Orson Scott Card wrote Ender’s Game in 1985. It is, almost without question, one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written. And he’s been doing everything he can to undermine it ever since.
He’s not doing it on purpose, mind you. But the endless cash-ins on the story in the form of mostly inferior and unnecessary sequels (Ender’s Shadow excepted) haven’t exactly helped cement its legacy. Perhaps even worse than those are the man himself. Card is, to put it bluntly, kind of an asshole.
Even his assholery isn’t, in and of itself, exactly news. A lot of authors are grade-A jerks. Harlan Ellison for instance is one of the all time biggest assholes, but people are still able to acknowledge his genius. What’s really making it tough for people to keep enjoying Card’s brilliant writing is the specific focus for some of his assholery. In short, he’s a homophobe.
Card has written a variety of screeds on the subject and because this specific expression of his assholerly happens to come at a time when gay people are out there struggling for civil rights it’s caused a few people to start boycotting his work. It’s not that his actual work is homophobic, it’s not in the least, but the perception among the more extremist of political activists is that it’s not right to put money in the coffers of a guy who’s out there working actively against the civil rights of gay people.
That’s a noble idea in practice but let’s consider for a minute just why Orson Scott Card is such a homophobe. Actually, scratch that. It’ll take less than a minute. I can sum it up in one word: Mormonism.
Orson Scott Card speaks out against gay people because he’s a Latter Day Saint. He’s one of 6.3 million Latter Day Saints in the United States, worldwide more than 12 million people profess to believe that after Jesus was done with the Jews he came to hang out in the United States. The next president of the United States may even end up being a Mormon. Mitt Romney is the 2012 Republican candidate for president and yep, he too is a Latter Day Saint. Orson Scott Card isn’t even a rarity among successful authors. Stephanie Meyer, the mind behind the successful Twilight series is also a Mormon, and unlike Card her religious views are plainly evident in the subtext of her work.
Orson Scott Card is a Latter Day Saint and as an organization the Latter Day Saints have a real problem with homosexuality. The Mormon church was deeply involved in getting gay marriage banned in California, using the 10% tithe it gets from each of its members to fund an anti-gay agenda. According to the site What Mormons Believe, “The Mormon Church is firm on its position condemning homosexuality as sinful behavior.”
What I’m getting at here is that while Card states his views on homosexuality a little more vehemently and openly than the average Mormon, he’s pretty much in line with the beliefs of the other 12.3 million Latter Day Saints in the world. If you’re going to take a stance against Orson Scott Card then to be fair, you’ll have to start boycotting pretty much every other Mormon in the world too. Here’s a list of just some of the things you’ll no longer be able to enjoy if you’re intent on starting a Mormon boycott…
- The Twilight series | Written by a Mormon author. No more sparkly vampires for you.
- An American Tale | Director Don Bluth is a Latter Day Saint. Stop singing “Somewhere Out There” immediately.
- Marriot Hotels | You can’t stay at them. Owned by a Mormon. There’s always Motel 6…
- The Osmonds | Mormon. But let’s be honest you probably weren’t enjoying them anyway.
- Dell Computer | Employs several Mormon CEOs. Every time you buy a Dell you give money to a Mormon. Smash your PC and buy a Mac, right now.
- Napoleon Dynamite | Jon Heder is a serious Latter Day Saint. If you buy the DVD you’re voting for Joseph Smith, not Pedro.
- JetBlue | One of the best airlines in the world and they employ Mormon CEO’s. Every ticket you buy helps pay their salary. Sorry, you’ll have to fly Air Mexico from now on.
- Knocked Up & Grey’s Anatomy | Katherine Heigl was raised as a Latter Day Saint.
- The Republican Party | Their 2012 candidate for president is not just a Latter Day Saint but a former Church leader and the great great grandson of a polygamist Mormon apostle.
- Jeopardy | Ken Jennings dominated on Jeopardy and won tons of money. He’s a Mormon. By watching the show you helped pay him his winnings.
Let’s stop there. A complete list would, basically, be endless.
By the way, Mormons aren’t even the only religious group that takes a strong stance against homosexuality. So do Muslims and a lot of Christian groups too. What I’m getting at here is that Card doesn’t have the market cornered on assholery or homophobia. Boycotting him for basically regurgitating the stance of the organization he belongs to, only makes sense if you’re also going to boycott not only that organization as a whole but every single person who is a member of it. If you’re not going to do that, and doing so is basically almost impossible, then boycotting Card isn’t just a waste of time it’s hypocritical.
Instead of focusing on his crazy personal views, focus on his brilliant work. It’s possible to hate his beliefs but love his talent. And like a lot of wackos, Orson Scott Card is crazy talented. When Ender’s Game shows up in theaters, feel free to buy a ticket and enjoy without feeling guilty. There are other, better ways to support the civil rights of homosexuals. If you want to take a stance, take it against the organization behind Card’s anti-gay views and not just the old man mouthing its tenets.