Science Fiction Author Orson Scott Card has long come under fire for his opposition to marriage equality and his vigorous, violent opposition to homosexuality. This years release of the film adaptation of Card’s most famous book Enders Game, has come at a time when the call for social and marriage equality has never been more in the publics eye, and as a result, those who find the authors religious and social beliefs abhorrent have been louder than ever in their calling for a boycott of the movie Ender’s Game.
Orson Scott Card, for those who don’t know is, among other things, a Mormon, a pretty darn good Science Fiction Author and a very passionate opposer of homosexuals and their right to marry. So passionate that he actually advocated a violent revolution of the government in order to prevent gay marriage.
How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn. Source.
But then maybe this is simply because as he sees it, homosexuality is a merely a result of trauma:
many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse. Source.
Now Mr Card is a man of his word and puts his money right where his mouth is. in 2009 he was made a member of the board of directors of the National Organisation for Marriage, or NOM. The deliciously acronymed NOM is a group that actively campaigns against same-sex marriage. A quote from their website tell us what they imagine will happen if same-sex couples are allowed to marry:
Based on what has already happened elsewhere, we predict that people of faith will face lawsuits, lose contracts, be denied employment and be forced to stop providing goods and services. Charities will be forced to close.
Thats right, same-sex marriage will close your charities.
But with the impending cinematic release of Enders Game, Orson Scott Card has realised that his anti-homosexual stance has the potential to hit him right where it hurts the most. His bank balance. As a result he has resigned from his position at NOM and he has “softened” his position thusly:
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.
Ignoring the fact that these issues did in fact exist well before 1984, now that the Supreme Court has voted in their favour, supporters of same-sex marriage are expected to show the tolerance that was never afforded them, to those people who simply disagree with them. Somehow Orson Scott Card equates giving his money and throwing his support behind a group that actively works to stop all American citizens receiving equal rights to be a mere difference of opinion.
No, Orson, it doesn’t work like that, your intolerance does not itself demand tolerance.
I can not put it more eloquently than this:
Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. […] We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. Karl Popper 1945.
So, should we all unanimously boycott this movie because of the authors hateful opinions?
No, of course not.
History is full of bigoted, morally disgusting people who nonetheless created great and beautiful things.
- Walt Whitman considered African Americans to be “Baboons”.
- Roald Dahl was by a philandering, bigoted, misogynist.
- Richard Wagner was an anti-semite.
- George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, H.G. Wells as well as many others, were all famous proponents of eugenics.
This list could go on forever, and were we to run to the libraries and cull all the works from authors who held racist or bigoted views there would be no books left from before this century.
We all need to take a step back and remember that it is entirely possible to learn something, even to find beauty in works from people whose morality or personal beliefs sickens us to our stomach.
So will I be watching Enders Game?
No, I will be boycotting it.
Orson Scott Card was not having a mere “Disagreement” with the LGBT community as he suggests, he was actively fighting against it. He gave money and sat on the directors board of an organization that actively opposed same-sex marriage. It is not an unimaginable leap from reality to envision profits made from the Ender’s Game movie ending up supporting a hate group that is active and functioning today, be it NOM or any other anti-homosexual organization Orson Scott Card sends financial support to now or in the future.
I can in no good conscience support that, any more than I could support a movie funded by the Taliban.