I read Enders Game when it came out during high school and really enjoyed it. I mean, what young person wouldn’t – it is the story of a kid, selected from everyone else for specialized training because he was smart, who survives school bullying and goes on to save the planet! All the special little snowflakes who didn’t really fit in at school, found a bit of wish fulfillment in those pages that we, too, would be plucked from obscurity and become someone who can make a difference to the world.
Before I could get hooked on any of Orson Scott Card’s other books, though, he started making offensive remarks about people like me. Here is one of the first I ever heard:
Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but 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.” — Orson Scott Card, “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality,” Sunstone Magazine, Feb 1990
Not cool and completely unexpected. It was unfathomable to me that the author of such sweeping, speculative fiction could spout such things.
I was working at Borders Books in Rockville, Maryland at the time and I remember our discussions around the register and info desk about whether the personal lives and/or politics of an artist should have any impact on the art itself. I had a hard time making a dispassionate argument about Orson Scott Card because I had skin in the game. He was talking about me – telling me that I could not be permitted to be an equal citizen.
As time went on, he continued to make homophobic remarks (Buzzfeed and GLAAD have compiled some of his most egregious) and even went so far as to advocate overthrowing the government on the issue on marriage equality in 2008. About then is when he joined the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which has been called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Orson Scott Card got a bit of a wake up call on how it feels to be stigmatized when he was contracted to pen a Superman story. There was an uproar from fans of the comic book hero that ended only once the artist and then the publisher pulled out of the project.
That contremps was a mere tempest in a teapot compared to what he is facing by bringing his book to the big screen. Fearing that his history of bigotry might further affect his earnings, he has released a statement that we should see his movie:
Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984. 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.
That’s a fine word. Too fine for people like Orson Scott Card to try and wield like a weapon.
See, the nation has always tolerated people like Card. We even tolerate folks like Ray Green over in Lafayette, Louisiana who complained very loudly upon seeing a rainbow flag flying over a Pride event at Girard Park earlier this year.
A Korean War vet, he stated “I did not go overseas and fight for our country so that we could come back and be subject to something like that.”
Um, actually he kinda, sorta did. That whole ‘created equal’ part isn’t just for people who look, talk or think exactly like the Cards or the Greens. It is for everyone. In fact, our governmental system is predicated on tolerance.
The Founders built protections for minority rights into the constitution. The first ten amendments enumerate rights that may not be violated by the government, safeguarding the rights of the minority against the tyranny from majority rule.
I support First Amendment protections, even for those whose views I find repugnant. A person of faith has every right to believe that my expression of love is a sin and I wouldn’t want the government to do anything to prevent them from holding such views. What the government can (and should) do is ensure that they don't engage in discriminatory business practices on the basis of them.
That is at the heart of New Mexico’s highest court ruling that the owners of an Albuquerque wedding photography company violated state law when they turned away a lesbian couple who wanted to hire them to take pictures of their ceremony.
Photographers Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin “are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish,” Justice Richard C. Bosson noted in his opinion. But despite personal objections to gay marriage, the owners “must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others.” This, Bosson says, is “the price of citizenship.”
In the “world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different,” he writes. “A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less.”
Further, my voting with my pocketbook is neither oppression nor censorship. It is the free market in action.
That is why I won’t let a single dime of mine enrich Orsen Scott Card, especially when Enders Game opens in theaters on November 1st. I hope other good people decide to not give him any funds he can use to funnel into political causes whose ultimate purpose is to make people like me a second class citizen.
I’m going to be standing with a lot of other LGBT geeks and our allies who will be skipping the Enders Game movie and any merchandizing thereof. Go to Skip Enders Game to learn more.
I hope you join me.
Originally posted at my blog: Enders Game and Pride