Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Orson Scott Card and Homophobia

You may have seen a few articles about Orson Scott Card around the internet. The movie adaptation of his novel, Ender's Game, is due in theaters in a couple of months and groups are calling for boycotts, letters, and protests because Orson Scott Card doesn't believe in gay marriage. He not only is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ for Latter-Day Saints {notoriously part of the effort behind Proposition 8 in California and decidedly unfriendly to gay marriage} but was also on the board of the National Organization of Marriage.

As a pro-gay marriage reader, where does that leave me? Or you? Should we stop reading Card's books? Should we all discard Ender's Game, and Pathfinder, and Enchanted? Is buying his books supporting his beliefs? Is it wrong to stop financially supporting someone because of what they believe? Is it wrong not to?

I struggled with these hard questions. I'm sure the answer I've decided upon won't be popular. And yet, I believe it is fair.

It is unAmerican to stop supporting authors because of their beliefs {and to a certain extent, I believe the same of business boycotts as well}. I disagree, loudly, with Mr. Card. I cannot fathom how he believes what he does. The NOM is simply incomprehensible to me because I simply don't get how seemingly intelligent and well-adjusted people can believe the things they believe and say the things they say on a legal level. Certainly we are all entitled to our ideas of how we conduct our private lives, but I personally don't understand people who try and write that personal code into law for others.

Yet, I hold many beliefs, and I trust that the people I work for judge me based on the job I do, not on which party I generally side with, or what my thoughts are on hot-button issues. Of course, in some jobs it *does* matter. I will never get why pro-life folks want to work at Planned Parenthood. It seems counter-intuitive, right? Likewise, though I am good at being camp administrative staff and my background is summer youth programs, I would NOT apply for one at a religious Christian camp. Some jobs just don't fit your personal moral or religious code.

Mr. Card, however, is not in a positions like those. He is an author, and a very good one. I enjoy his books, and so do a lot of other people. He does his job well, and cannot be faulted for having opinions and expecting for people to judge and buy his novels based on his writing and stories. 

Think of it this way: would you consider it acceptable to interrogate a teacher on her personal beliefs if she did not share them with her students? Would you consider it acceptable to do the same to a contractor on your home or the person selling you ice cream? Probably not. If Mr. Card wrote a book about this topic, in which he explicitly shared his beliefs, I would absolutely advocate not buying that book if that is your choice. But, to do so for unrelated novels and then further a movie adaptation to those novels seems to be a far reach.

Having said this, I also think the most productive way to combat opinions you disagree with is to be an advocate. The $5 {maybe} that ends in Mr. Card's pockets is not going to limit him much if you don't watch his movie. You know what will? Showing class, rallying, and working for what you believe in with organizations who promote your cause. I, myself, am an Ally and I donate to organizations which help further equality for everyone. That goes much farther, in my opinion, than refusing to buy a novel or see a movie and then telling everyone why.

What are your thoughts? Will you see the new movie adaptation of Ender's Game? Will you boycott?


  1. I don't go out of my way to monetarily support people/things I don't agree with. If you are outspoken against something I feel strongly for I don't buy it. There's a local business who has great pizza but they are a family in politics who strongly disagree with public school teachers (um my job) so no, I do not support them through buying their pizza anymore I've also never read any of his books because 1) they hold no interest to me and 2) I do not like his viewpoints so, no. and no, I will not be going to see his movie.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I completely understand not giving money to someone who you don't support. I didn't each Chick-fil-A for awhile, and I refuse to shop at Wal-mart. For me, it comes down to a few things: 1) Is this an individual or a business? Wal-mart makes is a practice to out-source, use child labor, and discriminate against women. Consumer power is a big deal, and my not shopping there, combined with others doing the same can make a big difference. If it's an individual who works somewhere or contracts out (like Mr. Card) I tend to respect those beliefs. 2) What is the power of this person? Mr. Card is outspoken, but he doesn't really use the power of his fame to make the points he makes. He just believes them and works for them which is really not different than what I do (except, I think I'm right). I used to live in a town where the people were overwhelmingly not of my political persuasion and many were outspoken. If I stopped frequenting local businesses because of the owners politics, I'd have nowhere to go! And, most of those people were good people, who just thought differently than I did. I fully believe in attracting more flies with honey.

      That being said, if I were in your shoes, I probably wouldn't go to that pizza parlor either, and that is 100% every citizen's right (and responsibility) to be vocal and use their money to voice their preferences.