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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
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
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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 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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  • 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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    How’d he win, How’d he win, How’d he win
    lyrics by Roy Steele

    Sung to the tune from the Holiday Classic
    Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow
    Original Music by: Jule Styne

    The commander-in-chief is spiteful,
    The dyed blonde wig looks frightful,
    The Russians helped get him in,
    How’d he win, How’d he win, How’d he win.

    O’ he talks about records breaking,
    He’s new to decision making,
    No substance to all his spin,
    How’d he win, How’d he win, How’d he win.

    His workers are lily white,
    He detests all accountability,
    He embraces the racist alt-right,
    Declaring war on diversity.

    Election night we were crying,
    The man spent ages lying,
    Grab a pussy among his sins,
    How’d he win, How’d he win, How’d he win.

    He brags about records breaking,
    He’s new to decision making,
    No substance to all his spin,
    How’d he win, How’d he win, How’d he win.

    He forgot about every promise,
    He rejects any transparency,
    He is likely the most dishonest,
    Self promotion and grand larceny.

    The commander-in-chief is spiteful,
    The dyed blonde wig looks frightful,
    The Russians helped get him in,
    How’d he win, How’d he win, How’d he win.

    How’d he win, How’d he win, How’d he win.

    © 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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