Why I’m Boycotting Ender’s Game

This November, a film adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel Ender’s Game is hitting theaters. Normally, that’s the kind of movie I’d be first in line to see.

The problem in this case is that the novel was written by Orson Scott Card, who’s a more than merely run-of-the-mill religious bigot. Card has said that atheists are unfit to be president; he’s on the board of a prominent anti-gay political organization; he thinks that “homosexual behavior” should be kept illegal in order to “send a clear message”; and most shocking of all, he’s advocated the overthrow of any government that permits same-sex marriage:

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.

In light of comments like these, Geeks Out is organizing a Skip Ender’s Game campaign, which I unequivocally support. I will not see this movie in theaters or on DVD. I don’t want a single penny of my money going to a vicious bigot like Card, even if the movie doesn’t touch in any way on his homophobic views, and even if the company that made the movie has repudiated them (as indeed it has).

There are many famous sci-fi and fantasy authors who’ve acted in utterly unacceptable ways. For example, Isaac Asimov (whose writing I still enjoy) had a reputation for sexually assaulting women and was proud of it. But for better or for worse, most of those authors are dead now, and any royalties on their work merely go to their estates. Card’s case is different because he’s still alive and politically involved, and it’s safe to assume that whatever money he makes from this film, he may use to support continuing efforts to deny equal protection of the law to GLBT people.

In response to the boycott campaign, Card released a whining, passive-aggressive statement in which he pleads for “tolerance”:

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.

I have to admit, it cheers me that even so staunch a bigot as Card thinks the battle is all but over and that marriage equality will soon be the law of the land. But his canting invocation of the “why won’t you tolerate my intolerance” argument removes any sympathy I might ever have considered having for him. Card and his ilk fought as long and hard as they could – are still fighting as hard as they can – to deny equal rights and equal dignity to gay and lesbian couples, not just through harassment and intimidation but with the brute force of the law. How dare they turn around and beg for tolerance when it looks like the tide of public opinion is shifting against them?

To be clear, I have no difficulty with tolerating people who disapprove of atheism (or homosexuality or whatever else) on the grounds of personal religious belief. Everyone has the right to hold whatever opinions they like, as distasteful as they may be. But I don’t accept or tolerate people who try to make laws based on their own private prejudices, or who try to deny others the equal right to participation in civic life. Card falls into the latter category, and so long as he persists in his despicable views, he deserves to be shamed and scorned.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://sopheliajapan.blogspot.jp/ Sophelia

    Does that mean you would be OK with bootlegging the film, or waiting until he dies and then buying the book? I understand not wanting to give money to someone who campaigns for causes one opposes, but where do we draw the line? Do you research the political involvement of major shareholders in the corporation who produces your shampoo? I realise this sounds confrontational and that isn’t my intention, but I can’t think of a better re-wording. I am genuinely curious about how people decide where and when to boycott individuals.

  • http://blu28.wordpress.com/ Brian Utterback

    I have to disagree with you. If we are to have religious freedom then we have to allow religious based thinking, even if we disagree with those thoughts. How much blame can we assign to people, raised in a particular religion, who merely reflect the thinking of that religion?

    On the other hand, actual actions are another thing entirely. Boycotting a product because some of the profits will be used in a cause whose actions are directly opposed to your desired outcomes, well, that makes perfect sense. But in the case of Ender’s Game, Card has stated that while he may hold the same opinions as always, he considers the war lost, which to me implies that he will no longer be taking actions against marriage equality. There is some ambiguity there, so I can understand still boycotting if there isn’t more clarification.

    I would be happy if Card repudiated his former views, but if he would just say that it is a non-issue for him and he will not work against marriage equality or work towards denying equal rights and protections for the LGBT community, that would be good enough for me. I would also like to know about the deal Card got for licensing Ender’s game. Writers often get a flat rate and don’t get a percentage of the profits. Again, it doesn’t make any sense to boycott the movie if it doesn’t affect what Card gets, even if he did use the money to work against marriage equality.

  • Crimson

    I think the question raised of whether or not Card is actually getting any returns on how successful the movie is rather than a flat fee is extremely relevant to deciding whether to boycott the movie or not seeing as if it is the latter then it would only be harming a company (and its employees) that seems to support the same values and ideas that you do.

  • beanfeast

    I am of the opinion that if this is what Orson Scott Card thought then it doesn’t really matter. However, the moment he starts publishing those thoughts, rallying the troops, raising funds and the like, we are no longer talking about his thoughts but his actions. We see that he will act in an attempt to make certain that his thinking might become the law of the land.

    As for whether it makes sense to boycott the movie or not, Ender’s Game is just the first in a series of books. If the movie is not successful the chances of sequels being made is greatly reduced and with it the likelihood of him receiving further remuneration.

  • Bianca Bradley

    Sorry but card has a point. If you aren’t willing to extend tolerance to beliefs that you don’t like, you aren’t much better then the bigots you oppose. Card is conceding defeat, so why don’t you take victory magnanimously?

  • Crimson

    Tolerance means enduring the existence of something, as in not actively opposing it. Tolerance does not involve taking money out of your pocket and supporting something you don’t believe in.

  • Leeloo Dallas Multipass

    “you aren’t much better then the bigots you oppose”

    Oh, I guess I missed the post where Adam advocated criminalizing Mormonism and legally barring religious people from getting married. And the one where he announced his hopes that gays and atheists would rise up and overthrow the government so that Christians could be forced into second-class citizen status. Perhaps you could post a link to them?

  • Shawn

    Exactly. It’s pretty pathetic to advocate throwing homosexuals in jail and then claim that they’ve got to be “tolerant” of that and whine about how you’re being oppressed that you can’t outlaw and jail your opponents anymore. Okay, it would be wrong for homosexuals to advocate throwing Card in jail, but this isn’t an issue as far as I know.

  • Bianca Bradley

    It isn’t pathetic. You either have tolerance or you don’t. That includes opinions of things you find abhorrent. This intolerant of intolerance is bullcrap. 1st amendment is there for a reason. I’m personally sick of the whole scarlet letter routine, done to people who you don’t agree with.

    So other then a few bits of hyperbole do you have any proof that Orson scott card is advocating overthrowing the government?

    So he thinks that homosexuality is wrong and thinks that it should be illegal, like it was in the good ole days. So what? He can’t get it passed, nor with the various court cases would it fly, the supremes would strike it down(lawrence vs texas) this is a tempest in a teapot and you are demonizing a person for having different views and taking his comments and making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  • Leeloo Dallas Multipass

    I’m sympathetic to this argument vis-a-vis kids; I’ve seen pictures of young teenagers at anti-gay rallies and I don’t really blame them for it. It’s hard to change when you’re only exposed to one viewpoint. But that’s not Card; he’s had plenty of exposure to the world and to a variety of views, and he’s chosen bigotry.

  • Sven2547

    If you aren’t willing to extend tolerance to beliefs that you don’t like, you aren’t much better then the bigots you oppose.

    Given that Adam isn’t trying to ban Orson Scott Card’s marriage, I question what “intolerance” you think he is displaying that even remotely resembles Card’s bigotry.

  • Parse

    For one, Card’s not conceding defeat on treating-gay-people-as-fully-human, he’s acknowledging that his side will eventually lose on gay marriage. There’s nothing in his statement that says he’s changed his views on the subject, that he won’t continue to fight it for as long as possible, that he won’t try to fight for the right to discriminate against LGBT folk. In other words, he still holds the views that people want to boycott him for, and his statement doesn’t say that he won’t still continue to act on those views.
    For another, why are you being intolerant of our intolerance of intolerance? You’re the one claiming universal tolerance is a virtue, not us.

  • Quath

    If Card had kept quiet, I would have gone and seen the movie. After all, there are lots of celebrities that I ignore their beliefs. And the people of Lionsgate do support gay rights.

    But Card’s “tolerate my intolerance” idea has pushed me away. I feel like if I go, I will be supporting such an idiotic concept. And now it has been made into another Chic-filet-a thing. So people are lining up to make this a protest in one way or another.

    If only Card had stayed quiet…

  • Ian Cromwell

    “1st amendment is there for a reason”

    Aaaand evidently you have no idea what that reason is, since NOTHING Adam is advocating is at odds with either the text or interpretation of the 1st amendment.

    And if you disagree with that, it’s because you’re INTOLERANT and you HATE AMERICA!

  • Lolwut

    No one shut Card up, he’s free to talk (and act too, apparently) like a moron. Plenty of tolerance there, unlike his own stance(s).

  • tyler

    hi. i’m gay. perhaps you are simply not explaining it well enough but i am a little confused as to why i am being asked to implicitly support someone that has actively worked in the past and will probably continue to work in the future to vilify me and demote me to second class citizenship for exactly no reason, and would probably work to do a lot worse if he could get away with it.

    i am also unsure as to why you seem to believe the first amendment grants freedom of consequences to anyone with an opinion. do you believe anyone that vocally supports racism, eugenics, gassing the jews, etc should be allowed to pass without comment? if so, why are you voicing your displeasure here when it goes against your understanding of the first amendment to do so?

    it wasn’t that long ago that there were people calling to put the gays in concentration camps, you know. that was… what, last year? gosh i feel like such a safe and secure citizen in my country let me tell you and people like card just make me feel all the more secure*.

    *that last bit was sarcasm, in case you were unsure.

  • Space Blizzard

    “So other then a few bits of hyperbole do you have any proof that Orson scott card is advocating overthrowing the government?”

    How about the quote, written by Card himself, that Adam included in the post where he clearly says he’ll “destroy” any government that allows same-sex marriage?

    “He can’t get it passed, nor with the various court cases would it fly”

    It doesn’t matter if he can’t get it passed. He still wants to make homosexuality illegal. Just desiring that sort of world is reason enough for anyone to oppose him. If I started an organization tomorrow dedicated to rounding up every child in America and feeding them to alligators, would the fact that I wouldn’t succeed make me any less reprehensible for suggesting it?

  • VorJack

    Bianca, what exactly would “tolerance” look like in this case?

    No one is suggesting that Card’s rights should be taken away. No one here is capable of taking them away if they wanted to. No one is pushing for legislation to block Card from writing or speaking his views.

    What exactly do you want? Should Card be exempt from criticism because of “tolerance”?

  • http://blu28.wordpress.com/ Brian Utterback

    To Leeloo: I don’t buy the child vs. adult issue here. You are saying that if you find a particular attitude odious, but the tenets of the religion find it virtuous that the believers in that religion should get a pass if they are children but not if they are adults? Even the adults believe they are following “The One True Way”. I give kudos to those who see reason, but I can’t fault the ones who continue to follow their religion.

    To Beanfest: As far as I know, his attitude towards gays are not reflected in his books anywhere, so popularizing them isn’t promoting his position. And if he avows to no longer actively seek to fight against marriage equality or gay issues, then your argument is moot. There is no reason for a boycott unless he is going to use the profits to continue the fight.

  • http://blu28.wordpress.com/ Brian Utterback

    Let me put it this way. As far as I know, Card is espousing exactly the position his church takes on this issue. So, the bottom line is that what we are discussing here is boycotting a movie because the author is a devout Mormon. If you don’t want to be hypocritical about it, then you should be advocating the boycott of all products made by all companies whose profits benefit the Mormon church or its members.

  • http://blu28.wordpress.com/ Brian Utterback

    Can’t agree with you. It is not possible to have freedom of religion in a civil society without having that “tolerance of intolerance”. We can try to marginalize religion as much as we can, but in the end we either have to accept the thinking of the religions we do not believe in or actively fight against that thinking (thought police anyone?) or outright ban that religion.

  • kagekiri

    Wow, you’re really wrong.

    Tolerating existence of his belief? That’s already happening. Homophobia is not outlawed.

    We don’t get to (nor are we demanding the right to) dictate how Card spends his money (which we know is to advocate against the rights of gay people), but he and you don’t get to dictate how we spend ours, and your demand that we do so is just laughable.

    Well, no, that’s not quite right. It’d be laughable if you weren’t apparently serious, so instead it more just makes me sad that you think this utterly false equivalence is a strong argument.

  • tyler

    i think it is a question of whether the franchise/product line/company is doing the advocating. in card’s case he is the author and owner of the ender’s game ip. when he speaks he is speaking for the franchise as a whole. people don’t boycott, say, chik-fil-a because one of the cashiers happens to be homophobic, but because the company itself makes that stance actively and vocally.

    really the big picture is making it clear to everyone that these sorts of views are unacceptable in today’s culture. if ender’s game is a flop, and the reason that it’s a flop is because card is vocally homophobic, then companies and organizations will see these people as the liability they are, reducing their platforms and marginalizing these harmful views. if a company spokesperson can cause their stocks to drop ten points by saying something harmful, that sends a clear message to the company that they need to watch this person, that they need to make sure they’re hiring people that can control their tongues when speaking for the company, and it sends a message to the rest of the world that this is unacceptable, that hate speech is not tolerated.

    and that is how the world changes

  • Azkyroth

    Making arguments and purchasing decisions is not “thought police.” Would you LISTEN to yourself?

  • http://blu28.wordpress.com/ Brian Utterback

    My point is that it is reasonable to fight against *actions*. But if you are fighting against beliefs, then you are fighting against *thoughts* and those who hold a particular belief, i.e. an entire denomination. To fight against someone who is merely adhering to the tenets of their religion is simply religious intolerance, plain and simple.

  • DavidMHart

    As far as I know, his attitude towards gays are not reflected in his books anywhere

    In that case, may I direct you towards Songmaster, and also the character Zdorab in the Homecoming series (which is a big old Mormon allegory, though I didn’t realise it at the time – I didn’t read it all, but at the end of the last volume I read, that character, a gay man, ends up in a loveless heterosexual marriage because there just aren’t enough people on the spaceships the central characters are getting on board to be able to sustain the population if he doesn’t do his reproductive duty).

    [Edit - and also, the alien adversaries in Ender's Game are in all seriousness called 'buggers'. He could easily have picked a name that wasn't also a derogatory term for gay men in maost of the English speaking world (although not in the USA as far as I know - but I doubt he can convincingly plead ignorance there).]

  • DavidMHart

    If you espouse the worst of your church’s attitudes becuase you are a member of that church, that doesn’t get you off the hook. Millions of Catholics either explicitly reject, or simply ignore, their leadership’s intolerant pronouncements on homosexuality, reproductive rights, contraception etc. Lay Mormons are just as capable of recognising when their leadership is espousing bigotry, and we should call them out when they fail to do so.

    As long as it is made clear to Card that those who are boycotting his movie are doing so because of his anti-gay agenda, rather than his membership of a church that has some anti-gay positions that are no less likely to shift in time like their position regarding black people or polygyny, then no one can call that anti-Mormon bigotry.

  • gimpi1

    I really like your last paragraph. I have tried to explain to any number of people the difference between believing something and passing laws about it.

    You can believe whatever you want. Society only has the right to pass laws based on what can be proven to be harmful. Can’t prove that something causes harm to society as a whole? Then you can’t regulate that behavior. You can disapprove all you want. You just can’t control.

    What’s so complicated about that?

  • smrnda

    “Mountain out of a mole hill?” I doubt you’re a GLBTQ person since if someone is advocating throwing *you* in jail, while I am not and have not been advocating throwing them in jail, it seems like I’ve always been giving people like Card tolerance and they’ve never given me any.

    I can extend tolerance to people who disagree with me so long as they haven’t advocating persecuting me. Should I be extending tolerance to someone who advocates throwing Jews in concentration camps (I’m Jewish so I picked that one) just because it isn’t likely to happen?

    You’re making it sound as if these things are symmetric. No, they are not.

  • smrnda

    Good point. I mean, I’ve always extended conservative religious types the exact courtesy and tolerance they’ve extended me. I think their marriages based on gender stereotypes, male insecurity and female submission are revolting and disgusting, but I have not attempted to ban such unions. However, they have always wanted to prevent my egalitarian same-sex union from being legally recognized.

    In other words, I have already given Card the tolerance I expect from him. People like him have never reciprocated.

  • tyler

    you appear to be either attempting to conflate opposition to homophobia with opposition to mormonism, or else you appear to be arguing that protesting homophobia is immoral unless every example of homophobia is protested with exactly the same force and vigor. both are extremely disingenuous positions to argue.

  • smrnda

    I accept the thinking of religious people, but I do not put money in the collection plate at a church since I’m not going to support them with my $$$.

    Likewise, I’m not going to support a business with my $$$ if I don’t like their opinions. I am entitled to free consumer choice, right? I don’t have to see movies, eat chicken sandwiches made by any vendors.

    By that logic, everybody is entitled to me spending money at their business. That’s absurd.

  • gimpi1

    I think you can make a case that Mr. Card’s past statements are pretty beyond the pale. If someone wants to avoid enriching him, I don’t have a problem with that. I also don’t have a problem with someone who is willing to let bygones be bygones. I, personally,hope Mr. Card has, or will have, a bit of an epiphany on this subject. Finding one’s self on the losing side of history can make that happen.

    I wonder, however, If you would be encouraging the same tolerance if Mr. Card had advocated, for example, a return to Jim Crow laws. He also couldn’t make that fly. Should people just “agree to disagree” about re-instituting segregation? I’m old enough to remember when ending segregation was just as, if not more, controversial than marriage equity. There people who would make racial integration illegal, like it was in “the good ole days.” Should we just say, “So what?” If not, why is it different?

  • Bill Boling

    Ok, let get this straight, you’re going to not go to the movie, but it sound as if you have read the book. Is that right?

    So you were willing to spend money on the book, but now will not spend money on the a movie of the book! humm… Not judging, do what you wish. I will only propose that there are always someone somewhere the is of the same mind as Mr Card, that has produced some produce that you have purchased and that has benefited their point of view.

    When watching a movie or show, I am not making any kind of statement of my viewpoint one way or the other. Just as I read any book, I’m not endorsing the book that I’m reading. Just as when you read the Christian Bible or Koran. You are not endorsing their point of view! So why would my watching a movie that happened to be created using Mr Card’s book as it’s bases, be in anyway endorsing his point of view.

    It would be a better use of time, to just argue or debate his viewpoint showing where he has it wrong. Work at discrediting his underlying thought processes.

    Boycotting only really works where you have a majority, there by creating pressure and threatening his livelihood.

  • smrnda

    i should have said I’ve extended them the courtesy i would like them to extend me. they haven’t reciprocated.

  • Marcion

    Reading some of these comments, I think any article or blog post related to bigotry should start something like this:

    “Note to commenters: Freedom of speech refers to a relationship between a state and its citizens, not between private individuals and organizations. Disagreeing with someone’s views, whether morally condemning them or taking non-violent actions such as boycotting a business, does not interfere with someone’s freedom of speech.”

    It would probably save a lot of hassle.

  • James_Jarvis

    I love Orson Scott Card’s early work but over the years his writing has become less and less appealing. There is a tension in early his that has totally disappeared in his most recent work. I think the tension found in his early work was a result of his struggling with being a part of a conservative religion that he found stifling and at odds with the angels of his better nature. Once he embraced the more conservative aspects of Mormonism his work lost the tension that gave his early work so much power.

  • David Andrew Kearney

    But you’re still equivocating on the term “tolerance.”

  • http://sopheliajapan.blogspot.jp/ Sophelia

    But does he speak for the “franchise”? How many people were involved in the film? When Card speaks about his political opinions that isn’t related to his fiction let alone speaking “for” everyone involved in creating the film. I did a stage play in high school; the author of the script doesn’t speak “for” me when discussing unrelated political topics. Is Card actually using money raised specifically from the film to campaign against marriage equality? If so, that would be a different issue.

  • http://sopheliajapan.blogspot.jp/ Sophelia

    Ugh, just read through some of the other comments and I want to make it really clear that I am NOT trying to argue that what Card has said is in any way OK or that it should not be combated. I’m just trying to figure out whether boycotting the movie is an appropriate way to do that.

  • http://blu28.wordpress.com/ Brian Utterback

    Haven’t read Songmaster or Homecoming, so I may be wrong there. I have read a lot of his other works and I never saw a hint of an anti-gay position. I can’t really say that the story ending you described strikes me as a hateful one towards gays either, any more than the gay population in Forever Way is hateful against hetrosexuals. And really, I would be inclined to discount the use of the word “bugger” in the story. I just looked at the definition of the word, and in America at least the word has an awful lot of other meanings that make it appropriate in this context. Specifically, I never thought of the derogatory term for a gay man when I read the story even though I was indeed aware of that usage when I read it.

    I am not saying any one should see the film that doesn’t want to, for whatever reason. I just don’t see the point in this case, unless you believe that Card is going to continue fighting against gays.

  • http://blu28.wordpress.com/ Brian Utterback

    Tyler, yes, I am trying to conflate opposition to homophobia with opposition to Mormonism and I don’t find it disingenuous at all, I find it virtually a requirement if you are going to be honest.

    DavidMHart, you are essentially saying to Card, “either stop being a devout Mormon or I will actively work to deny you your livelihood by calling for a boycott of your works.”

    Now, given that this is the Daylight Atheism blog, I am sure there are any number of people here that would be fine with fighting against any religion that espoused a position that we would deem hateful, but that isn’t supporting freedom of religion. My point from the very beginning has been that you are either being a hypocrite by supporting some people and not others that have the same beliefs that you find abhorrent or you can fight against religions that take positions that you find abhorrent, or you can tolerate then in the name of religious freedom. And once again, I am talking about what they believe, not what they do in relation to what you actually do, not just believe.

  • smrnda

    If I knew more about the policies and opinions of the people running different businesses, I might be boycotting a lot more of them. Boycotting isn’t an all or none proposition – it’s something you do when you think it will have an effect.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    I disagree. Even if Card was paid a flat fee, the success or failure of this movie will do a lot to determine whether future adaptations of his work are likely to get made. I want studios and others to take away the message that association with bigotry is a losing proposition.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Yes, exactly. If Card were apologetic about his past bigotry, if he no longer supported those harmful views, that would be one thing. But his statement, as written, implies only that he intends to go down fighting.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Ok, let get this straight, you’re going to not go to the movie, but it sound as if you have read the book. Is that right?

    No. I haven’t read the book either.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    My point is that it is reasonable to fight against *actions*. But if you are fighting against beliefs, then you are fighting against *thoughts* and those who hold a particular belief, i.e. an entire denomination.

    So be it. I see no basis for the distinction you’re trying to draw. Bigoted beliefs don’t become more acceptable because they’re held by a formal, organized church structure rather than an otherwise unaffiliated mass of individuals.

    To fight against someone who is merely adhering to the tenets of their religion is simply religious intolerance, plain and simple.

    No, it’s not. Religious intolerance would be advocating that members of a certain religion should have fewer legal rights than everyone else. I’m advocating that Mormons should have the same rights as everyone else, i.e., the lack of a right to impose their religious beliefs on others through law.

  • Leeloo Dallas Multipass

    I wouldn’t say that they should get a pass — I’m definitely in favor of challenging the views even of younger believers. But, knowing what I know about how many religions believe in insulating their children from everything outside of the religion, I’m more inclined to attribute horrible views to simple ignorance. Many of them are have been given information that was simply wrong, by people they were raised to trust, and haven’t had the experiences that would give them a chance to learn otherwise yet. So I absolutely think they should be challenged, but I don’t have the same negative opinion about them that I would about someone whose ignorance was willful.

  • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

    Tolerance does not mean, to me, respect or acceptance, but merely legal allowance. Card is permitted, as he should be, under freedom of speech to promulgate his views. We are permitted to criticize them, and boycott this film. We must, in a free society, tolerate his views in the sense of his having the freedom to voice them, but in every other way can reject and make our disrespect for them well known.

  • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

    The First Amendment requires us to not outlaw his belief. It does not require that we like it. Freedom of speech allows us to be completely intolerant in every other manner of him, and Card us. He exercises his personal freedom of speech to make such statements, now we are doing that in return.

  • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

    Card in the past has denounced such lay Mormons as not being “real” ones, including the gays among them. Not surprising, I suppose.

  • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael

    Not to mention Hamlet’s Father, his retelling of Hamlet, where the titular Hamlet’s father is a pedophile whose rape of him and several other characters apparently turns them gay (a theory of Card’s on how people become this way).

  • Parse

    I’ve read the book, and I’m not planning on watching the movie.
    You can only make decisions on the information you currently have. When I got the book, years ago, I wasn’t aware of his views. I am now.

    I’m afraid I don’t see the point of your proposition (“there are always someone somewhere the is of the same mind as Mr Card, that has produced some produce that you have purchased and that has benefited their point of view.”). Because I’ve unknowingly supported financially people with odious views, I shouldn’t have an issue supporting them once I do know about their views? I can’t base a decision on information I don’t even know I’m missing.

    When you go to a movie, buy a book, or see a show, the statement you’re making is “I’m supporting this financially.” And the primary thing the studios behind the movie care about – especially for summer blockbuster movies – is whether or not it’s financially successful. They don’t care about seeing Mr. Card’s viewpoint argued or debated. They don’t care if his underlying thought processes are discredited. They just care if the movie is profitable. If it’s a success, they may look at adapting other works of his. Or, more importantly, if it’s not a success (or at least, not enough of a success), they’ll look for reasons why, and they’ll see talk of the boycott – enough talk that Mr. Card has already put out a statement in response to it. They’ll hopefully think, “Hey, people didn’t go because the big name author behind it is actively anti-GLBT, we should try not to make that mistake again.”

  • Sterling Ericsson

    He is, in the sense that any money he earns is likely used as a part of NOM’s campaigning, considering he is a board member of the group.

  • UWIR

    While individuals employees may share Adam’s values, the company as whole does not, or else it would not be buying the rights. If there was a flat fee, the calculations of it surely included the anticipated number of customers.

  • Nonnie

    The book was published in the mid 80s…..

    I can think of a wide variety of ways someone could reasonably have read the book in the ensuing 25+ years and yet still wish not to see the film. (They didn’t know about Card’s views, Card hadn’t made his views public yet, they only became pro-gay marriage in the last couple decades, etc)

    Or maybe they borrowed the book from the library or a friend, got it as a gift, or read a pirated copy on their kindle (and so didn’t spend any money on it).

    What a goofy argument.

  • J-D

    I suspect that Bianca Bradley is referring to ‘destroy that government
    and bring it down’ as ‘a few bits of hyperbole’, and given Card’s
    reaction to judicial defeat, it looks as if he never really did
    literally mean ‘destroy that government and bring it down’. All he
    literally meant, it seems, was ‘complain’.

    Personally, when
    somebody says ‘destroy that government and bring it down’ but actually
    only means ‘complain’, I see a posturing blowhard, which does have its
    comical aspect.

  • UWIR

    Your assumption that Adam (I’m not clear on what protocol is applicable here, but referring to blogger by their first names seems to be de rigueur) has paid for the book is flawed, not only in assuming that he has read the book, but in assuming that one must buy a book in order to read it. There are establishments known as “libraries” in pretty much every city in which one can access books and other media for free. “Ender’s Game” would be rather high on a list of books that I would expect to find in a library.

    Boycotting can be a moral stance, even if it does not affect anyone’s actions. It can also get the issue more attention.

  • DavidMHart

    ‘Religious freedom’ is a very tricky concept. I challenge you to think of any form of religious freedom that we ought to promote that cannot be subsumed under a widely supported secular freedom.

    For example: freedom to believe in your god or gods is a subset of freedom of conscience. Freedom to meet for worship is a subset of freedom of assembly. Freedom to preach your religious message is a subset of freedom of speech.

    However, freedom to keep gay people in a state of second-class citizenship is not a subset of any secular freedom that I would want to advocate. I think you’ll find that any demand for a specific religious freedom that cannot be subsumed under the heading of a secular freedom will turn out, on closer inspection, to be a demand for religious privilege. The religious privilege Card seems to be demanding is to not have to face the social consequences of promoting the bigoted beliefs he thinks his church requires. If he were saying he thought gay people should be second class citizens just because he personally found gay people icky, no one would have a problem with him being called out on it, or advocating the boycotting of his movie.

    Why should the fact that he happens to hold those beliefs because he is a devout Mormon change the position? It’s not his Mormonism per se that he’s taking flack for, it’s his position vis-a-vis homosexuality, and given how flexible the Mormon church has been about other supposedly non-negotiable bigotries it once espoused, there is no reason to let people use it as an excuse to be inflexible about this particular bigotry.

  • Crimson

    From Adam’s own link in his article: “As proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community, champions of films ranging from Gods and Monsters to The Perks of Being a Wallflower and a company that is proud to have recognized same-sex unions and domestic partnerships within its employee benefits policies for many years, we obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage,” Lionsgate wrote in a statement. The studio pledged to host a benefit premiere for Ender’s Games upporting LGBT causes.

  • http://blu28.wordpress.com/ Brian Utterback

    Now you are starting to get my point. You are right, freedom to keep gays in a state of second class citizenship is not a subset of any secular freedom. But what about freedom to think that they should be kept as second class citizens?

    And my point is that if we value freedom of religion, then yes, people who hold religious based convictions should be allowed extra leeway for believing in them. Acting on them is a different story, especially if those action impinge on the freedoms of others.

    For instance, if a religious person fights against equal rights for gays because: 1. That person believes that gays will go to hell because that is what his religion believes and 2. That granting equal rights for gays will encourage gays to live a gay life style and thus be consigned to hell, then that religious person may be acting out of compassion. So, does that person deserve our animosity even if we think those ideas are whacked?

    Furthermore, if you try to educate that person so he will not believe and behave that way, aren’t you, in that person’s world view attempting to corrupt him and likewise consign him to hell? Doesn’t he then have a right to actively resist you? If not, then I claim you are infringing on his religious rights. Most of us in this forum would prefer that religions have less influence over time, but to we want this to happen by oppressing religions?

  • LouisDoench

    I’d like to point out that the book itself is almost 40 years old at this point. I read it when I was 20, back in 1988. Long before Card’s noxious views became an issue.

  • LouisDoench

    If it makes anyone feel better at all, as someone who thoroughly enjoyed Ender’s Game as a young adult (I’ve probably read it 3 or 4 times) I can assure you that from what I have seen from the trailers this movie is going to suck ginormous donkey balls. The Hobbit pt 2 will be out around the same time. Save your gold pieces for that.

  • tyler

    there is no oppression in calling out someone’s hateful beliefs for what they are. the label of religion does not suddenly make your beliefs free from criticism and it is the attitude that it does that causes the phenomenon of religious privilege.

    card can go right ahead and say whatever he wants but i am not obligated to agree with him, to support him, to give him a platform to dispense his views, or to otherwise put my own personal safety on the line in the name of your farcical interpretation of tolerance. go ahead and believe that gays are the devil but don’t be surprised if the gays and anybody with half a conscience won’t give you the time of day.

    incidentally, my religion does not permit me to allow people to support people and institutions that vilify homosexuality if i can help it, so please stop persecuting me and oppressing my religion.*

    *sarcasm again, but perhaps you should think hard about whether or not that changes anything.

  • GCT

    I don’t think you actually understand what “tolerate” means. And David Hart points out that you don’t understand what “religious freedom” means, so perhaps you should work on that.

  • Jason Wexler

    Maybe he is suggesting that in this day and age, before we make a purchase or a selection at a library we should do a complete biographical and news search on google and Wikipedia and any other political sites that we get our propaganda from about the creators of that product. That way we know if we want to implicitly endorse their views by making use of their product. Of course in my case I didn’t buy Ender’s Game or other Ender books I borrowed them from the library, and I did so more than 20 years ago, so before there was a Google and a Wikipedia and in my case before I had internet. Your points remains and they are exceptional!

  • Jason Wexler

    Or create new hassles when people who don’t agree with that definition try to argue with it.

  • Jason Wexler

    I have to admit I am rather conflicted on this one… I also read and enjoyed the Ender books, and especially liked the anti-militarism twist at the end of Ender’s Game. However, I am also gay and find Orson Scott Card’s personal views particularly noxious. There is also the fact that I typically just don’t go to movies especially ones based on books I liked. Which would seem to add up to me not going to see the movie (especially given your review of what’s in the trailers), but I am kind of skeptical of this boycott precisely because I did like Ender’s Game, I think it had redeeming qualities and because it as a story on its own isn’t particularly anti-gay.

  • Bdole

    When I read the book, gay marriage wasn’t even on the radar, much less Card’s opinion about it.
    Sometimes writers, actors, or whoever get famous while not being huge pricks, then start going conservanuts when their position is secure. Same thing with Mel Gibson. I enjoyed his movies, he gets famous and then starts spewing anti-Semitic bullshit.

  • Pattrsn

    Fighting against religious intolerance is a form of religious intolerance? Hmm, reminds me of an earlier post where someone claimed that intolerance of hate mongering is a form of hate mongering.

    False equivalency seems to be the default position of Card defenders.

  • Bdole

    A lot of people confuse the law with personal moral standards of behavior. They think the law needs to be morality codified. They confuse the government with their god.

  • tyler

    right i gotcha no worries

    pragmatically, a boycott is the right thing to do. every movie flop is another reason for a CEO to say they want nothing to do with homophobia or those that actively support homophobic causes. as these causes are marginalized society as a whole becomes less homophobic.

    morally, it’s worth noting that lionsgate is actively /pro/-gay, and is frantically working to make amends for giving card a platform. obviously this is due primarily to the response to card’s views, but lionsgate is listening and getting the message that anti-gay is unacceptable. if you’re an ends-justifies-the-means type, a major flop for ender’s game will be a weighty (and easy) example for other companies in addition to lionsgate that supporting such people is unprofitable. plus it’s not like lionsgate is going to go under for one failed movie. on the other hand, as i said, lionsgate is working hard to /not/ be anti-gay in spite of card, and as i understand it they’re going so far as to organize screenings for the benefit of lgbtq groups, which is a good thing. does lionsgate deserve to be punished for the things card says? maybe not. myself, i will not be seeing ender’s game and will be asking other people not to see it. but, i fully intend to see other lionsgate films in the future.

  • Jay, King of Gay

    Tolerance requires that he be allowed to speak, which he has. But tolerance, and not even the 1st Amendment requires anyone to listen.

  • Jay, King of Gay

    “Intolerance of intolerance is bullcrap” shows you just don’t understand HOW tolerance works.

    Tolerance only works if everyone participates. You receive tolerance if you give tolerance. It depends upon this reciprocity.

    Being intolerant of intolerance is giving what you are receiving. It is NOT hypocrisy, it is self-defense.

    Being tolerant of intolerance is suicide.

    Card doesn’t “merely disagree” he’s actively working against equality by being on the Board of Directors for NOM, that’s a leadership and strategy position.

    We can be tolerant of his words, at least the ones that aren’t about jailing gay people and overthrowing the government.

    But his actions cannot be tolerated, for that would mean surrendering to him.

  • Jay, King of Gay

    FYI, there is, in fact, an app designed to give consumers research on where exactly their money goes when they buy product xyz, so yes, it’s actually possible for people to do this easily and quickly.

    Why should we draw a line? How about the line being up to the individual to determine where and when they spend their hard earned money? That seems quite reasonable.

  • Jay, King of Gay

    not just his money though. Board Members are in leadership roles, and decide strategy and where an organization spends it’s time and efforts.

  • Jay, King of Gay

    Here’s an example of tolerance, one that I think illustrates how it actually works.

    I firmly disagree with Alcoholics Anonymous(AA). I think they are mistaken in telling people they have a disease and are helpless. I think they’re replacing 1 crutch with a different crutch.

    HOWEVER, AA has taken zero steps to outlaw drinking. They have done zero protests of drinking. They do not go into the public square and declare that everyone should stop drinking. Their organization is entirely focused on their members. They do not get involved in policy debates, they do zero fundraising, they write zero letters to the editor, I don’t even think they have a national spokesperson because they never send anyone to the media to be interviewed. They avoid limelight, they don’t issue public statements. They don’t turn every drunken fatality into an indictment of drinking, they’ve taken zero steps to outlaw drinking. They also don’t criticize other efforts people might take to stop drinking.

    And, since they TOLERATE drinking, and other quitting techniques, even though they don’t particularly care for it, I also tolerate them. We completely disagree on how problem drinking should be handled, yet they focus their efforts on helping those that come to them, not on making changes to public policy or even public opinion — I haven’t lifted a finger to stop AA. I haven’t even suggested that anyone SHOULD stop them.

    I’ve disagreed, I’ve said I disagreed, and I’ve left it at that.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    or waiting until he dies and then buying the book?

    That’s not necessary. You could check the book out from a public library. Or, as I do with creationist books, you could buy it at a used book sale. That way none of your money goes to the author or publisher.

  • smrnda

    I am a citizen of the US. So far, nobody from another country making criticisms of the US has demanded that I renounce my citizenship just because my country has done bad things since they realize that, within the country, I’m permitted to dissent both from official policy and popular opinion.

    There’s also a massive difference in believing homosexuality is a sin and thinking it should be illegal, the same way there’s a huge difference between thinking doing drugs might be a bad idea and that it should be a criminal offense. Telling people that drinking alcohol is unhealthy or risky or immoral is not the same as advocating prohibition.

  • Azkyroth

    Are you perhaps under the impression that the trolls are honestly mistaken on this point?

  • Mark Harmon

    I don’t care whether Adam Lee attends or not – I will be in line to see this film as soon as I can. If it is well done I will likely see it several times, taking friends and family with me. I will also, most probably, buy the Blu Ray disc when it is available.

  • http://avoiceinthewilderness-mcc1789.blogspot.com/ Michael


  • Minjae_Lee

    I’m with you, Mark. I’ve been waiting a long time to see this book made into a movie.

  • gimpi1

    I agree, Bdole. I have discussed this with such people for years, to no affect. My basic idea is that you can believe whatever you choose, but you can only pass laws based on what you can prove to be harmful to society as a whole.

  • JohnE_o

    I’ll send a truckload of tolerance to Card, but I won’t spend a single penny on any project associated with him.

  • Nicholas Reed

    I just don’t think a company can purchase an anti-gay indulgence by having a little PR-motivated fundraiser for LGBT causes. The good doesn’t wash out the bad, and no matter how publicly they repudiate Card’s views, they are still paying him and raising his public profile. I do think that’s unacceptable.

  • Nicholas Reed

    I think it does a disservice to the LDS church to claim that Card is just reflecting the teachings of his church. While the church is plainly bigoted against LGBT people, they certainly aren’t advocating for sodomy laws or violent revolutions against governments that treat gay people as “equal and acceptable citizens” (his own words; he is not just opposed to same-sex marriage – and I think saying gay people are categorically unworthy of not living and dying alone is pretty heinous in and of itself – he is opposed to gay people being in any way acceptable in decent society. He thinks we ought to either be closeted and silent, or rotting in jail. He may use his church as an excuse, but this is clearly well beyond the scope of its anti-gay teachings.

  • Nicholas Reed

    I usually point out that belief alone is never a valid basis to limit someone else’s freedom. No matter how fervently you may believe your neighbour is a murderer, you can’t actually send him to jail until you prove that beyond all reasonable doubt in a court of law. Likewise, it is not appropriate to mobilize the violent coercion of the law against lgbt people and their families unless you can prove your belief that they are harmful to society beyond all reasonable doubt.

  • gimpi1

    Yes, Nicholas. exactly. Why is this so hard to get across, in what is supposed to be a free society? And why do so many people seem to believe that if they don’t have the ability to control the actions of others, somehow their rights are being violated?

  • gimpi1

    I hadn’t thought of this, James, but I think you’re right. His earlier work is much deeper, more edgy and not so formulaic. It could be because he is no longer conflicted about his beliefs.

    Doubt and conflict often feed the creative fires. Losing them can take the edge off that creative spirit. Good point.

  • gimpi1

    Well said.

  • Azkyroth

    Except, of course, for the people in AA who are focused on other members’ children, and the whole Al-Anon satellite organization thing…

  • smrnda

    There’s also the issue that people get forced into AA or other 12 step programs through court referrals.

  • B-Lar

    YES! Give the tools for consumers to make informed decisions to the consumers who care. This will be the future of everyday activism and it gives me a morality boner.

  • B-Lar

    And lo, Mankind created the internet and content flowed freely. Everything that could be copied was copied, and the holy grail of boycott was born. Those who choose the way of piracy can have content without cost AND be morally upstanding!

  • David Simon

    That sounds really cool, what’s the app called?

  • Bdole

    The boycott is one tool that I think gets overused. Usually, there are just too many other people involved in any large endeavor for boycotts to mean much to the one/few individuals you’re targeting.

    Case in point: One of my friends who’s gay mentioned the other day that he and others eat chick-fil-a a lot. I was incredulous, at first, until I learned that the particular franchisee was a big supporter of equality.

    Likewise, what’s the point of staying away from a movie where the production company, the actors, and most sundry participants PROBABLY agree with you? A little extra awareness? I don’t think marriage equality is suffering from a lack of attention these days.

  • Tony Thompson

    When Card repudiates his views, understands how harmful they were, vows to work in support of LGBT causes, and demonstrates through his actions that he has changed, THEN snd only then will I show any measure of support or accept any apology. Until such time Captain Bigot can remain boycotted.

  • Tony Thompson

    Adams boycott can have more effects than limiting the funds in OSCs pocket. By drawing attention to his odious viewd, as well as expressing disdain for them, Adam adds his voice to a growing number of people who refuse to remain silent on issues of social justice. This is what we need. If we cannot persuade people out of their harmful beliefs, we can make them social pariahs.
    Also, if more people can see Cards views and boycott and/or spread the message who knows what effect that could have on others with those views. Awakening empathy in others or causing some people to develop a social awareness or causing some to become activists or even just having LGBT readers see clear support from an ally can all be reasonably expected outcomes.

  • Tony Thompson

    He may be conceding defeat, but he does not understand why he is wrong. Nor has he made attempts to repair the damage he has done.
    Also, I am sick of this ‘tolerate all beliefs’ meme. Not all beliefs are reasonable to hold. Not all beliefs are respectable. If you advocate for any group of people to be criminalized, when those people cause no harm to others, your disgusting, barbaric views should be condemned. Vocally. Publically. You should be ostracized. Only when you renounce those views, come to accept you were wrong, and work at undoing harm you caused should you be accepted again. And no, treating someone as a social pariah is not disproportionate punishment

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

    Well, you can always do what I did for “Expelled”: buy a ticket for another movie at the multiplex and then go into the one you want to see.

  • http://sopheliajapan.blogspot.jp/ Sophelia

    I’m with David Simon, that sounds amazing! What’s the app?

  • http://sopheliajapan.blogspot.jp/ Sophelia

    Thanks for responding. Yes, I think drawing the distinction between the film studio and the specific film is particularly important in this instance.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    There’s an app called Buycott, I think that might be what Jay was referring to.

  • Jay, King of Gay

    don’t know the name, but this might help

  • Gregory Lynn

    I personally plan to wait until Ender’s Game has been out on DVD long enough to be available secondhand. That way, I get to enjoy the fictional world Card created without supporting his intolerant views.