Leave Orson Scott Card alone! *tears*

Maurine Proctor, columnist for the Mormon Meridian Magazine is very upset that Orson Scott Card (author of Ender’s Game and brazenly opposed to all things gay, the very definition of a proud bigot) is being treated like a proud bigot.

Instead it has been an opportunity for much of the press to malign him and for many, instigated by a group called Geeks Out, to push a boycott of the film. The critics, like a herd, have descended upon Card calling him a host of names.

John J. Miller said, “Many left-of-center pundits dismiss Card as a social pariah — a gay-bashing bigot and possibly even a racist — simply because he is a Mormon who has had the gall to oppose same-sex marriage.

Well…yes.  Opposing equality is pretty much the definition of bigotry.  That’s like lamenting people calling your uncle a thief just because he had the gall to steal his neighbor’s television.

The message, of course, is that because he supports traditional marriage Card is obviously controversial and worthy of marginalization, as if support of traditional marriage rendered him an odd misanthrope, a disgusting homophobe. They are saying we love the story, but hate the author–as if the story were not a product of the author’s sensibilities. Give us your gifts, his fans cry out, but we will make you pay for your views.

I’m not sure “give us your gifts” is very accurate.  He’s an author who makes a living as an author, and who made a handsome sum selling the rights for the movie (which people are, in turn, expected to pay for).  There wasn’t a whole lot of giving going on.  We paid for it, and many of us would’ve forgone his work (to avoid giving him money) if we knew that part of it may be going towards enshrining his bigotry.

And what’s more, talent and creativity are not a magical tonic that makes a person more kind.  Cruel people, hateful people, can have all kinds of talent.  This does not excuse or extinguish their rottenness.

And lastly (at least, on that paragraph), I’d like to point out the irony of a Mormon talking about traditional marriage being between one man and one woman.  As I recall Joseph Smith had 28 wives, Brigham Young had 51 wives, and Heber C. Kimball had 43 wives.  If only those men were in touch with the true nature of Mormonism.  If only they could’ve looked to the future to see what “traditional marriage” would look like.

Lionsgate pushed ‘Ender’s Game” at the Comic-con conventions in both San Diego and Salt Lake City this summer. Their program had a gaping absence. Orson Scott Card was not asked to participate. Nor has his name shown up in any prominence in the official movie trailer, which says that the film is being made based on an “international best-seller”, but omits the author’s name. That’s a little like leaving Jane Austen out of a trailer on ‘Pride and Prejudice.’

Which should demonstrate exactly how repulsive his positions on equality for LGBT people are.  The author of this article wants to gloss over the millions living in a state of inequality to paint one of the people maintaining that inequality as the victim.  I don’t buy it.  You don’t get to espouse horrid things without people feeling disgust, and it is not your right to expect as much no matter how much Jesus hates gays just as much as you do.

Card got similar treatment earlier this year when he was asked to write a story for an “Adventures of Superman” digital-first release. Immediately a petition was raised against Card. His critics said with his hateful attitude, Card could not possibly write a story about Superman, who is supposed to represent all-American values. Bigotry, they said, was not an all-American value.

And they were right.  It may be a biblical value (I use “may” very loosely here), but humanity has no use for it.  If America is truly a nation of equality, bigotry cannot be among her values.

The message is clear. If you oppose same-sex marriage you deserve to be name-called, blacklisted, stained and maligned.

You certainly deserve to be treated with the same revulsion we deploy for all other opponents of equality.  I’d say Card deserves the same disgust we reserve for the racist, at minimum.

Your views will be distorted.

Probably.  That comes with being a public figure (trust me on this).  But Card really does think gays are an abomination and he really does strongly oppose equal rights for them.  This is not a distortion.

You are free game for tomato-throwing.

I’m not sure he’s had a tomato thrown at him, but he has had plenty of people saying his opinions are laced with prejudice and that such views are cruel, both of which are true.

You will be described as hateful.

In very much the same way that water is described as wet.

You will be throttled and assaulted even by those who admire your work.

I’ve not heard of Card being assaulted.  He has been called hateful, which I don’t think is an assault (if only they called him an abomination, which Card has said of gay people, then maybe Proctor wouldn’t consider it an assault).  And many people have decided they don’t wish to spend their money on the work of a bigot.  This is their right.  It’s their money that they earned, they can spend however they wish.  But Card has not been assaulted.

Opposing same-sex marriage is an indelible stain on your character.

As maliciously as Card has gone about espousing it?  It sure is.  He’s free to be anti-gay just as others are free to be racist.  But others are free to be repulsed by those opinions and distance themselves, and to not buy your shit.

Your career will be stymied or you may be fired from your job.

Yup, just like you could be fired for a job for being publicly racist.  Of course, when a person is fired from a job for being a bigot in public, they often say they were fired for being a Christian (implying that Christianity and bigotry are intertwined).  But lots of Christians are not hateful.  Orson Scott Card is not one of them.

Once you have expressed opposition to same-sex marriage, you are forever vulnerable from assault by those who, in theory, give lip service to tolerance.

Tolerating intolerance kind of defeats the purpose.  There are lots of things even the most agreeable among us do not tolerate (murder, theft, etc.).  And we even tolerate bigots: there is no law against bigotry.  But we’re free to have a negative opinion of bigots and we’re in no way obligated to spend our money on the products of bigots.  If you say mean things, people aren’t going to like you.  This is not intolerance, it’s the golden fucking rule.

What is particularly disturbing is since many who oppose same-sex marriage do it based on their religious views, this becomes another assault specifically on biblically-based religion. It is a direct blow against publicly expressing a point of view that is motivated by religious conscience.

One can only lament, then, that we do not treat religion with the same revulsion with which we treat Orson Scott Card.  Prejudice is prejudice, whether it originates from authors of science fiction books or the authors of the bible.  It doesn’t magically become not prejudice because it’s in the bible.

And if attacking prejudice means an attack on the bible, you’ve just implied that bigotry and scripture are intertwined.  That says a lot about the bible, but it says even more about you that you rush to obey.

Orson Scott Card is not the only one abused for his views. On Aug. 30, Craig James, a former NFL running back and sports caster for ESPN and CBS was hired by Fox Sports Southwest, then fired only a few days later when his views on same-sex marriage surfaced. These were made during his failed Senate campaign last year in Texas.

You mean this Craig James who tried to spin it that he was fired for being a Christian when he was really fired for saying, in public, that a large portion of Fox Sports viewers “are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions”?  It’s not that his employer was opposed to Christians (as many Christians, I’m sure, still work there), but they are opposed to discrimination as any good person should be.

How many times such scenarios have been repeated is anyone’s guess. Such stories are surfacing everywhere, many of them much less visible than Orson Scott Card’s case. I know, for instance, of a noted professor who has written against same-sex marriage, who advised her student, “Don’t list me as a reference or you’ll never get a job.”

Yeah, people don’t like discrimination.  It’s the end of the world.

And what’s the solution?  That we should silently endure people who actively impact the happiness of others for no good reason?  That we should welcome bigotry?  That we should feel obligated to spend our money knowing it will go into the hands of someone who may apply it toward sustaining inequality?  That we shouldn’t call Card a bigot (when he clearly is)?

The noose is tightening.

The hyperbole is suffocating.

Religious freedom is contracted gradually not just by legal trampling, but also by a secular society which loudly labels certain views simultaneously religious and hateful.

Because they are both religious and hateful.  And your religious freedom is not being trampled.  It is not part of your freedom to determine where I spend my money.  It is not part of your freedom to have people not render their opinions in response to you rendering yours.

Ironically, it was Card himself who years ago described what we are seeing and he is living it:

“Anyone who opposes [same-sex marriage] will be branded a bigot; any schoolchild who questions the legitimacy of homosexual marriage will be expelled for “hate speech.

The first part is true because, well, it’s true.  The second will never happen and I’d make a very generous bet with Card that it never will.  You’re free to say hateful things in America.  This is part of freedom of speech.

But if you really want to talk about irony, look at this gem I dug out of the comments.  It comes from JoAnn Arnold:

I’m struggling to comprehend the stupidity of those who demand we live by their rules. I will definitely see this film. I have a great deal of respect for Orson Scott Card

Let the irony of that sink in for a second.  Yes, the stupidity of those who demand we live by their rules.  So we can count on your support in opposing legislation that forces gay people to live by a religious sect’s rules, right?

Of course not.  Fucking hypocrite.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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