada Supreme Court Associate Justice Lidia Stiglich* Transgender State Legislators Representative-Elect Brianna Titone - Colorado House (CO-27) Representative-Elect Gerri Cannon - New Hampshire House (Strafford-18) Representative-Elect Lisa Bunker - New Hampshire House (Rockingham-18) *Incumbents
© 2011 - 2018 Jive in the [415] All Rights Reserved
straight talk in a queer world. Jive in the [415] Find us on Google+
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This was my submission to the Election 2016 poetry contest that New York Times  opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof sponsored. I think it's pretty good, though I didn't win.

Feel free to download any of the accompanying artwork. There are several different sizes which are captioned accordingly, and perfect for posting on Instagram or Facebook.

Battle Of The Bottle Blondes

by roy steele

They will not wed, this couple who,
Professed ‘we’re friends,’ he’s red she’s blue,
They want your vote, and compete anew,
For Pennsylvania Avenue.

Rhetoric slogans election dread
Two bottle blondes go head to head
The misanthrope and bully said
Build that wall and vote for red

Historic first long overdue
A Senator First Lady too
Served her country tried and true
Secure our future vote for blue

Each pundit said it’s in the bag
Glass ceiling breaks rejoice and brag
Except the voters were so mad
Elected the grump our nation’s sad

Roses are red and violets are blue,
Trump threatens democracy, can’t act responsibly,
If you’re a supporter, aider and abettor,
You’re a threat too.


This poem is dedicated to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and to every woman running for office, who believes that shattering the glass ceiling of the presidency is a moral imperative.

To download and save any of the graphic designs you see below, right click on the image and save it to your computer or mobile device.

BATTLE OF THE BOTTLE BLONDES by roy steele for Instagram.

BATTLE OF THE BOTTLE BLONDES by roy steele for Tumblr or Pinterest.

BATTLE OF THE BOTTLE BLONDES by roy steele for Facebook.

BATTLE OF THE BOTTLE BLONDES by roy steele for Google+ or the Web.

© 2011 - 2018 Jive in the [415] All Rights Reserved
straight talk in a queer world. Jive in the [415] Find us on Google+
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It’s no secret that a gay man is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the most valuable company by market cap in the world. By any measure, Apple CEO Tim Cook has become “arguably the most effective corporate leader of all time.”

The headline in the August 2, 2018 Wall Street Journal  blared Apple’s Market Cap Hits $1 Trillion. Technology giant hits new milestone that underscores the iPhone maker’s explosive growth.”

Tim Cook should be immensely proud of Apple’s stunning success, because the road to the one trillion dollar market cap hasn’t been easy.

Tim has personally endured the slings and arrows from certain segments of the media and a few  institutional investors for years. One critic claimed Tim was the wrong choice to sit on Apple’s board of directors, prior to his assuming his current role. Another claimed recently that Tim is Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, and destined to fail.

After troubles at the iPhone Foxconn manufacturing plant came to light in 2012, a Forbes opinion writer claimed that Tim Cook was to blame.
While those worker issues do not cost Apple shareholders money or seem to trouble its customers enough for them to stop buying its products, they are a further indictment of the problems with Tim Cook’s management approach.
He should solve them. If not, Apple’s board should find someone who will.

When he was anointed the new Apple Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and successor to Steve Jobs back in 2011, Wired  magazine’s Tim Carmody answered Tim’s critics with a piece that explained why Tim was the RIGHT choice to succeed Jobs.
IT’S NO REAL surprise that Tim Cook has been tapped to serve as Apple’s CEO following Steve Jobs’ resignation to become Chairman. Cook has spent 30 years distinguishing himself in the industry, spending the first half with IBM and Compaq and the second, more than 14 years, as Jobs’ right hand.
Tim Cook credits his success to hard work and his humble roots. When he publicly came out in a 2014 essay written for Bloomberg Businessweek, Tim declared “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” That’s a sentiment that many of us share with Tim.
Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.
Tim Cook isn’t just Apple’s CEO, he’s a social justice advocate, an LGBT activist, and an environmentalist. His life and life experience influences the decisions he makes, and has an impact on the corporate social responsibility and values that Apple continues to embrace.

In April 2018, Apple announced its global facilities are powered with 100 percent clean energy. After the release of Apple’s diversity report in November 2017, TechCrunch reported that Apple has a larger percentage of black and Hispanic employees, than any other technology company.
From July 2016 to July 2017, Apple says half of its new hires in the U.S. were from historically underrepresented groups in tech (women, black, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian & Other Pacific Islander). Apple’s new hires also reflect more diversity than its current employees. For example, 11 percent of Apple’s new hires were black compared to its current black employee population of nine percent.
We all travel different roads in our coming out process, and we learn that being gay bi or trans isn’t a ‘lifestyle choice’. We know It isn’t always easy to be out and self-identify as LGBT.
What makes Tim’s success special is that everyone in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBT) community can stand a little taller and celebrate in Tim’s success.
“As I look at the world, many of the problems of the world come down to the lack of equality,” Cook said. 
“It’s the fact that the kid that’s born in one zip code who doesn’t have a good education because they happen to be born in that zip code. It’s someone that is maybe in the LGBT community that is fired because of that. It’s someone that has a different religion than the majority and therefore they’re ostracized in some way.” 
“It became clear to me that there were lots of kids out there that were not being treated well, including in their own families, and that kids need someone to say, ‘Oh, they did okay in life, and they’re gay so it must not be a life sentence in some kind of way,’” Cook said. 
For Cook, surrendering his privacy was worth it, since it meant giving lots of people a role model to look up to.
Tim is a great  CEO, an effective social justice warrior, and a GREAT gay role model for LGBT kids and adults alike.

He’s arguably the best CEO of all time.

Straight talk indeed.

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The Gay LGBTQ rainbow flag flying high above Castro St. in San Francisco, California 

If all gay or LGBTQ people are sexually immoral and consigned to eternal hell, I’m confident I can make the case that hell is the best place to be.
By Roy Steele

WARNING! There are evil people working overtime to oppose LGBTQ rights.
I have to begin this news story by issuing a WARNING. We have to do better, myself included, and pay attention to the subversive right-wing extremists working to legalize discrimination and strip gay people of their dignity and basic human rights.

There’s a small but loud minority in the United States that dominates the political and religious debate about the humanity of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people. Their actions and anti-gay bias are a reflection of their animus and fears.

The irreligious Christians slander the LGBTQ community, criticize and misrepresent our secular government and Constitution, and openly question the rights of anyone who doesn’t look like them, or worships a different God. They believe their Christian faith is superior to all the others, which has given rise to Christian supremacy. They believe their right to criticize and demean others, which they falsely claim is a matter of religious liberty and freedom, supersede the rights of others granted in the Constitution.

Mainstream media coverage gives these people and their phony “pro-family” organizations a patina of legitimacy which grants them outsized political power.  We have to demand that journalists and the media organizations they work for, stop this blatant malpractice.

Gay rights aren’t and never should be a political issue to be debated between the left and right. It’s a moral issue of what’s right and what’s wrong.

This is the latest story in a long line of similarly horrifying tales over many decades in history.

Dateline: Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana. Auburn, Indiana to be exact.

Auburn, Indiana -- If you’re gay like me, or know someone who identifies as LGBTQ, I have a story I want to share that I find is both sad and maddening. It begins in Auburn, Indiana. Auburn is a small town of approximately thirteen thousand people. Like many towns in the heartland, 97% of the population is white, and 3 % are Latino and African-American. The demographics of this town has no bearing on the story. This is about gay people and religion.

Auburn is 23 miles north of Fort Wayne, and nearly 150 miles north of Indianapolis.

Auburn was once a major manufacturing hub,  producing cars and products made of rubber. That was a long time ago.

Auburn is in the news today because Remnant Fellowship Church Elder Robert Sturges is bursting with love. He wants everyone to know-- whether you’re gay or straight -- he loves and cares about you so much, he’s compelled to issue a warning. He says the Bible clearly states that homosexuality, transvestites, lesbianism, and sexual immorality, is NOT okay with his God. His church put a hateful anti-LGBTQ message on a sign in public, and they were evicted and  lost their lease.

Elder Sturges is a God fearing man, and he wants “homosexuals, lesbians, transvestites” and people who practice “sexual immorality” to know they’re headed straight to eternal hell. He says we still have time to repent and change in order to be compliant with the rules his church has to be welcomed into the kingdom of God and heaven.
They’re being told in our culture that homosexuality, transvestites, lesbianism and sexual immorality is okay. But the Bible clearly says that those who practice these things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. In fact, it warns them that the wrath of God will abide upon them. And in the judgment, they will be lost and they will be sent to hell forever. We believe that. That’s our faith.

The Remnant Fellowship Church sign in Auburn, Indiana "LGBTQ IS A HATE CRIME AGAINST GOD. REPENT." 

What does the Bible say about homosexuals, lesbians, and transvestites. Nothing.
I’ve read and studied the Bible several times. I never saw the word homosexual, transvestite, or lesbian, printed in the text once. Like gay marriage, there is no Biblical view of LGBTQ people, except for the one Elder Sturges and countless others make up, to scare other God fearing people.
We know that equating ‘sex’ or ‘sexual intercourse’ with ‘sexual orientation’ is idiotic and wrong, while Christians and politicians do that all the time to suit their false equivalencies, their lies, and false narratives. They should stop doing that because it’s dishonest and a sin.

The Remnant Fellowship Church in Auburn, Indiana was evicted from their building after they erected an anti-LGBTQ sign in front of their church that claimed “LGBTQ IS A HATE CRIME AGAINST GOD. REPENT”

Are LGBTQ people a hate crime against God? Nope.
LGBTQ people are NOT a hate crime against GOD. Why would he keep creating us if we were sinners going to hell? He wouldn’t. Remember that Judge Judy says “If it doesn’t make sense it doesn’t make sense.”

The mainstream media should stop giving publicity and legitimacy to people who have been brainwashed into believing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people, are going to hell. It’s NOT true and any theologian will tell you that. A careful reading of Scripture reveals that. And these brainwashed heretics aren’t interested in knowing or telling the truth.

I played a game in my head and pretended that some of these purveyors of hate were correct, and considered for a moment that some of us are going to burn in the pits of hell because of who we love. When I played this game I had an AHA moment and thought, if Elder Sturges is right, and gay people are destined for hell, then I can’t wait to get there!

Imagine the people you’d meet in hell, if all dead LGBTQ people were there.
I know that these blasphemous idiots are wrong about LGBTQ people and hell, and I decided to pretend that I accept their false premise.

If these con men and women were right, imagine the breadth of intelligent and dynamic LGBT people from history, sentenced to hell forever. They should face the fact that if they were right, hell would be the most fabulous place ever.

I decided to send Remnant Fellowship Church a message via Twitter.
If I’m going to HELL because I’m gay, I can’t wait! Imagine how fabulous HELL will be. I’ll meet Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, Alan Turing, Halston, Rock Hudson, Warhol, and some of the most brilliantly creative minds and geniuses the world has ever known. HELL will be filled with laughter, creativity, and lots of GREAT SEX. That’s bloody BRILLIANT!

. @RemnantChurches @RFChurch I'm going to HELL for being gay & imagine how fabulous it will be! The most brilliant creative minds & geniuses the world has ever known will be there. HELL is filled with laughter, creativity, and GREAT SEX. #gay #LGBT #religion #Pride2018 #LoveWins pic.twitter.com/V6aQJgfREE
— Roy Steele (@thespiansfo) July 8, 2018

The groundbreaking contributions made by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, to civilization and society throughout our human history, is enormous and unparalleled.

Who wouldn’t be excited about meeting Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest artists of all time. There’s the sculptor, painter and architect Michelangelo, and Alan Turing OBE, the mathematician and code-breaker who played a major role in defeating Germany during World War II. Eleanor Roosevelt was a first lady way ahead of her time, and the iconic fashion designers Perry Ellis and Halston, are there too commiserating with Broadway’s Michael Bennett, and the artist Andy Warhol. Hollywood’s  Rock Hudson, Tony Perkins, and Roddy McDowall, are gossiping with Elizabeth Taylor*, having a million laughs. Campy comedians Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Kenneth Williams, are keeping everyone in stitches. And San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk is still asking people to come out of the closet in hell, just ask former president John F. Kennedy* about that.

Preach the truth and expose their lies.
This bears repeating. IF I BELIEVED IN THEIR MISINTERPRETATIONS OF THE BIBLE, and THEIR DESCRIPTION OF HELL, I’d rush there tomorrow. In the meantime, I don’t believe their propaganda and will carry on as always (and keep pissing them off). I will continue to preach the truth.

The empathy, the intelligence, the brains, the creativity, the warmth, the hearts, the love, the laughter, the understanding, the dignity, and humanity, that lives in the hearts, minds, and souls, of the LGBTQ community, is so powerful and great, that these powerful organizations continue to be  threatened by our very being. Our existence on this earth frightens them.

The contributions, the character, and the moral fiber of LGBT people in our history books that are allegedly “forever in hell” is indisputable. Nothing that any religious leader or politician says about them can diminish their existence, their accomplishments, or their place in history.

These small minded people can keep bullying us. They can use their limited vocabulary to call us every anti-gay name and slur they know. They can rely on their limited knowledge about Scripture to scare the public and misrepresent their faith. No matter what they do, the impact will be imperceptible. We will not be their prey.

They’ve already lost the culture war.
I don’t think they all got the memo, but they LOST the culture war a long time ago.

Their campaign to paint us as deviant perverts LOST. Their campaign to bar us from teaching LOST. Their campaign to deny us our civil rights and marriage equality LOST. Their campaign to ban us from textbooks LOST.

They are currently devoted to spreading propaganda related to bathroom bills and adoption, and while they have a few wins in those battles, we know they will lose those wars too.

Who is really going to hell? I know that LGBTQ people aren’t going to hell, and I know that I’m not either.

I wonder if they can say that about themselves. God has harsh words and penalties for unrepentant liars and false prophets.

Should LGBTQ  people warn them? Nah. Just like us they might figure it out on their own.

Straight talk indeed.

*Please Note: Elder Robert Sturges warned homosexuals, transvestites, lesbians, and sexually immoral people about going to hell forever. I presumed that former president John F. Kennedy, and the actor Elizabeth Taylor, would be classified as 'sexually immoral' under their misinterpretation of Scripture. You can disagree in the comments section.

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The month of June is typically associated with GAY PRIDE and this year is no different. HAPPY PRIDE 2018!

Whether your city or town celebrates GAY LGBT PRIDE in June or another time of year, we all know it’s important for us to participate and support the gay community. GAY LGBT PRIDE isn’t just for lesbian gay bisexual transgender and queer people, it’s for our families, neighbors, friends, supporters and allies too! GAY PRIDE is a big party to celebrate you, celebrate me and our friends, celebrate our community, city or town, to embrace and have pride in who we are, and everyone is welcome.

LGBT PRIDE continues to be important because Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are doing everything in their power to turn back the clock on gay rights, and reverse the gains we made during Barack Obama’s presidency. For the second year running the current occupant of the Oval Office, who told the nation he’d be the BEST president for gay people, has refused to acknowledge LGBT PRIDE MONTH again.

While marriage equality is the law of the land, opponents of marriage equality and GAY RIGHTS are still out there spreading lies and propaganda, hoping to find an audience, and maybe a few court judges, sympathetic to their cause. The usual suspects continue to denigrate and slander the LGBT community, and the pathetic ANTI GAY propaganda machine is in overdrive.

Since it's the beginning of GAY PRIDE season and homophobia continues to rear it's ugly head, it's a good time to answer an age old question. Is being gay or LGBT a sin? In a word NO. Being gay or LGBT is NOT a sin, and we are going to answer that question in-depth for you.

Are Gay People Sinful? Sexual Orientation Does Not Define Sin.
CrossFit’s Chief Knowledge Officer Russell Berger wrote he “personally believes celebrating ‘pride’ is a sin” in a tweet that praised a CrossFit franchise for cancelling a GAY PRIDE workout. This “knowledge officer” also wrote “the intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing.”

I’m not familiar with “alternative views toward LGBTQ ideology” but I’ll hazard a guess. He thinks a PRIDE celebration is sinful, and believes that gay people are sinful. If you carry his thoughts to their logical conclusion, his views represent what he was taught by his pastor, church, and religion.

After Russell Berger expressed himself on Twitter, he was fired and lost his job. In addition, the CrossFit Infiltrate franchise, located in downtown Indianapolis, was permanently shut down after the homophobic owners cancelled a GAY PRIDE workout, and the trainers resigned in protest.

CrossFit franchises are located nationwide, and a disproportionate number of their members are lesbian gay bisexual and transgender. Russell Berger could have kept his mouth shut and he’d still have a job. He chose to define the people who pay his salary as sinners instead.

The CrossFit CEO’s response to this kerfuffle was “I am crazy proud of the gay community in CrossFit.”

“I am crazy proud of the gay community in CrossFit.”

— CrossFit (@CrossFit) June 6, 2018

*Please Note: I wrote David French an open letter to refute and challenge his Op Ed (pictured above), and you can find the full text of the letter below. I wrote additional commentary for this blog post, which reflect thoughts I didn’t include in the letter. 

Are You A Bigot If You Believe Being Gay Is A Sin? Yes You Are.
The conservative National Review published an Op Ed about Russell Berger and CrossFit by David French entitled “It’s Not Bigotry To Believe Homosexuality Is A Sin.”

French concurs with Berger that PRIDE is sinful, and the writer characterizes pride as a celebration of sexual immorality.
Another Christian has lost his livelihood for good-faith wrongspeak. This time it was for articulating extremely basic Christian truth that it’s sinful to celebrate sexual immorality.
So, for those keeping score, that’s a job lost and a gym closed because it’s just intolerable that a Christian either publicly express his moral point of view or that other Christians refuse to host events they find objectionable.
French falsely claims it’s common knowledge among Christians and within Christianity, that gay people are sinners and GAY PRIDE celebrates sexual immorality.

The Episcopal Church is the Christian faith that I was raised in, and they didn’t teach me to denigrate or demean anyone. They didn’t reinterpret text or change the meaning of certain passages in Scripture to support their political point of view. In fact, we were taught that racism, sexism, and homophobia wasn’t a political issue for the right or left to debate, but they’re a moral issue of what’s right or wrong. 

The Catholic Church, Southern Baptist Convention, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, place their political agenda at the top of their ecclesiastical priorities. They’re also notorious for altering Biblical text and ancient meanings to support their political objectives.
In reading comments and commentary about this latest turn in the culture wars, I’m struck by the extent to which Berger’s views are cast as pure, indefensible bigotry — and that it’s entirely acceptable to not just label his Christian beliefs false but also to believe that they’re actually malicious.
We live during a time when climate change, global warming, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and extreme weather events, are destroying communities and homes around the world. Scientists agree this is a man-made problem and Trump pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accord, and Washington does nothing to address it. Why? Because some members of Congress don’t believe in science because of their religion and Biblical views.

The notion that gay people are sinful is not supported by Scripture. In fact, theologians know that Christ hung out with hookers, the homeless, the hungry and downtrodden, and GAY people!
Some Christian churches wrongly teach that God should be feared, women should be seen and not heard, and gay people are sinful and immoral. They brainwashed people who were taught not to question the veracity of anything related to their religion. [The emphasis below is my own]
But isn’t that a bigoted view? What qualifies an external critic to define the veracity of a man’s faith or the purity of the thoughts in his heart? There seems to be a mistaken belief by some that sexual orientation is absolutely core to a person’s identity whereas religion is something else entirely — so superficial that any given person is one Vox explainer or Bill Maher monologue away from enlightenment. Yet only a few millennia of human history demonstrates that religion is so core to human identity that countless people have been willing to burn rather than recant their deepest beliefs.
I don’t define the veracity of anyone’s faith or judge the purity of thoughts in anyone’s heart.

I agree that our sexual orientation doesn’t define who we are. I loudly disagree with his notion that religious beliefs are more integral to our identity than sexual orientation. In fact, I think that’s ludicrous and either way it isn’t central to the question here.
Moreover, isn’t it also bigoted to believe that a person is incapable of expressing disagreement with a person while also treating them with dignity and respect? Time and again, we’ll see stories of Christians cast aside for expressing orthodox Christian beliefs about marriage and the family — in books, speeches, tweets and in political donations — using the justification that this view somehow means that they can’t be trusted to treat colleagues fairly in the workplace. Yet time and again these individuals have long and established track records free of any claims of discrimination or mistreatment. Their actual record is irrelevant compared to hypothetical fears.
Some Christians are bigots. They actually do hate others and harbor malice in their hearts. But actual Christian orthodoxy — including orthodox Christian sexual morality — is anything but hateful. It expresses the beauty and intent of creation, it honors both the marriage vow and the single life, and it creates a framework for having and raising children in loving, stable homes. It recognizes that each and every person must put a restraint on their desires, orienting their lives towards the true “chief end” of man — glorifying God and enjoying him forever.
Moreover, the vast majority of Christians fully understand that they live in the world, but are not of the world. We will spend their entire lives living and working with people who don’t share their faith. Our obligation is clear: “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.”
All across America LGBT Americans live and work alongside Christians who disagree with their actions and beliefs and also treat them with dignity and respect. It’s not hard to do when you love people and seek to imitate Christ. Should these Christians be muzzled while contrary views be given free rein? Or can we actually be tolerant and realize that disagreement is not mistreatment, and love is not hate? If Russell Berger mistreated any person on the job, then he should be fired. If he merely advocated and celebrated the tenets of a faith that seeks to honor and glorify God, then disagree with him all you like, but leave his livelihood alone.
David French says that Christians should be able to express their religious views publicly, even if they demean and denigrate us. Even if their employer or co-workers are offended and disagree. We can't regulate speech so I say let them have at it. There might be negative consequences - like losing one's job.

Christians can argue and insist gay people are sinful for the next hundred years. What are the repercussions of their slander? Religions and religious teaching is slow to adapt and change, and they catch up to public opinion eventually. It took over a century for some religions to disavow their racist past and reconcile the abolition of slavery with the text found in Scripture.

I find it fascinating that slave owners and racists used arguments about their faith and religion, along with Scripture, to justify slavery, racism, and segregation. Today, anti-gay Christians employ the same arguments and knowingly leave themselves open to criticism.

I don't dispute what the Bible says about homosexuality, I contest the interpretation of what those clobber passages mean. I object to the common Christian practice of cherry picking the passages in Scripture that they like, and disavowing the text they dislike, in order to comply with their inhumane political views. Most importantly, I know that hate and bigotry in any form is both irreligious and antithetical to Christianity.

Is GAY PRIDE and homosexuality sinful? Absolutely not.

Straight talk indeed.

An Open Letter to @DavidAFrench in response to his @NRO OpEd "It’s Not Bigotry to Believe Homosexuality Is a Sin" Slave owners and racists cited Scripture & their religious beliefs to justify bigotry too. That's an OUTRAGE. #Pride #gay #LGBT #gayrights https://t.co/479ZdwqTO1 pic.twitter.com/IyaLz0BjSd
— Roy Steele (@thespiansfo) June 11, 2018

* Please Note: It is within that context that I wrote to David French about his religious Op Ed last weekend. My tweet to French with the letter attached is above. The text of the letter and a PDF of that letter can be found below. 

Dear Mr. French: 
Let’s cue the violins and manipulate public sentiment to engender sympathy for a corporate spokesman who is not as smart as you think. He falsely claimed that a community celebration for LGBT Pride was sinful, knowing that a large and disproportionate number of CrossFit’s customer base is LGBT. Declaring that LGBT Pride is a sin is beyond stupid, and this employee forced management’s hand. They had no choice but to fire this idiot - regardless of how one feels about homosexuality. 
There are good people on both sides of the marriage equality debate who disagree about gay marriage. I don’t characterize all opponents of same-sex marriage as bigots unless they characterize the LGBT community as sinners destined for hell. People who oppose LGBT rights and cite Scripture to justify their position are irreligious and wholly motivated by bigotry.  
When evangelical Christians and conservative extremists oppose anti-discrimination legislation, gay marriage, and any law that offers legal protection to a vulnerable minority that continues to experience discrimination in employment, housing, and public accomodation, we have no choice but to characterize that opposition as bigory. Again, bigotry fuels their animus. 
Scripture says we are created by God in his image. Would God create people whose very existence was a sin? Nope. Do Christians who falsely claim homosexuality is a sin get it wrong? Yes. Why does God keep creating gay people? What motivates those who seek to marginalize and bully the LGBT community? 
Homosexuality is NOT a sin, and those who believe it is a sin, have been brainwashed. Opponents of gay rights are no different than the racists and slave owners who opposed the abolition of slavery. Slave owners and racists cited their religious beliefs to justify bigotry too. 
Religious folks keep using language that slanders and diminishes the humanity of gay people. Let’s examine the real world consequences of making false and inflammatory statements about gay people in the name of God. 
What happens when politicians and religious leaders dehumanize the LGBT community? There’s a huge increase in hate crimes directed at LGBT people. Record numbers of LGBT kids are bullied and take their own lives. Record numbers of LGBT youth are rejected by their religious parents and they’re homeless. Trans people are physically assaulted and murdered in record numbers. Record numbers of LGBT people turn to alcohol and drugs, while these “leaders” keep up their attacks. The false prophets who actively oppose gay rights have the blood of LGBT people on their hands. 
I am gobsmacked, shocked, disappointed, and outraged, whenever anyone suggests that gay people are immoral or perverts, undeserving of gay civil rights. Every American is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, including members of the LGBT community. 
Homosexuality is NOT a sin. Sexual orientation is immutable and beautiful and we should celebrate and embrace our differences, instead of using being different to scare and divide us. Sexual orientation and gender identity have nothing to do with sexual immorality, and you know that Mr. French. Don’t conflate the two.
You say that sexual orientation doesn’t define us, and I largely agree with you. The notion that our religious beliefs are more integral to our identity than sexual orientation is ludicrous. You can’t cite any facts or evidence to support your specious claim, and going way back in history to 1693 for evidence that people have been willing to burn at the stake for their religious beliefs is beyond laughable.   
Christians largely reject the bigotry inherent in racism, slavery, and Scripture, despite the Bible’s unequivocal support and advocacy for slavery. Religious teaching rejects the Biblical view. When will they reject the clobber passages about homosexuality? When will they stop demonizing and marginalizing gay people and women, to reflect the majority view of society and our culture today? 
There are powerful institutions, businesses, and individuals, who profit from the myths and junk science perpetrated in Scripture. Anti-gay hate groups are a big business, and the old white straight men who control the religious organizations and anti-gay hate groups, are compensated generously to continue their propaganda campaigns to subjugate women and sew the seeds of anti-gay hate. 
If we continue the status quo, and they continue to conflate sexual orientation and gender identity with sexual immorality, their organizations will be imperiled. When they falsely claim that homosexuality is a sin, we will continue to see the record numbers of people fleeing organized religion. The #EmptyThePews movement will grow, and the role of religion in American life will be rightly diminished. 
Homosexuality is not immoral or sinful, and to suggest otherwise is surely a sin. Christians need to go back to Sunday school to study the two greatest commandments. Christianity is based on love, and there’s no love and lots of bigotry in the statement “homosexuality is a sin.” 
I would be happy to continue this conversation with you at any time. 
Roy Steele

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BOOK REVIEW: Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House By Michael Wolff
When you open the dust jacket to Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, the controversial best-selling book about the reality-television star turned president and his first year in office, you will see the claim “With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time.”

I take issue with that claim because anyone paying rapt attention to the news every day, is quite familiar with most of the salacious stories that Wolff writes about, in three hundred twelve pages of text. He introduces the reader to a few staff members that we haven’t heard much about before, though by and large we’ve been seeing and reading about the protagonists in Fire and Fury for years.

We know that Donald Trump schedules “Executive Time” on a daily basis, in order to watch television (Fox Snooze) morning noon and night. Perhaps we didn’t know that he puts his pajamas on and eats fried chicken and hamburgers in bed, while watching his TV news network of choice. Somehow I could have done without that visual.

We already knew that Trump the grump NEVER expected to win the 2016 election, and therefore was the most unprepared candidate to be elected to the highest office in the land.

When Trump voters have been asked why they voted for “The Apprentice” star, they often state unequivocally that Trump was so successful in business, that they were certain he would replicate that success in the oval office.

One of the most surprising facts revealed in this book was the fact that Trump doesn’t know how to READ A BALANCE SHEET! A balance sheet is “a statement of the assets, liabilities, and capital of a business or other organization at a particular point in time, detailing the balance of income and expenditure over the preceding period.” Helloooo! You can’t be successful in business if you can’t read a balance sheet. One learns about how to read a balance sheet in Accounting 101, so is it any wonder that Trump drove six companies into bankruptcy?  Trump’s business success is largely a myth, and the American people were duped.

What I found to be most interesting was the constant power struggles and internecine wars taking place in the White House. On one side was the incendiary Steve ‘Deep State’ Bannon, who was obsessed with belittling and discrediting ‘Jarvanka’ (Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump).

I can’t vouch for Bannon’s intelligence of lack thereof. It’s patently obvious that he’s anti-establishment and loves to blow things up (including our government), and he’s the primary source of information for most of the stories and anecdotes in this book. What I can’t figure out is why he thought he could have prevailed doing battle with Donald Trump’s immediate family. That’s not very smart.

Bannon was Trump’s chief political strategist, and was supposed to be the ‘Karl Rove’ or 'David Axelrod' in the Trump White House. Yet Wolff claims that the chief strategist failed to develop any friends or personal relationships with any other members of the White House staff. Maybe that’s why the chief strategist was fired after eight months.

Wolff claimed that Bannon was fearful about the ongoing investigations in Congress, and acutely aware of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. He was determined to steer clear of anything having to do with Russia, and avoided interacting with any White House personnel who might be called as a potential witness, except for Donald Trump himself.

Was Bannon merely paranoid or was he overly cautious? Not speaking to anyone and having zero allies is a surefire way to alienate yourself from co-workers and colleagues, as well as the media and the public. Politics is about personal relationships, and Bannon didn’t have any.
If you didn’t want to find yourself getting wrung out in front of Congress, your career and your net worth in jeopardy, be careful who you spoke to. More to the point: you must not under any circumstances speak to Jared and Ivanka, who were now Russia toxic. It was Bannon’s widely advertised virtue and advantage: “I’ve never been to Russia. I don’t know anybody from Russia. I’ve never spoken to any Russians. And I’d just as well not speak to anyone who has.”
Bannon can talk a good game, though his mission to inoculate himself from the various investigations didn’t go very well. Consider that he was subpoenaed to testify before Congress after refusing to do so, and was compelled to sit for twenty hours of interviews with the special counsel’s investigators.

What’s clear is that Bannon caused more drama and political problems for the country, the president and the first family, than Trump did himself. The only lasting policy prescription that he had a hand in was withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.

Michael Wolff observed that Donald Trump “seemed to lack the most basic understanding that a president’s words and actions would, necessarily, be magnified to the nth power. In some convenient sense, he failed to understand this because he wanted the attention, no matter how much it disappointed him.” DUH.

Fire and Fury is filled with insights that we’ve seen and heard already, and while many of the anecdotes and gossip might be new to some readers, the book covers very little new ground. This isn’t a literary masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but I like to read about politics and enjoyed it because it was an easy read.

If you’re a political junky, buy the book. If you’re not obsessed with politics, you can get much of the same information and more by subscribing to and  reading the excellent reporting in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Most Americans are furious with Trump, and would like to fire him immediately. That’s where the real Fire and Fury is, not in the pages of Michael Wolff’s book.

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  • Misrepresented that she caught a gay icon and Hollywood superstar in a lie.
  • Used vicious innuendo to attack a gay-themed Oscar nominated film and gay men.
  • Falsely asserted that Americans have no interest in independent films.
  • Called Pixar director a phony for saying “marginalized people need to feel like they belong."

  • Donald Trump and Fox News are perfect together. They’re both fact-free zones.  While the current occupant of the White House loves to remind his audiences that he’s new to politics, he ironically claims to know more about politics than anyone else. He once famously remarked “Trust me, I’m, like, a smart person.” I neither trust him or think he's a smart person.

    Every time Donald Trump has a video camera or microphone in his line of site,  he finds a way to slam and criticize the press. If he doesn’t like a story-line, or he’s portrayed in a less than flattering light, Trump whines about ‘FAKE NEWS’, and charges the mainstream media as biased supporters of Hillary Clinton for president.

    Most Americans, including some of Trump’s most ardent supporters, are tired of his claim that the press is victimizing him. Trump is victimizing himself, and the former reality television star lacks any self-awareness, and doesn’t recognize the role he plays in the negative press reports that we see and hear on a daily basis.

    A key partner in Trump’s “FAKE NEWS” narrative is the FOX ‘SNOOZE’ NEWS Channel. With no requirement to be neutral or fact-based, this media organization is the perfect partner for a prevaricator like Trump.

    Fox uses Trump to bring in viewers and to push or promote their conservative political and business aims. Trump uses them to make policy pronouncements and cite alternative facts to support his wayward political views. Fox never questions or fact-checks Trump, and he LOVES that. He can call into a show, knowing that he will go unchallenged, which frees him to deliver his error-filled fact-free statements at will.

    Since Fox prime-time hosts don’t fact check their stories, they lack even the most basic journalistic standards. They make inflammatory and hyperbolic statements that appeal to a viewer’s emotions with no basis in facts. The hosts aren't journalists, they're partisan entertainers who are acting and playing journalists on TV.

    I recently caught part of a Fox Snooze show, and was appalled. I decided to fact check and validate the claims made by the show and the host.

    The American resistance media are lunatics.
    On Monday March 5th, 2018, the day after the Oscars, Fox Snooze entertainer Laura Ingraham slammed the liberal media and Hollywood elites who gathered in Los Angeles for the 90th Anniversary Oscar presentation.

    The incendiary Ingraham Angle segment was entitled “The humorless, out-of-touch American left” which charged “America’s resistance media” as left-wing lunatics who have lost all touch with reality.

    The segment started with Ingraham playing audio of Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago remarks that Chinese President Xi Jinping is now ‘President for life,’ and his joke that “maybe we’ll give that a shot some day.”
    TRUMP: He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.

    Ingraham claimed that “liberal critics were apoplectic” over those comments, and she was right. She neglected to inform viewers that there were people on both sides of the aisle who were highly critical of both President Trump, and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s decision to eliminate term limits.
    INGRAHAM: It’s obvious to everyone (this was a joke), except America’s resistance media, which has all but lost touch with reality. When Trump makes a joke he is endearing himself to the public. 
    Celebrities and sports figures shoot their mouths off about politics and public affairs all the time, and we’re supposed to respond like Plato himself has returned and opined on the contemporary issues of the day. 
    Everyone has the right to speak his or her mind. But you don’t get a free pass to offer illogical arguments and avoiding substance to just engage in drive-by media attacks. And you don’t get to do so with impunity. If you do that you shouldn’t be taken seriously. 
    I regularly call out the elites who think their celebrity in one arena gives them the right to speak in another arena with heightened authority about all these complex issues of the day.

    Pot calling the kettle black.
    Ingraham calls out people she considers to be the ‘elites.’ An ‘elite’ entertainer criticising a fellow member of the ‘elite.’ I wonder how that’s going.  Again, this selective argument fails to cite facts and is meant to fan the flames of discord and resentment, and that’s not productive at all.

    Using generalizations and hyperbole to attack everyone and anyone who doesn’t completely share one’s views in itself is a drive-by media attack.

    We live in an open society where our speech is protected. Since we’re all invested in our country, and in our future, we can weigh in on politics and public affairs whenever we choose. We ALL want to be heard and we want a government that is responsive to the needs of the people. That’s not a right-wing or left-wing view, that’s an American view. Why do right-wingers get so sanctimonious about criticism.

    Ingraham isn’t stupid, and while I largely disagree with her political views, I do respect her. What I take issue with is hypocrisy, hyperbole, lies, alternative facts, and knowingly omitting part of a story to support a point of view.

    A pathetic misguided and fact-free attack on a gay icon. 
    INGRAHAM: I caught Barbra Streisand in a lie. She said the 2016 election was rigged. Streisand said “I’ve talked to Senators from Michigan and Wisconsin. I do believe, like I believed during Bush, they were playing with those voting machines.”
    No one bothered to call up the four senators from those two states, but our producers did. The four Senators said they didn’t speak to Barbra Streisand., and nothing was said about election fraud. Oops!
    Fox Snooze has a reputation for leaving facts out of a story, and her attack on Barbra Streisand was ignorant and completely contrived.

    Oops? Really? The last time I checked the state of Wisconsin had two Senators serving the people in Washington, and thirty-three state Senators serving the people in Madison, Wisconsin. Michigan has two Senators in Washington, and thirty-eight state Senators in Lansing, Michigan. Did her producers really call every Senator? NOPE.

    When Ingraham’s producers call the seventy-one state Senator’s in Wisconsin and Michigan’s state legislatures, and they all say they didn’t speak to Streisand, she can call her a liar then. Instead, lazy Ingraham has no credibility because she relied on fake news to strike back at a legendary entertainer and icon.

    A gay love story is repellent to Americans. Or to the old straight white men watching Fox Snooze?
    Ingraham dissed the gay community in her rant, and she used insults, innuendo, and a wink to denigrate LGBT people. I found her statements to be both vicious and repellent.
    INGRAHAM: There were several Oscar moments that were repellent to the American public. Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel mentioned a film nominated for Best Picture. ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is about a 24 year old man who has intimate relations with a 17 year old boy.
    Did you catch that? “A 24 year old man has intimate relations with a 17 year old boy.” She said that’s repellent to the old white straight men who watch Fox. Plus, that’s what she thinks is the crux of the film, and she wants viewers to be disgusted by making a visceral description about a boy having sex with a man. If I didn’t see the film or know any better, I’d be disgusted too, but the film worked. This movie is set in Italy where the age of consent is fifteen years old. That’s a fact lost on Fox.  (Please note that I’m not endorsing or condoning adults having sex with minors, as I find that to be reprehensible.)

    She obviously didn’t see Call Me By Your Name, but she did want to rile people up. That’s a vicious form of bigotry, which she knows is wrong and offensive,  but she goes there anyway.

    Video Clip of Oscar Host Jimmy Kimmel:
    KIMMEL: You don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.
    Quite frankly I love that joke! I laughed out loud despite being ‘humorless’.

    No one watches indy arthouse films anymore.
    INGRAHAM: Actually, you might not thrill the American people, who saw few of the arthouse films celebrated at the tedious tinseltown love-fest last night. Let’s face it - these people are fanatics so they don’t care.
    Five 'arthouse' films, Call Me By Your Name, The Florida Project, Get Out, Lady Bird, and The Rider, were nominated for Best Feature film at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Contrary to what Ingraham said, these indy films earned nearly $400 million dollars at the box office. Three other hit independent films, Beatriz at Dinner, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, and The Big Sick, generated an additional $200 million dollars in box office business.

    According to Ingraham no one saw these movies, and I’m left wondering where the six hundred million dollars came from. Ingraham is WRONG again, and failed to do her homework.

    Identity politics - right-wing extremists love to divide Americans.
    Video Clip of Coco director Lee Unkrich:
    UNKRICH: Marginalized people need to feel like they belong. Representation matters. 
    INGRAHAM: Who are more marginalized in Hollywood than conservatives? Or Christian conservatives? Those people are complete phonies.
    Ingraham’s producers selectively edited the Coco creative team’s Oscar acceptance speech that representation matters. They did that to support their right-wing “Hollywood is full of liberal crazies” narrative, who pick on poor right-wing conservatives.

    Coco’s Director Lee Unkrich made a touching speech that personified acceptance and inclusion. His speech wasn’t left-wing or right-wing, it was American and reflects our values. It was about embracing our diversity and doing what is right, as opposed to rejecting racial, religious, or sexual minorities and stereotypes, which is wrong. Read Lee’s speech. It’s real and from the heart, and is devoid of politics.
    UNKRICH: With ‘Coco,’ we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.

    Trump is disgraceful nasty and mean to women, people of color, members of Congress, and the press every day.
    This is where Ingraham goes completely off the rails. Trump can say and do whatever he wants, but if you criticize him, you’re a crazy left-wing lunatic.
    INGRAHAM: If you wanna know why these celebrities are so nasty to the president and so upset when he or any conservative [she points to herself] dares to crack a joke - well I have an answer. For all their vitriol and all their bile directed at conservatives and the president --- you know what he keeps doing -- putting it in a language that everyone can understand here --- and puts points on the board for America and the American worker --- and our audience is growing while Oscar’s audience is tanking --- Now that’s what I call funny and that’s the Angle.
    Donald Trump is putting points on the board for America and the American worker? Now that I’d love to see. Steel and aluminum tariff’s will likely result in a loss of manufacturing jobs and could jump start inflation. Eighty-two percent of the benefits in the big ‘tax cut’ the GOP brags about goes to millionaires and billionaires, NOT American workers. The paltry middle-class tax cut isn’t permanent and has an expiration date, while the billionaire tax cut never expires.

    Buyers beware! Fox Snooze uses propaganda to support and sell Donald Trump to the people, and their “product” could be subjected to a recall at any time.

    If you watch Fox News, remember that it's an entertainment network and NOT a news network. That's fitting for a network that fawns over the reality television star and accidental president.

    Facts matter. They don't matter to Fox Snooze, but they matter to you and me.

    Straight talk indeed.

    © 2011 - 2018 Jive in the [415] All Rights Reserved
    straight talk in a queer world. Jive in the [415] Find us on Google+
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