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Shame on Orson Scott Card

February 27, 2004

In a shameful display of homophobia, Card has written an article against gay marriage, claiming that the “dark secret of homosexuality” is that homosexuals only want to get married to give themselves a false sense of normality. Card also wrote a well-publicized article back in 1990 entitled “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality,” which is even more anti-gay. Goes to prove that artistic talent and being a good person don’t always go hand in hand. Shame on him.

“Shame on Orson Scott Card”

  1. Hilary Says:

    I have to agree with you on this one. I read a book of his essays several years back, probably A Storyteller in Zion, and his views on homosexuality struck me as highly offensive. It’s so hard to listen to someone you respect say things that make you want to cry.

  2. dp Says:

    I have to disagree with you on this one. Keep in mind though, that like Card I too am a practising member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons to the uninformed). As such I congratulate Card on being true to his beliefs, despite potentially alienating much of his (predominantly non-Latter-Day Saint) fanbase. That’s what I call a good person.

  3. Librarian In Black Says:

    To love all people regardless of your differences, from what I remember of my Christian upbringing, is the chief tenet of the Christian faith. As such, I still have a problem with what he has said.

  4. Free Range Librarian Says:

    Frank Rich Hits One Out of the Park

    “Marriage, whatever the word’s separate meaning as a spiritual or religious rite, will remain a pressing constitutional issue in a country founded on equality. If marriage laws were set in stone, after all, same-race marriage would still be the only…

  5. Conservator Says:

    Answering arguments with name-calling

    ALA Councilor Karen Schneider has labeled award-winning novelist and playwright Orson Scott Card a “flaming homophobe” because Sarah Houghton of “Librarian in Black” has labeled an article by Card a “shameful display of homophobia” because Card’s ess…

  6. Curtiss Leung Says:

    I haven’t read any of novels, but his essay against gay marriage is error-ridden, ill-reasoned, and hysterical. Some of the more egregious howlers: Polygamous cultures didn’t play a role in establishing civilization? Gays can already get married by marrying someone of the opposite sex? Most people seek out someone whose personality resembles her or his parent of the opposite sex? Card’s essay is nonsense, and long winded nonsense at that.

    The fight for gay marriage is about homosexual couples—many of whom have been in stable and happy relationships for years—having the same legal benefits that straight married couples enjoy. Some easy examples: a spouse is considered one’s next of kin. If a married person falls gravely ill, decisions about her/his medical treatment fall to the spouse. If a married person dies intestate, property goes to the spouse (and I believe in some states that even when there is a will, the spouse cannot be disinherited except in unusual circumstances). Marry someone, and you are entrusting them with these—and more—rights and responsibilities in a single, convinient action. But if you’re gay….well, you’re going to have to cover all the bases explicitly. Have your partner getting everything in the will, but don’t have a durable medical power of attorney that names them? Your partner is persona non gratia if you become gravely ill. And so on.

    Maybe back in the days when subsistence agriculture was an advanced technology, insuring that adults procreated was necessary to humanity’s continued existence—Maybe. There seems to be a wealth of evidence that humans reproduce very well without coersive institutions to enforce it, thank you. But today in the United States, the cornerstone of society is individual self-determination. We are still discovering what is included in that phrase, “individual self-determination.” The battle for gay marriage shows it includes the right for adults to choose their intimates, and have that choice be respected.

  7. Mason Cole Says:

    It was my understanding, and correct me if I’m wrong, that adding the suffix “-phobia” to a word meant that you were afraid of something. Homophobia, therefore, would be the fear of homosexuals, or perhaps the act of homosexuality itself.

    After reading Card’s original article, I find no evidence to suggest that he is a homophobe. He is not attacking gays/lesbians as people, nor is he attacking the act of physical intimacy between them. Rather, he is attacking the decline of the institution of marriage in this country (which, in his view, includes the devaluation of traditional monogamy as well as the movement toward gay marriage). He also attacks the institutions–such as “activist” courts–which he sees as responsible. I suppose one could call this homophobic, if one is willing to twist the word to mean “any opposition, no matter how principled, to causes that the gay community supports.” (By the same token, I’m not a big fan of affirmative action. I must be a racist. Bad, bad me.)

    For the record, I voted against the Oklahoma constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. I did so because as a student of history, it is my studied opinion that laws which attempt to legislate morality rarely succeed, especially when passed during a period in which that behavior is still being hotly debated. In fact, they often exacerbate the problem.

    That said, the Massachusetts Supreme Court was wrong to decree that gay marriage should be legal, for the simple reason that the people were at no stage involved. Were the law passed by the legislature, the people would have the opportunity to deal with it by removing their representatives if they didn’t approve. But the people can’t remove judges. If you truly want to live in a democracy, then you can’t be in favor of lawmaking by judicial fiat.

    But the Massachusetts gay marriage decree is a good thing, you say…it’s okay to make an exception to the process for that. No, it isn’t. Because, as Card points out, what happens when–inevitably–someone you don’t like is in control of the courts? You will have conceded by your past actions that they have not only power, but precedent, to rewrite and codify societal mores as they see fit.

    Back to the article. What Card actually asserts to be the “dark secret of homosexuality” is not only that homosexuals want to live normally, but ALSO that some homosexuals were abused/molested as children, and found their current sexual orientation as a direct result of that incident. I don’t have enough knowledge of the relevant statistics to support or oppose his assertion. But assuming for a moment that he is correct, and that some members of the gay community are gay because they were mistreated as children, it is an intellectual folly and a crime against common sense to so blithely condemn Card for his assertion that some people, several decades down the road, sort of wish they hadn’t been molested.

    I am not judging whether Card is right or wrong for his beliefs. I will say that I agree with him on many points, although a few leave me a little queasy in regard to their potential implications. But it is my belief that the American people need to study homosexual marriages, and all the implications thereof, and have an INFORMED national debate on the subject before we reach a day where we can properly decide this issue one way or the other. And a blog post like this, which doesn’t even correctly represent its opponent’s views, will not make that day come any sooner.

    Sarah, shame on you. Such an erroneous mischaracterization of an argument, even one you don’t agree with, belies an astounding degree of intellectual dishonesty that ill befits a librarian.

  8. Daniel Harvey Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Mason Cole on this one. While card comes off as a bit overzelous later in his essay. He is far from “homophobic” and I do think the courts acted completely out of line.

  9. Kevin Christensen Says:

    “The hypocrites of homosexuality are, of course, already preparing to answer these statements by accusing me of homophobia, gay-bashing, bigotry, intolerance; but nothing that I have said here — and nothing that has been said by any of the prophets or any of the Church leaders who have dealt with this issue — can be construed as advocating, encouraging, or even allowing harsh personal treatment of individuals who are unable to resist the temptation to have sexual relations with persons of the same sex. On the contrary, the teachings of the Lord are clear in regard to the way we must deal with sinners. Christ treated them with compassion — as long as they confessed that their sin was a sin. Only when they attempted to pretend that their sin was righteousness did he harshly name them for what they were: fools, hypocrites, sinners. Hypocrites because they were unwilling to change their behavior and instead attempted to change the law to fit it; fools because they thought that deceiving an easily deceivable society would achieve the impossible goal of also deceiving God.

    The Church has plenty of room for individuals who are struggling to overcome their temptation toward homosexual behavior. But for the protection of the Saints and the good of the persons themselves, the Church has no room for those who, instead of repenting of homosexuality, wish it to become an acceptable behavior in the society of the Saints. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, preaching meekness while attempting to devour the flock. ”

    Taken from “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality” by Orson Scott Card

    I’m sorry but this is clearly anti-gay rhetoric. Card is an idiot who uses his religious beliefs as a smokescreen for his bigoted opinions. I mean, maybe he’s just REAALLLY misinformed but the way he refers to gays as fools and hypocrites for refusing to acknowledge their nature as a sin, makes about as much sense as trying to get an african american to acknowledge that his skin color is a sin, or a jew to acknowledge that his religion is a sin or what have you.

    “Homophobia” is kind of a blanket term bandied about to describe people with views that are anti-gay, regardless of whether they actually fear gays or not, but I think in the case of anti-gay religious rhetoric, it’s a justified application.

    I mean why the hell else would you come up guidelines for a religion that basically force people to reject their own nature if they want acceptance, unless you felt threatened by that nature in some way? And feeling threatened can always be boiled down to fear of some sort.
    Maybe it’s not obvious, over the top, nail-biting terror, but quite obviously there’s some fear mixed in there. And I think some part of Orson Scott Card is afraid too. And in this case, his fear makes him a Homophobe.

  10. alex Says:

    I agree with Card and his beliefs on the gay marriage issue and it doesn’t make him a bad person. Since when do people have to approve of what others do in the bedroom to be good people?

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