Over the past few weeks I have published two articles surrounding author, Orson Scott Card, and one of his original novels, Ender’s Game, now being made into a major motion picture. My lack of research into the author was made quickly apparent by many of you, our loyal readers, indicating your distaste for Card and his anti-homosexual stance. Your notes and comments caused me to dig into this issue a little deeper, which in hindsight, I should have done in the first place.
I am now wrought with a personal struggle that I have yet to put my foot down on, and ultimately make a final decision as per my own feelings. While I appreciate everyone’s support, and completely agree that I should not be promoting individual’s who take an anti-homosexual stance, I also play my own personal devil’s advocate in any situation. Again, I state, I am not supporting Orson Scott Card, or his leveraging The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to promote his opposition of legalizing same-sex marriage. I want to make that clear; however, I am struggling with the strict line of extremism that I worry I may be getting dangerously close to if I/we demand a boycott of his work entirely. Here me out on this one, before you jump to commenting.
I spent some time looking around the beautiful information engine that is the Internet, and I’ll admit I was shocked at a lot of the postings I read regarding Card’s current lifestyle and anti-homosexual agenda.
The following is the snippet taken from Card’s profile on Wikipedia, focusing simply on ‘Homosexuality’:
Card has publicly declared his disapproval of homosexuality and of marriage rights for gay men and women. In 1990, Card called for laws that ban homosexual behavior to “remain on the books… to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society”, although he no longer advocates this, and argues that the 1990 stance must be seen in the context of the times (such laws were still deemed constitutional at the time) and the conservative Mormon audience to whom his essay was addressed. In 2009, Card became a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that seeks to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Card has voiced his opinion that paraphilia and homosexuality are sometimes linked. In a 2004 essay entitled “Homosexual ‘Marriage’ and Civilization”, Card wrote:
The dark secret of homosexual society — the one that dares not speak its name — is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.
Additionally, in Card’s novella Hamlet’s Father, which re-imagines the backstory of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, some claim that Card depicts the main character’s problems as being the result of his father’s activities as a gay pedophile. The novella prompted public outcry and its publishers were inundated with complaints. The trade journal Publisher’s Weekly criticized Card’s “flimsy novella” and stated that the main purpose of it was to attempt to link homosexuality to pedophilia. Orson Scott Card has responded to the claims that Hamlet’s Father links homosexuality with pedophilia, Card wrote:
…[T]here is no link whatsoever between homosexuality and pedophilia in this book. Hamlet’s father, in the book, is a pedophile, period. I don’t show him being even slightly attracted to adults of either sex. It is the reviewer, not me, who has asserted this link, which I would not and did not make.
I have been sitting here for twenty minutes starting sentences, and erasing them, then frantically typing again in a minor tirade of thoughts. While Card as a human being, and the actions he has taken against homosexuality have quickly passed into the realm of despicable in my eyes, I am forced to calm myself and inquire as to where these thoughts and actions could possibly be coming from.
Is it lack of education? That can hardly be the case as Card is a scholar who attended and graduated from two separate universities and spent one year in a Ph. D. program at the University of Notre Dame.
Is it personal experience? Unfortunately there are no recorded accounts of Card being sexually abused or molested in his life by another human being, and it would be unfair to speculate. Nor are there any records of Card wrestling with his own sexuality, which isn’t surprising.
Is it a fault of his religion? It’s easy to point a finger at the Mormon religion after their blatant promotion for the passing of Proposition 8 in the US and the opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage. But as an accomplished author, one would expect Card to be able to make his own mind up versus blindly following a religion’s beliefs. Perhaps I am completely wrong in this thought, as a man who isn’t strictly dedicated to any one religion myself I can only view the Mormon religious beliefs as an outsider. Based on the description from Card’s Wikipedia page; however, this argument does hold a lot of weight. I won’t say it’s the true and final reason, but I’m guessing his religion definitely plays a part.
Without having an exact cause of blame to pinpoint, I don’t know if I personally can implement a state of change in another human being; however, I am going to do my best to try. In an effort to fully understand Orson Scott Card, and give him the opportunity to explain his lifestyle and opinions, I am going to write to him. My words may fall short and go unanswered; however, it’s the best shot I have.
To sit here and say another man doesn’t have the right to his opinions, regardless of how fundamentally wrong we think they are, is creating an equal injustice. If the response is one of hate, then I too will side with those people willing to boycott him for his actions, and know I gave him a fair chance. If the possibility of further education around homosexuality, and a new understanding is possible, then why shouldn’t we take the higher road? My efforts may in turn be futile, but at the end of the day, I can say I made the effort to change a man’s opinion about who I am, and the life I was born to lead.
Thank you to everyone who commented on my original articles, and inspired me to act humanely. Even though Card may not deserve such treatment, we homosexuals can be a kind, loving and understanding people, no?