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April 24, 2015

Anti-Gay Archbishop Cordileone Is Gravely Evil

A graphic that reflects the definition of hypocrisy, that says "claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform."


by Roy Steele

I’ve never heard the Catholic Church refer to their child abusing pedophile Priest’s as “gravely evil” with a “moral disorder,” though as a gay man, that’s how they characterize me.


I’m a gay man who detests  religious and political hypocrisy. Google defines hypocrisy as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.”

I particularly take issue with religious dogma that’s wholly inconsistent, where they cherry pick the passages in scripture that they like, or thinks might support their particular point of view.

Using the Holy Bible  as a guide, while acknowledging that it was written in the vernacular of the day, is how most scholars and theologians approach scripture. I personally think that it’s an imperfect  oral history of the past, and that it should be viewed as such.

I can respect that there are individuals who believe that the Bible is inerrant. While I don’t subscribe to those beliefs, people are free to believe whatever they want, as long as those beliefs aren’t forced on me or you.

The big problem that I have with religion, is that people hold up that holiest of books, in order to justify their hatred and bigotry, and deny LGBT people of their civil rights. This same book has been held up to justify slavery and the subjugation of women. Go figure.

I freely acknowledge that Leviticus (20:13) does say that gay people be put to death for committing an abomination, and I know only too well that many religious people cite this passage to substantiate their hate. But what about the other passages in scripture? What about the other laws in Leviticus? Why do we ignore the others and obey the one passage that says gay people should be killed?

Religious folks ignore the other passages that govern their immoral behavior, because they’ve been taught to do so.

Leviticus says that anyone who curses their mother or father must be killed (Leviticus 20:9). If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die (Leviticus 20:10). When a man sleeps with his wife and her mother, they are to be burnt to death (Leviticus 20:14). If a man and woman have sex when the woman is menstruating, they are both to be “cut off from their people” (Leviticus 20:18).

The Bible consistently endorses slavery, and yet every religion condemns it today. Why doesn’t every religion condemn bigotry?

There are good moral values in the Bible, and there are crazy ideas and bad laws and values too. Does society determine our moral values today, or do they come from an ancient book? I think that the ancient book informs us, but that we collectively decide as a society, what the moral values are that we embrace.

One’s moral values have come under great scrutiny here in San Francisco, from the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco has inserted a “morality clause” in the 2015-2016 employee handbook, mandating that all employees at their four diocesan high schools, “affirm and believe” that homosexuality is “gravely evil.”

Lee Romney, a reporter for the L.A. Times, wrote about the firestorm created by the “morality clause.”
A newly released handbook asks the nearly 500 school employees to “affirm and believe” that “adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations” are “gravely evil.” Artificial-reproductive technology, contraception and abortion are described similarly.
The “fundamental demands of justice,” it continues, “require that the civil law preserve the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
The handbook has triggered protests by students, parents and progressive Catholics who decry the language as divisive. They say Cordileone is out of step with Pope Francis by focusing so strongly on sexual morality at the expense of other church teachings to embrace the poor. 
Archdiocese officials declined to discuss the controversy Tuesday. Instead, they provided a lengthy audio statement in which Cordileone said the handbook and contract changes merely seek to clarify existing expectations that Catholic teachers uphold Catholic teaching. 
“It is not anti-anyone. It’s not anti-anything,” Cordileone said, stressing that no one would be forced to sign a handbook oath.
It’s not anti-anyone? Give me a break! Last time I checked, lying was a sin.

In spite of real world knowledge, and academic research surrounding human sexuality, Roman Catholic catechism has long held that “homosexuality” is an “objective disorder,” and  gay sex is a “moral disorder.” Either way, the church incorrectly believes and teaches that being gay is a “moral evil.”

Characterizing gay people as “gravely evil” marks a new low for the San Francisco Archdiocese. The use of an adverb like “gravely,” is both deliberate and inflammatory.
Photograph of Anti-Gay Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

San Francisco’s Catholic Archbishop was appointed to his position two years ago, and in the short time that Salvatore Cordileone has been the top administrator of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, he has been embroiled in controversy. Cordileone is the current Chairman of the Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

Just last year there was an uproar over Cordileone attending the “March for Marriage” in Washington, DC. Prominent city leaders, politicians, LGBT activists, and religious leaders, asked him to stay home and not attend. The Archbishop ignored the public and delivered the keynote speech.

A large group of prominent Catholics in San Francisco bought a full page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle last week, addressed to Pope Francis, asking for the Archbishop to be removed from his post. The ad reads in part:
Holy Father Please Provide Us With A Leader True To Our Values And Your Namesake. 
We now respectfully ask you to replace  Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. 
The Archdiocese of San Francisco  is threatened by Archbishop Cordileone’s single-issue agenda and cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow under his supervision. The city of Saint Francis deserves an Archbishop true to our values and to your teachings.
San Francisco Chronicle Ad 4-15-2015 calling on Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. It says "The Archdiocese of San Francisco  is threatened by Archbishop Cordileone’s single-issue agenda and cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow under his supervision. The city of Saint Francis deserves an Archbishop true to our values and to your teachings."
San Francisco Chronicle Ad
San Francisco’s Archbishop isn’t attending the 2015 anti-gay march. This Saturday (April 25th, 2015) is the annual “March for Marriage” in Washington, DC. and Cordileone is skipping it.

Last year’s march was in June, and I’m assuming that the date was moved up, because next Tuesday (April 28, 2015) the US Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in the gay marriage cases from Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, and Kentucky.  If they had their “march” in June, these anti-gay hate groups would run the risk of gathering when the Supreme Court issues their decision. Wouldn’t that be grand!

I’ve never heard the Catholic Church refer to their child abusing pedophile Priest’s as “gravely evil” with a “moral disorder,” though as a gay man, that’s how they characterize me.

I must speak the truth and declare that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is gravely evil.

Gravely evil. Straight talk indeed.

straight talk in a queer world.            jiveinthe415.com 

April 16, 2015

Video: 'A Good Man' Is A Great Gay Man In My Book

StoryCorps animated story "A Good Man" featuring Bryan Wilmoth and a still photo from the animated film of Bryan Wilmoth.

I have no idea whether you’ve heard of StoryCorps before or not. They are a terrific non-profit organization that records and preserves personal oral histories of people like you and me.  Maybe you’ve heard one of their stories on NPR’s Morning Edition, or on the PBS program POV.



This particular story is incredibly touching, and well worth the three minutes it takes to tell. In “A Good Man,” Bryan Wilmoth shares that he and his seven brothers and sisters were raised in a very strict and religious home. At StoryCorps, Bryan spoke with his brother Mike Wilmoth about what it was like to reconnect with each other, many years after their dad kicked Bryan out of the house for being gay.  His story was animated by the Rauch brothers, and it’s really well done.

I think Bryan Wilmoth is a terrific brother, and a great  gay man. In the face of anti-gay bigotry and isolation, because of his homosexuality, he persevered and rose above it. He set an example for others to follow.

Last year, David Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, announced a three year initiative to collect stories from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community. In a New York Times profile, they reported that Isay’s dad was psychiatrist  Dr. Richard Isay, “a closeted gay man for many years, but professionally was credited with helping persuade colleagues to stop viewing homosexuality as a mental illness.”

The Times also said:
Previous StoryCorps initiatives have focused on stories remembering people killed in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Feb. 26, 1993; oral histories of African-Americans and Latinos; and stories of teachers, as well as recent military veterans and their families.
Like all StoryCorps recordings, the OutLoud stories will be archived at the Library of Congress, if participants agree. Some also will be included in the StoryCorps Friday morning feature on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” More will be broadcast elsewhere on NPR, Mr. Isay said, but it was not yet clear where.
I wrote about a StoryCorps story last July, when I said that Clela Rorex is a superhero. You can find that blog post HERE.

About StoryCorps:

StoryCorps’ mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives. We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.

Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews with over 90,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and on our Listen pages.

jiveinthe415.com            straight talk in a queer world

April 11, 2015

Hillary Clinton To Announce Tomorrow: "I'm Running"

A Blue and Red Background with a photograph of a smiling Hillary Clinton in the center, and the word BELIEVE in block letters superimposed on the graphic by jiveinthe415.com.

I believe in Hillary Clinton. I believe in her experience, and I believe she’s the best person for the job.  She’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s more qualified than any other Republican or Democrat.


By Roy Steele

Every major and minor media outlet in the country is reporting that on Sunday, Hillary Clinton will be announcing her intention to run for President in 2016. The prohibitive front runner is hoping to be the Democratic nominee, and she will be competing for convention delegates against a small number of opponents.

The former first lady has purportedly planned a low key announcement using social media, which includes a YouTube video, a Facebook post, and a Twitter announcement.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, and former US Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), have all expressed an interest in running for the 2016 nomination, though no one has made an official announcement to date. Vice President Joe Biden hasn’t signaled whether he will toss his hat into the ring, and US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has said repeatedly that she will not run in 2016.

Hillary Clinton is eminently qualified to be President of the United States. In my lifetime, I don’t recall any other candidate having the breadth of experience in and out of government, that Secretary Clinton has. She’s a mom, and an accomplished lawyer, who served our country for eight tumultuous years as our First Lady. She was elected twice to represent the people from the great state of New York, as a United States Senator, before being appointed by President Obama to be his Secretary of State.

Hillary Clinton is much more conservative than I am, and her moderate views frighten some progressives. Her support for the Iraq war lost her the nomination in 2008, and Governor Chafee criticized her vote for the war this week. Regardless, she doesn’t frighten me, and I support her wholeheartedly.

I believe in Hillary Clinton. I believe in her experience, and I believe she’s the best person for the job. She’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s more qualified than any other Republican or Democrat.

I think it’s time for a woman, we’re ready for a woman, and most importantly Hillary Clinton is the right woman.

I believe in Hilary Clinton, and I support her run for President.

jiveinthe415.com          straight talk in a queer world.

TV Talk: Gay Celebrity Rumors And The Cult Of Scientology

A photograph of the Scientology owned property on Fountain Avenue in Los Angeles, Califonia, and the text "The Cult Of Scientology - A Suppressive Person Speaks"

We review HBO’s documentary film Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.  Every time you watch a movie with Tom Cruise or John Travolta in the cast, you are indirectly supporting the cult of Scientology.


By Roy Steele*

There have been rumors swirling around Hollywood for over two decades that Tom Cruise is a gay man. Who knows if the rumors are true or not, though it’s indisputable that the controversial cult of Scientology is an anti-gay organization that believes in reparative therapy, and donated heavily to the anti-gay marriage campaign to support Proposition 8.

Isn’t it interesting that the two most visible members of Scientology, Tom Cruise and John Travolta, are two Hollywood actors who have been dodging and running from “gay” rumors surrounding their sexuality, throughout their careers.

I have intentionally avoided watching ANY film or television show with Tom Cruise in the cast, for the last ten years. You couldn’t pay me to watch his work and I’d rather watch paint dry, than see one of his movies. I’ve been boycotting Tom Cruise for his arrogance, stupidity, lack of empathy, and affiliation with a cult that does irreparable harm to many of their members.

In 2005 Cruise publicly derided and criticized Brooke Shields, in more than one television interview, after she was treated for postpartum depression. Cruise and his Scientology “cult” doesn’t believe in psychiatry or mental illness, and he said “When someone says (medication) has helped them, it is to cope, it didn’t cure anything. There is no science. There is nothing that can cure them whatsoever.”

He apologized to Brooke Shields for his insane comments, though anyone with half a brain could see right through the apology. Cruise’s views didn’t change, he apologized for being an asshole. Whoop di do.

If it talks like a duck, and walks like a duck....

I know there isn’t a “cure” for major depressive disorders, and I also know that depression can be successfully treated with the appropriate medication and talk therapy. It doesn’t matter what I know, Tom Cruise doesn’t know a thing about psychiatry or mental health, and it’s patently obvious that this poor excuse for a Scientology mouthpiece, only knows what his cult taught him.

HBO Documentary Films Poster for "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief"
I just saw the very effective and disturbing HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which is an in-depth look at the inner-workings of the Church of Scientology. Tom Cruise is the most visible member of this cult, and he features prominently in the film.

I’ve thought for a long time that “Church” of Scientology is a misnomer, and “cult” of Scientology is a more apt name. A cult is considered a “devotion directed toward a particular figure,” and “excessive admiration for a particular person,” and a “group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange.”

In Going Clear we see Cruise publicly saluting or genuflecting before a photograph of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. It’s alleged in the film that the actor has given millions of dollars to the cult. He also pays Scientology regularly to have unwelcome “aliens” living in his body removed. The film documents the pressure that the cult exerted on Cruise to end his marriage to Nicole Kidman because she’s Catholic, and has a father who is a noted Australian psychologist, which the cult found to be threatening.

I found the interview subjects in Alex Gibney’s documentary to be credible and trustworthy, and in most cases, extremely sympathetic. These individuals spoke freely, knowing that the full force and wrath of the cult’s army of devotees, would be deployed to defame and intimidate them.

Any organization that forces members to “disconnect” and shun family members, friends, and neighbors, who don’t share their beliefs, is problematic on multiple levels. What is Scientology afraid of? The cult warns members to stay away from the internet, and any source of information, that might call into question the cult’s authority.

Any group that consigns members to hard labor in a prison, isolated in the California desert, to intimidate and demoralize possible defectors or detractors, is most definitely a criminal enterprise as well as a cult. These defenseless people are imprisoned by cult leaders without an impartial hearing or due process. They’re forced to perform menial tasks, and in my book that’s slavery.

A business with assets in excess of a billion dollars should be paying taxes, and fair wages to their employees. Scientology pays workers 40 cents an hour - to keep them from defecting - which is further evidence that they enslave people.

The government and law enforcement needs to fully investigate the allegations that this film raises, and monitor the cult of Scientology closely.

I’m adding John Travolta to my personal boycott, and hope that you will join me. Every time you watch a movie with Tom Cruise or John Travolta in the cast, you are indirectly supporting the cult of Scientology. I’m weighing whether to expand my personal boycott to other Scientology members. In the meantime, check out HBO’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. The members of this cult are being held prisoner by their alleged religion, while being held hostage by their beliefs.    

This great documentary film is based on the award-winning book of the same name by Lawrence Wright. Kudos to Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright for crafting a film with a compelling narrative, that will stay with you for a very long time.

jiveinthe415.com          straight talk in a queer world.

(*Note: Scientology will label me a “Suppressive Person” when this is published. Yawn.)

April 10, 2015

My Gay Opinion: Anti-Gay Bullshit & Lies Will Never Defeat Us

The text "gay rights are human rights" is super-imposed on a photograph of the LGBT rainbow flag that flies above the Castro district in San Francisco, California.


Anti-gay bigots will cross their fingers after they reload and take aim at our community, hoping to destroy our civil rights because they drank the kool aid, and haven’t bothered to investigate or read and comprehend that scripture does not support their point-of-view.


Republican state legislators have worked my last gay nerve, and I’m still pissed off about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Indiana and Arkansas. I’m pissed because the legislation was unnecessary, and only introduced to provide legal cover to bigots who planned  on discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in their local communities.

I applaud the media for sticking with the story day after day. The media was right, and Governor Mike “I’m in a pickle” Pence (R-IN), was wrong. Watching “I’m in a pickle” Pence squirm during the George Stephanopoulos interview was very painful to watch. His press conference a couple days later was painful too, as I watched him do everything in his power to avoid uttering the word “GAY.”

I have to commend business leaders in both states for speaking out and taking a stand. Without the vocal support of highly visible corporations like Angie’s List, Apple, Salesforce.com, the NCAA, and that powerful retailer based in Benton, these intransigent GOP state legislatures would have maintained the status quo, while they looked for ways to further legitimize discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

What frustrates me the most is the fact that no one’s  religious freedom is diminished in any way, when a gay couple patronizes a local business. If a business exists to provide a service, our traditions and laws dictate that the service be provided to everyone.

In the media frenzy surrounding the RFRA legislation, people forgot that bigotry creates immeasurable damage, harm, anxiety and stress within our community. These negative consequences are the direct result of a conscious political effort to injure and diminish LGBT people.

Granted, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have endured criticism, verbal taunts, violence and threats of violence, hate, misunderstanding, and much more since time immemorial. That’s not going to change any time soon, but we have to try to elevate the discussion, and even scream at these idiots that their laws and language are particularly harmful to LGBTQI kids.

Hate groups in the United States raise millions of dollars every year to vilify and impair the psyche and soul of every gay, bi-sexual, or transgender individual they can. These misguided and self-serving organizations spread anti-gay propaganda to perpetuate an endless culture war, while not caring about the lives they destroy in the process. I wish we could somehow raise their awareness, though we all know they don't care and that it would be futile.

Teenagers are thrown out of their homes and onto the streets after “coming out” to their family. Ignorant parents force LGBT children to endure “reparative therapy,” in order to cure a kid’s “gayness,” despite the fact that the academic community (including scientists, doctors  and psychologists) identifies sexual orientation as inborn.

They refuse to acknowledge and embrace our sexual orientations as an immutable trait, which brings great harm, psychological abuse, and psychosocial damage, to thousands and thousands of victims, who are often haunted by this trauma for their entire life.

People like myself, and countless others,  speak out about these issues because we’ve been there. We experienced the name calling, endured the threats of bodily harm, survived the violence, heard the slanderous lies, and we’re still here fighting back.

By the way, after changes were made to the RFRA in Indiana and Arkansas, they didn’t address the fact that it’s still legal to fire any LGBT employee in both states, because of who we are and who we love.

Over the past few years we’ve largely been celebrating marriage equality victories in state legislatures, at the ballot box, and in courtrooms, all over the country. Sadly, these marriage equality victories have nothing to do with protecting our community from discrimination in employment or housing and public accommodation. You can get married in many states, but if you put a picture of your spouse on your desk, you could be fired. Go figure.

The text of the Sodomite Suppression Act that says “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”
Just last month a California lawyer paid $200 to the state in order to start collecting signatures for a ballot measure called the “Sodomite Suppression Act.”  His proposal states that “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.” In other words, this licensed attorney wants to sanction the execution of LGBT Californians. That’s unbelievable to me.

It’s easy to dismiss and laugh at the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” because it’s crazy and unconstitutional. But it’s proposals like this that illustrate the need for anti-discrimination legislation on the local, state, and federal levels in every jurisdiction in the United States.

These hateful florists and bakers and pizza parlors who claim they are denying wedding services to gay couples because of religious beliefs, are ignorant and disingenuous. I’d love to ask these people what passage in scripture they’re basing their discrimination on, because the Bible doesn’t say one word about gay marriage! That’s why we have to continue to tell the truth and speak out, and stand up for injustice and inequality.

Over time we’ve  learned to understand and overcome the vitriolic bullshit and trauma we experienced as kids and young adults. Our armor got tougher, and we developed a thick skin, because our environment required that.

We know that more RFRA’s are coming our way, with more bullshit and lies. The anti-gay bigots will cross their fingers after they reload and take aim at our community, hoping to destroy our civil rights because they drank the kool aid, and haven’t bothered to investigate or read and comprehend that scripture does not support their point-of-view. Whether the grenades come from politics or religion, we’ve heard this off-key song and dance before, and the public-at-large has rejected their views. Let’s face it, these crazy people can’t and won’t accept facts or reality. We are human beings who want the equal rights that our Constitution articulates. And that's it.

Life experience has trained us to always be ready for another battle, and we know that their bullshit and lies won’t defeat us. With public opinion on our side, if you account for our partners, friends, neighbors, and family, we make up the majority with over 50% of the population supporting LGBT civil rights.

If we could get our allies to fight and stand with us in a more public way, we’d be going places that we dream about today. NO ONE can take away our dreams, and thank GOD for that.

Roy Steele
jiveinthe415.com
San Francisco, California

jiveinthe415.com          straight talk in a queer world.

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