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July 5, 2008

Religious Right Boycotts McDonald's - Let's Thank McDonald's

Once again the religious right-wingers are boycotting. The right-wing-nuts calling for this latest lame boycott is the same organization whose news division ran the auto-edited story about Olympian Tyson Gay (aka Tyson "Homosexual" - see my July 2nd posting "Christian News Group Embarrasses Itself With It's Own Homophobia" - it's hilarious!).

This time American Family Association (AFA) is pursing their lips and clucking their tongues because McDonald's won't condemn their Vice President of Communications Richard Ellis’s decision to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).

According to AFA's own press release, Rev. Don Wildmon, founder and chairman of AFA, said "...the chain's decision is baffling. And this is so strange, because it's the family that McDonald's appeals to -- children's playland, you know, all the little toys, all of that. And they are promoting a lifestyle that would utterly destroy the traditional family."

McDonald's responded to their boycott threat by telling Wildmon in a letter:

We treat our employees and our customers with respect and dignity, regardless of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or other factors. We support our employees’ personal involvement in organizations of their choice.

By the way, in case you didn't know, The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the largest LGBT business development and economic advocacy organization in the world representing the interests of more than 800,000 LGBT businesses and entrepreneurs. If you would like to check them out, go to: www.nglcc.org

Read Full Story at: thinkprogress.org

July 3, 2008

Another Beef Recall Due To E. Coli Contamination

I am running this story because tomorrow is July 4th and, as we all know, hamburgers are a pretty big part of the celebrations.

The Kroger Food company (they own Fry's Foods here in Arizona) has expanded a major beef recall due to possible e.coli contamination. The beef was supplied by Nebraska Beef Ltd. which issued the initial recall of almost 532,000 pounds of beef that was already shipped to stores.

According to Kroger's press release:

Based on the latest information from the USDA, Kroger is expanding the recall to include ground beef products in Styrofoam tray packages wrapped in clear cellophane or purchased from an in-store service counter from the stores described below.

There are various “sell by” dates on the ground beef being recalled due to different Nebraska Beef production dates.

The following chart explains the range of “sell by” dates that customers should check:

Fred Meyer May 21-July 5
QFC May 21-July 5
Kroger stores May 21-July 3 *
(*except Kroger stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Knoxville, Tenn. and Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division, which includes stores in North Carolina, Northeastern Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Kroger stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Knoxville, Tenn. are not involved in the recall of ground beef in Styrofoam trays or from in-store service counters.)
Kroger Mid-Atlantic May 19-June 6
Fry’s May 21-July 3
Ralphs May 21-July 3 Smith’s May 21-July 3
Baker’s May 17-June 4
King Soopers June 20-July 3
City Market June 20-July 3

Here in Arizona, Fry's Foods seems to be the only chain that receives beef from Nebraska Beef through Kroger. If you purchased beef with the above "sell by" dates DO NOT EAT IT! Return it to the store for a refund or throw it out.

To see Kroger's press release in it's entirety, go to: kroger.com

If it's not e.coli, then it's MCD - see my Friday, June 20th posting "Are You Still Eating Beef?"

July 2, 2008

Christian News Group Embarrasses Itself With It's Own Homophobia

I just love this story! According to an article at PinkNews.com.uk, which is Europe's largest gay news service, the online division of the American Family News Network uses an auto-replace feature that is setup to automatically replace the word "gay" with the word "homosexual." This has resulted in very embarrassing stories that were run, unchecked by human eyes, about Tyson "Homosexual" qualifying for the Olympics in the 100 meter sprint trials.

That change resulted in headlines like: "Homosexual eases into 100 final at Olympic trials" and "Close call: Homosexual barely averts major flop in 100″. Then there was body copy that read "Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue..." and "...Here's what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing."

And, finally, there was this quote, which is my favorite:

"It means a lot to me," the 25-year-old Homosexual said. "I'm glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me." […] After the race, Homosexual and Dix looked at each other and slapped palms, then hugged.

I haven't seen anything quoted anywhere about how Tyson Gay feels about this and he makes no mention of it on his official website. Hopefully, he'll just get a kick out of it like the rest of us and laugh it off.

On the off chance that Tyson Gay sees this posting, I just want to say; CONGRATULATIONS! You were awesome!

You can read the whole story at: PinkNews.com.uk

July 1, 2008

Heterosexual Mormon Professor Opposes Church Leaders

My partner just sent me this media release he discovered at Affirmation.org which is a support group for gay and lesbian Mormons.

The release is a letter from Professor Jeffrey Nielsen who is currently at Westminster College after losing his job at Brigham Young University for opposing the church's leadership.

In his "Open Letter to California Mormons" he said, in part:

“We should never allow our constitutions, whether state or federal, to become weapons in a crusade to impose a particular religious value system upon a pluralistic democracy”

I am a member of the Mormon Church, a married heterosexual, and a supporter of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. I am asking you to pause and give sincere thought to the letter from our religious leaders you have heard read, or will soon hear read, over our church pulpits asking you to get involved and oppose marriage equality in California. Please think deeply about this, not only as a member of a particular church, but also as a citizen of a democracy.

To press for an amendment to a civil constitution that would legalize discrimination against an entire class of people is no small matter, but of the greatest significance. When the argument, no matter how well intentioned, is based solely upon a religious proclamation; then, I believe, it is a serious contradiction of the wisdom of our founding fathers. It also does tremendous damage to the great progress in civil rights we've made in our country respecting the equal dignity of each person and towards a more certain legal equality for all citizens.

As you can see, not all Mormons think alike. As usual, it's the hierarchy that needs to be educated. Unfortunately, under the current leadership of this church, you can be severely punished for speaking out against policies or teachings you disagree with. Fortunately, there are more and more Mormons with the same courage as Professor Nielsen. Let's hope their numbers grow fast enough to unseat the bigoted leaders that this church still has. It's people like Professor Nielsen who have made this country great. Now, it's your turn. Speak out!

The letter, in its entirety, can be seen at: affirmation.org

Obama Strongly Opposes Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

In stark contrast to John McCain who just switched his position from neutral to outright support for California's Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment, Barack Obama has come out in strong opposition to it.

In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club that was read at Sunday's annual Pride Breakfast, he wrote...

"I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law . . . that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states."

He went on to say that...

"For too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It's time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect."

How can we not support someone who supports us in such a strong way.

If you'd like to read the whole story, it's at: Yahoo News

June 30, 2008

Mormons Use Pulpit To Campaign For California's Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

Last week, my partner (who was Mormon but has since resigned his membership) made me aware of a directive issued by the leadership of the Church Of Latter Day Saints that was sent to every Mormon Church throughout California. It said that it was "To be read in the sacrament meetings on June 29th, 2008."

It went on to deride the California Supreme Court's reversal of a 2000 proposition passed by voters that defined marriage as being valid only between a man and a woman. Then it informed it's followers of the proposed California Constitutional Amendment to restore that narrow definition of marriage that will appear on the November 4, 2008 ballot and told them that the Church will work for its passage.

It closed by saying:

"Local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.

We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man an a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage."

At first Peter and I were, of course, incensed at the arrogant disregard for the, until recently, time-honored concept of the separation of church and state and saw this as a clear violation of that conviction. I decided that if they want to disregard the clearly stated intentions of our forefathers then I wasn't going to sit back and let that happen without a fight. After all, it's only a matter of time before they come here to Arizona to do the same thing.

I sent the following message to my Congressman:

Dear Congressman Mitchell,

As far as I understand the restrictions of intermingling religion with politics, isn't preaching a specific political endorsement, whether for a politician or a targeted piece of legislation, from the pulpit supposed to be prohibited.

Clearly, the wisdom of our forefathers, as expressed both in the constitution they wrote and in their private letters to each other, left no doubt that they passionately believed in keeping religious beliefs and the governance of our country separate from each other. Otherwise, as they themselves pointed out, the entire nation could ultimately end up being ruled by the single most politically and monetarily powerful religious sect to the exclusion of all others.

If my understanding of this matter is accurate, then why is the Church Of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) allowed to preach, via a directive sent from the office of the First Presidency, a specific political endorsement from the pulpit of every church they own in California (and no doubt soon to be sent to every mormon church throughout Arizona). And, in so doing, outright direct (or in this church's case, "demand"), again from the pulpit, every one of their followers to "...donate their means (money) and time..." to assure passage of the church's endorsed legislation.

Wouldn't this be grounds for a full congressional investigation of this particular church's questionable practices with the possible end result of revoking their tax exempt status?

I also sent him a copy of that directive as it was sent to their followers. If you would like to see it yourself go to: sunshinepress.org. By the way, feel free to copy and paste the body of my above email into an email to your representative if you don't have time to write one out for yourself. Of course, it's always better to put something in your own words.

I'm not sure how far this will get but since Congressman Harry Mitchell has long been a supporter of GLBT rights here in Arizona it may, at least, spark an investigation by the IRS and make things a little more difficult for the Mormon Church.

If enough people did the same thing and also expressed these concerns to their congressional representatives then maybe, just maybe we could make the religious extremist think twice before getting so directly involved in politics.