Dear Orson Scott Card: Get your religion out of my secular society

I just read this little gem, from our eminent Mormon Science Fiction Grand Master. You can tell a lot just from the title: “Hypocrites of Homosexuality.” (Thanks–or not– to PZ Myers for blogging about it first). I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been reading a lot about prejudice the last few days, what with the whole “James Watson is a flaming racist” brou-ha-ha and the dozens of moral invertebrates crawling out of their caves to defend him. (Just read the comments on that Pharyngula thread, and tell me that it doesn’t make you depressed about the possible future for fair social policy in the world and in the States.) And reading this utter bullshit from one of the most respected and beloved Science Fiction authors in the world has pushed me over the edge.

Listen, Orson Scott Card, if you want to belong to a religion so filled with racism and sexism and homophobia that it’s become sort of famous for it despite all the competition from other religions, then fine. But dear god (ha), given your position in the community, given the fact that I’m sure thousands and thousands of your fans are homosexual (or somewhere along that LGBT continuum), couldn’t you at least manage to be diplomatic? Disgusting as I usually find “love the sinner, hate the sin”‘ sort of thinking to be, it would be a vast improvement in your case. Come on, can’t you let a little light of understanding and common humanity, and, well, humility shine into that bigoted mass of neurons you use for a brain?

Am I exaggerating? Am I being too harsh? Let’s go to the source:

He begins the essay castigating those homosexual members of the Latter Day Saints church who wish that they weren’t forced to stop loving who they want to love in order to be a member (apparently a requirement).

And when I read the statements of those who claim to be both LDS and homosexual, trying to persuade the former community to cease making their membership contingent upon abandoning the latter, I wonder if they realize that the price of such “tolerance” would be, in the long run, the destruction of the Church.

Well, that sounds familiar. The fags will destroy us all, like a rot from within! But whatever, it’s his crazy church, and though I’m sympathetic with the homosexual LDS members, I don’t really understand why they even want to fight that uphill battle. Maybe the bigotry of their religious “brothers” and “sisters” ought to tell them something.

The Lord asks no more of its members who are tempted toward homosexuality than it does of its unmarried adolescents, its widows and widowers, its divorced members, and its members who never marry. Furthermore, the Lord even guides the sexual behavior of those who are married, expecting them to use their sexual powers responsibly and in a proportionate role within the marriage.

In general, I have no respect for a belief system that has to use the word “tempted” to describe following one’s natural inclinations to love. You have to wonder what he thinks of Bonobos. Homosexual/heterosexual orgies, people. They are so not getting into Heaven.

And now, look, now he infantalizes the entire LGBT community by claiming they have no control over their bodies:

In short, we recognize the principle that those who have as little control over their own behavior as small children should be treated as compassionately — yet firmly — as we treat small children.

You know, it seems to me that making a choice to live your life the way you want to in the face of such virulent hatred and contempt is a very adult decision. Far more than fearfully following the dictates of the religion in which you were reared, without ever once thinking or exploring outside of the tiny box they give you.

Now, again, as disgusting as I find his prescriptions for the treatment of homosexual behavior within his church, the attitudes are his own and don’t affect me. This is true of most religious bigotry. The problem, of course, is when they get carried away with their self-righteous fervor and want to make sure that the rest of us–who don’t want to have anything to do with their religion–behave according to “god’s will.”

So after supporting public condemnation of homosexuals within the church (scarlet letter “g”, the new fashion statement), he goes on to say:

This applies also to the polity, the citizens at large. 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.

Furthermore, if we allow ourselves to be intimidated by our fear of the world’s censure into silence in the face of attempts by homosexuals to make their sin acceptable under the laws of the polity, then we have abandoned our role as teachers of righteousness.

Well, isn’t that something. It doesn’t take much for him to jump from the right of the church to prosecute “sinners” within its own auspices to the right of the SECULAR GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES to make certain sexual partners illegal on the basis of…what, again? Oh yes, sin. That Christian, religious concept that not even all Christian sects can agree upon. Oh, but he doesn’t think they should go to jail, kind Mr. Card. No, he just thinks they should be intimidated and shunned and forced back into their dark little closets, where occasionally the billy club of the law will rough them up a little just to make sure they know that “we” don’t tolerate their “sin.” They can’t be “equal” members of society. Jesus, what do they think this country is, a fucking democracy?

And finally, I have some of Mr. Card’s indignant reaction to the predictably angry response to his original article:

In fact, even outside the LDS community, it has become clearer and clearer to me, since writing this essay, that gay activism as a movement is no longer looking for civil rights, which by and large homosexuals already have. Rather they are seeking to enforce acceptance of their sexual liaisons as having equal validity with heterosexual marriages, to the point of having legal rights as spouses, the right to adopt children, and the right to insist that their behavior be taught to children in public schools as a completely acceptable “alternative lifestyle.” It does not take a homophobe to recognize how destructive such a program will be in a society already reeling from the terrible consequences of “no-fault” divorce, social tolerance of extramarital promiscuity

In fact, it has become clearer to me that the black community doesn’t want civil rights, which it by and large already has, but they are seeking to enforce acceptance of their miscegenation as having equal validity with racially pure marriages, to the point of having legal rights as spouses, the right to adopt white babies, the right to insist that “racial equality” must be taught to children in public schools as a completely acceptable social outlook…

You know, the right to adopt children is a civil right. So is the right to visit your loved one in the hospital and make medical decisions, and the right to have your spouse’s picture in the workplace without fear for your job, and the right to put your spouse on your medical insurance, and the right to have access to every other privilege and award accorded to married heterosexual couples in this country. I think Mr. Card needs to review what civil rights are. They don’t just refer to the ability to vote, or to be reasonably safe from being arrested in the streets for your sexual orientation (which, strangely enough, he seems to support anyway). It means being treated as an equal member of society. There is no such thing as civil rights without equality. Mr. Card is speaking out of both sides of his mouth when he claims that on one hand he’s not homophobic, and on the other hand homosexuals can’t expect to be regarded as “acceptable, equal citizens” within our secular state.

Oh yeah, he also claims, in his reaction, that he now knows that homosexual activists have no regard for free speech. Stuff it. Please. You can say whatever the hell you want. You have myriad forums for doing so. Somehow, though apparently you wrote the first part of this essay in 1990, you continue to enjoy the support of the speculative fiction community, which is filled with LGBT fans. You want to write an essay explaining why these people shouldn’t be full citizens of the United States? Fine.

Because I get to say that you, Mr. Card, are a homophobic ass.


One thought on “Dear Orson Scott Card: Get your religion out of my secular society

  1. Lauren M says:

    Amen. I think it’s very easy for religious nutballs to endorse idiocy because they have all that prior practice believing in patently asinine stuff. Reason is their enemy. Plus, they need demons (gays, feminists, etc.) to flesh out at the fairytale by which they live their lives.

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