If we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you.


Any other dissenters out there?


I wrote an earlier post in which I suggested that some militant gay activists seem to seek not just equal rights but society’s endorsement.


This little news item suggests that rights of free expression may be at risk in the battle over same-sex marriage.  (It’s not the first such suggestion:  Numerous stories emerged in connection with California Proposition 8 about supporters of that measure being harassed, threatened, and fired.)


I believe it wrong to discriminate against people on the basis of gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation regarding jobs for which gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation are irrelevant.


For essentially the same reason, I think it thoroughly wrong to discriminate against people for jobs on the basis of their political opinions and religious views when those opinions and views are irrelevant to the job.


This situation with Orson Scott Card is, in my judgment, truly worrisome.  And, thus far, I for one haven’t heard any of the usual defenders of unfettered expression step forward on his behalf.



"Is this the worst academic journal ever?"
"Greeks apologize with huge horse"
"This song was originally going to be the 'Jaws' theme until John Williams changed his mind at the last minute"
New Testament 197
  • Steven B

    In my opinion, it is not so much a matter of free expression of one’s belief, as it is one’s free expression at the ballot box or in taking a position on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, as OSC did, that the gay community gets into an uproar about. Gay activists are frequently characterized as intolerant and bullying of any dissenting viewpoint, but I think the real objection is to those who actively fight against gay civil rights (NOM) or promulgate false and vilifying rhetoric about LGBT people. Simply having a different viewpoint on the definition of marriage? Not so much.
    Honestly, I doubt that Card’s history of over-the-top anti-gay writing would be that big of a deal had he not signed on to the board of NOM. I mean, NOM has one purpose: to stop gays from marrying.

    • danpeterson

      So you’re more or less okay with dissent on same-sex marriage so long as it’s not publicly expressed.

      If the dissenter goes public, his or her employment should be on the line.

      Is that about right?

      If not, please tell me where I’ve got it wrong.

      • Steven B

        Every gay activist I have ever heard address this issue has forcefully stated that they would defend a person’s right to deeply held personal beliefs and opinions opposed to homosexuality and gay marriage. And they would defend the right to express those views in the public square. Where these activist get intolerant is when that public expression takes the form of attempts of deprive LGBT people of civil rights, or when that public expression contributes to the longstanding public hostility towards gays in the form of promulgating false stereotypes and vilification, thereby contributing to further violence towards gays and contributing to youth suicides.
        As to your point about whether one’s employment should be jeopardized, please see my comment further below.

        • danpeterson

          I know of nobody, off hand, who seeks to deprive homosexuals of civil rights.

          Certainly Orson Scott Card isn’t.

          If you can find a case of somebody advocating that homosexuals be denied the franchise, or the right to speak out in public, or the right to keep and bear arms — no, wait a minute; there is a campaign to do that, but it’s not just focused on homosexuals — or the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, I hope you’ll bring that person to our attention here. I oppose any and all such efforts, if they exist.

    • LBRussell

      And what did Orson Scott Card say that was so horribly over the top? I see frequent comments alluding to outrageous comments but never any specific quotes.

      • Phil

        Here’s an example:
        “How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.”

  • MP

    The conversion to a politically correct nation is complete, without even needing reeducation camps.

    The militant gay lobby will not rest until we breeders are extinct. The mental sickness of their activism won’t find them happy if they have equal rights or even greater rights than traditional families. (Note: my comment will likely be criticized by the gay lobby asserting that I am saying homosexuality is a mental sickness. For clarification I’m referring only to the “activism” part.)

  • Steven B

    I can only think of two LGBT groups that could be described as “militant:” The first is ACT UP, formed at the height of AIDS crisis because of the government’s inaction to address the crisis. They would stage very provocative, public actions such as the 1989 incident at St. Patrick’s cathedral where the group disrupted the Mass, laid down in the isles, broke a communion wafer and threw it on the floor and generally disrespected the service. They took radical measures because no one seemed to take the AIDS crisis seriously and their motto was “Silence = Death.”

    The second group “Bash Back” was active during 2008 and members were inspired by ACT UP. Bash Back tended to be composed of the more anarchic, radical element who objected to the heteronormative assimilation advocated by the mainstream LGBT groups.

    Neither of these groups are active any more, but may be the genesis for the designation “militant gay activist.” I can understand the use of the term “militant” to refer to groups like ACT UP and Bash Back, the the campaign against Orson Scott Card was simply a grassroots effort that involved collecting signatures. Hardly militant in any way.

    • danpeterson

      It seems militant to me if it believes that public opposition to same-sex marriage should be punished.

      • Steven B

        Of the mainstream, longstanding national LGBT advocacy groups (such as Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), none have ever called for a person to be fired from their job or have their livelihood threatened, to my knowledge. (I could be wrong as there may have been objections to presidential appointments.)

        But what we are seeing currently is a whole new powerful voice in the form of social networking. Much of the aggressive reaction to Prop 8 was fueled by social media. In fact, the whole series of Prop 8 protest rallies that took place across the nation was the idea of a single individual, with no previous experience in activism, who floated the idea onto Facebook and within hours the whole series of marches began to organize across the nation. So with this new powerful organizing voice it is easy for anyone, however young and immature, to create a kind of hostile mob response with verbal pitchforks and reactionary signature campaigns.

        Of course, both sides are getting involved in this kind of thing. I’m thinking of the campaign by the American Family Association to have JCPenney fire Ellen Degeneres as its spokesperson, for . . . I don’t know what for . . . for being open and honest? All of this taking advantage of the ease and wide reach the internet provides.

        So as to what you describe as “worrisome” I think that social media and networking has the potential for both good and evil, so yes, maybe there is cause for concern.

  • Craig

    I learned a long time ago that people are free to think and say what they want as long as it agrees completely with gay rights people. If, however, a person has a differing opinion then they are accused of being a homophobe and lambasted, maligned, and insulted.

    Furthermore, people don’t have to be a part of a “militant” group to still be militant. I have seen examples of gay militancy online and in other places where people with differing views are shouted down into quiet submission or have not only their views but their very integrity attacked.

    Equality appears to not be what is being sought after as much as affirmation and even admiration for their lifestyle.

  • http://blakeostler.com Blake

    Add this to the way that Peter Vidmar was treated, and we begin to see the real enemies of the of the open society. These people are hypocrites pure and simple, demanding tolerance for their views and practices but refusing to give such tolerance to a differing point of view. Besides, now I have to wait for a comic that I really want to read.

  • MP

    Blake, ironically George Soros has redefined the term “Open Society” to mean (basically) global socialism. It’s what his OSF works towards.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Orson Scott Card in his own writing has created positive portrayals of homosexual characters, including the protagonist of his novel Songbird, one of the main characters in his series TheMemory ofEarth, and a scientist in the Enders Game series. He has never, to my knowledge, ever refused to work with anyone who has a same sex orientation. I have read all of the ficton he has ever written and a good part of his blogs and commentary on public policy issues.He has never called for depriving any person of their ability to work, buy a home, or express themselves on any topic.

    In my local area, the newspaper is calling for punishing a florist who, after selling flower arrangements for over a decade to a gay couple , declined take the.job of creating custom floral arrangements for their now-legal same-sex marriage. The florist has nothing against her longstanding gay customers, but declines for religious reasons to be involved in work that would endorse same sex marriage. The gay couple is not being deprived of flowers, since there are plenty of florists in the local 250,000+community who will gladly take their money. What they are complaining about is her refusal to endorse their marriage, an expressive activity on her part. The newspaper pestered the state attorney general to egg him on to prosecute the florist, NOT for refusing to serve homosexuals, which she has done for a decade, but for refusing to endorse gay marriage, a matter of expressing her opinions and her religious beliefs. The paper argues that the new state law protects only religious ministers in their expression of views opposing gay marriage. So this newspaper, which is in a business that depends on free speech, is pushing for criminal sanctions to enforce censorship.

  • anon

    “If we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you.”

    Congratulations, sir. You nailed the title!

    This is exactly the same totalitarian, oppressive message that the Mormon authorities deliver time and time again to their followers. Thank you so much for shining some light on their dictatorial treatment of “blue-collar” Mormons, whose opinions are rarely consulted regarding important issues like gay rights etc.

    Rather, the message is always the same: we will give you your opinion and foster a culture that makes intellectual disagreement unspeakably evil (to say nothing of research into dissenting opinions etc.–see Elder Cook, who demands that those who research Mormonism on the Internet and encounter credible but opposing information must repent, as if we live in some kind of North Korean dystopia).

    Thank you again for you insightful distillation of this issue into such a pithy, cutting, and revealing dictum. Keep ‘em coming!

    • danpeterson

      It’s absurd to compare a voluntary religious association that’s freely entered and freely exited and that has and claims no coercive power to a totalitarian state such as North Korea, with its closed borders studded with minefields, its labor camps, and its mass starvation.

      Your rhetoric has gotten the better of you, and make you look rather silly.

      But it’s touching, in a pathetic sort of way, to read your expression of faith that blue-collar Mormons (or, for that matter, blue-collar anybody) would, on the whole, be more sympathetic to homosexuals than are the leaders of my church.