Orson Scott Card Shows Us How To Discriminate and Feel Good

In a recent article posted on the Mormon Times titled “Disagree, but don’t be unkind” Orson Scott Card again tried to define specifically why the LDS or Mormon church is opposed to Marriage Equality and homosexuality in general. He also added some personal examples detailing how he himself is definitely not a bigot or discriminatory. Let me share with you some quotes from that article:

“My family and I have close friends who are gay, some of whom have entered into lawful marriages. They know we don’t agree that their relationship is the same thing or should have the same legal status as our marriage, but we all accept that strong and clear difference of opinion and move on, continuing to respect and love each other for the values we share. Only when a gay friend demanded that I agree with his or her point of view or cease to be friends has the friendship ended. What is odd is that in every case they called me intolerant. They misunderstood the meaning of “tolerance.” ”

Let me just focus on this statement for a moment, because it’s something that I, as a resident of Utah, hear quite frequently as an example of how someone really isn’t intolerant. First, the 2nd sentence says that he and his wife are friends with a married gay couple even though they know that he doesn’t think they have the same relationship as he and his wife, and that their marriage should not be afforded the same legal status. This is the definition of intolerance! You CANNOT look at another person, and say or think that you for some reason are better than, and should have more rights than they do, and still insist that you’re filled with love towards them, and are not filled with the spirit of bigotry.

Mr. Card went on to say that he only cuts ties with a gay friend when they insist that he agrees with their opinion. And that makes them intolerant. Let me see if I can state this clearly. We, as the LGBTQ community are NOT seeking for the right to have more than 2 dogs. We are NOT seeking for the right to smoke in public buildings. We are fighting for our lives! This is not something that can be so easily brushed away as Mr. Card seems to think. We are fighting for our right to live, for our right not to be 2nd class citizens!

“It makes me sad when people are so intolerant that they cannot bear to be friends with anyone who disapproves of some action or opinion of theirs.”

I wonder how Mr. Card would feel if the country were to invalidate his life, and tell him he was no longer as good as everyone else? Is he honestly surprised that people don’t want to be around him when he tells them they, and their spouses are evil? That he can fight to take away their basic civil rights and then expect them to smile is astounding to me.

So just a quick word to everyone out there. Stop thinking that this is a small, or fly-by-night issue. We are talking about our rights as people, our rights as human beings, our rights as citizens of the United States of America. And I’m sorry, but no matter how much you shout, or wave your bibles around, you’re not any better than me.

I only addressed about a quarter of Mr. Card’s article here. To see the full article visit: http://www.mormontimes.com/mormon_voices/orson_scott_card/?id=4740


13 responses to this post.

  1. OSC was really much more likable when he wrote great sci-fi instead of homophobic rantings. However, his skills as a fiction writer do shine through in this piece.


  2. I will have to remember to bookmark that, so that when I start becoming complacent, I can go back, reread it, and get angry all over again. It’s all the inspiration I need.


  3. Posted by Joshua Zollinger on December 18, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    As much as I agree with most of what you’ve posted in this blog, I think that you’re misinterpreting Card here. The point he’s making is not that he isn’t intolerant (at least not totally the point), but that the other side’s extremists are intolerant. It’s perfectly acceptable to believe that homosexuals are “less worthy”, as it were. I know people from the south that still believe that blacks are lesser beings. I think they’re stupid, but it’s their right to believe that. Similarly, it’s Card’s right to believe that a homosexual marriage should not have the same legal status. Once again, I think that’s stupid, but as long as he isn’t going around actively antagonizing homosexual couples, he can believe whatever he wants. That’s what tolerance is all about. I have the same problem with the people on our side who try to suppress the rights of anti-homosexuals to voice their opinions.


  4. I cringe whenever I read OSC’s arguments, and I’m no fan of his position, but I don’t think your arguments are necessarily convincing.

    OSC is not saying he feels that he thinks he is better than anyone and he is not saying that he feels he should have more rights than anyone. Any gay marriage opponent is going to say simply: they believe that everyone should have the right to marry people of the opposite sex and that no one should have the right to marry people of the same sex. So they equally give one right and they equally deny another. This line of reasoning (I don’t necessarily agree with it, I’m just pointing it out) would sidestep the brunt of your argument.

    And in fact, OSC is still maintaining friendships with those who won’t reject friendship because of his position. He’s playing dirty games by putting the blame of dissolved friendships on the *other* party, but as he does this, he *does* attempt to frame himself as the more reasonable party (as disgusting as it sounds). Quite simply, he is tolerant.

    Ok, so much for devil’s advocacy. I think the real solution is to recognize that tolerance is ***not*** enough. Tolerance is *not* good enough. I think OSC is right to say that you can *tolerate* without *agreeing* or *accepting*, but this just shows the deficiency of tolerance.

    Tolerance is an ugly halfway point because it only affects actions. Tolerance is what OSC would argue is society’s decriminalization of homosexuality. He would see that and say that that is all is necessary. He would oppose gay marriage because that would be society “accepting” homosexuality and sanctioning it, instead of just “tolerating” it. And OSC would probably say that he *tolerates* but, because of his beliefs, he doesn’t accept.

    I think the case is to show that people shouldn’t “tolerate” homosexuality. They should *accept* it. And I think the point is to show people why their unacceptance of homosexuality is flawed/based on biased beliefs. Why should marriage only be one man and a woman? Why shouldn’t anyone be able to marry who he or she loves?


  5. I love Card’s books, which is why I was extremely disappointed to hear his views on homosexuality. I still enjoy his books just as much as I ever did, and I’ve read one of his guides to writing four or five times now because it’s just excellent, but I’ve lost an awful lot of respect for him.

    My family and I have close friends who are gay, some of whom have entered into lawful marriages. They know we don’t agree that their relationship is the same thing or should have the same legal status as our marriage, but we all accept that strong and clear difference of opinion and move on, continuing to respect and love each other for the values we share.

    This may be ‘intolerant’ on my part, but honestly, I don’t think I could remain friends with someone who said something like this about me or my partner. I’d be civil to them, of course, but I doubt I could have dinner at someone’s house or spend an evening with them as a friend if they thought this way about me.


    • Posted by ethingtoneric on December 18, 2008 at 4:48 pm

      You know, this is one of my main points of irritation. People think that it’s not a problem if they think that we are lesser, or 2nd class people. Why can’t we still get along? A friend posed an interesting hypothetical to me the other day, he said what if we invalidated the marriage of just one straight couple, and then asked them if they thought a judge should decide whether it should be given back, or if they would prefer to have a majority-rules vote? Do you think they would keep their same position, or would they all of a sudden understand the unfairness of the majority ruling on the minority? (now that I think about it, maybe I should make this my next article)


  6. I also don’t buy the idea that ‘everyone does have equal marriage rights – as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex’. This is, quite frankly, bullshit. I don’t know if the anti-gay crowd has noticed this, but gay people generally don’t fall in love with, have romantic relationships with, or want to get married to people of the opposite sex; it’s essentialy a non-option for us (and for plenty of bisexuals as well). Claiming that we already have marriage equality is a ridiculously transparent sidestep.


  7. ethingtoneric: this is the principal difference between “tolerance” and “acceptance.” As OSC will note, tolerance does in fact imply disagreement. OSC will then state that this disagreement is valuable and should exist.

    For example, let’s say I like cheesecake and my friend likes chocolate cake. I might think chocolate cake is disgusting (disagreement), but I’m not going to stop my friend from having chocolate cake. But if there is a vote on whether chocolate cake should be subsidized/supported by the government (just a scenario), that doesn’t mean I have to support it. In fact, I can oppose such a law. It’s all within the range of tolerance.

    A question is: how discriminatory is my view and why do I hold my view. In this case, my view is not so discriminatory (these are just desserts), but the reason *why* I dislike cake (just a personal preference for cheesecake) doesn’t really justify my actions. It doesn’t justify why I shouldn’t *accept* someone else liking chocolate cake.

    I think OSC is dealing with an issue that has an obviously greater potential for discrimination (this is MARRIAGE) and on top of that, OSC has a very flimsy reason for disagreeing. He can only base his views on an interpretation of religion or spirituality. Or his interpretation of what marriage should be. Or whatever stereotypes he holds about gay people and their relationships.

    But then the problem isn’t asking for more tolerance. It’s recognizing that tolerance is inadequate.

    augustine: An anti-gay proponent would note that marriage is not just about who you fall in love with — and they would make gross slippery slope arguments that I won’t even mention because they are ridiculous.

    For them, they would say something about children…or something like that (ignoring the fact that gays should be able to adopt, first of all, and that some straight couples don’t have children.) They would say that one man and one woman is the kind of relationship we as a society should be preferring (even though we don’t have any concrete, unbiased evidence that one relationship is preferable on all scales.)

    I recognize it’s a ridiculous sidestep, but in order to enact change, we have to be able to get past those sidesteps and change public opinion. As terrible as it is, a majority of voters in California seemed against the idea enough to vote to ban gay marriage. I can recognize that many of the reasons, like OSC’s reasons, are inadequate and based on flimsy foundations…but these are foundations that people accept. So we have to find some way to get people to see otherwise.


  8. Posted by Joshua Zollinger on December 18, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Andrew: Love the distinction between tolerance and acceptance, although I wouldn’t mention the “fact” that gays should be able to adopt, since opponents of LGBT wouldn’t view that as a fact. I also appreciated the analogy to desserts. Although, if we wanted to take the analogy to the extreme, a cheesecake lover could oppose a subsidy/support for chocolate cake on several distinct points. One which might sound familiar is this: Should chocolate cake be supported by the government, consumption will naturally increase. This could lead to severe chocolate-eating habits in the next generation, which would contribute to the already disastrous level of obesity in our ever-more-sinful nation.

    Eric: Not a bad idea for another article, but it wouldn’t be too effective. After all, judges make decisions about marriages all the time. Whether it’s divorce, abuse, etc., it’s usually because of a problem in the relationship, and the people who oppose gay marriage would see homosexuality as a problem. Of course, it would work well in this blog, but try to define the marriage being invalidated as one without any problems.


  9. Joshua, then the task is to justify that gay parents are just as effective as straight parents. Currently, anti-gay marriage proponents look to unmarried, single parents and then extrapolate that this means that gay couples are “worse” parents, but the data just doesn’t show it.

    There are two kinds of approaches to such an argument…for example, one would be to suggest that preferences are “set” and the promotion of chocolate cake would not necessarily lead to more chocolate cake lovers.

    But this is a superficial approach. The problem is it feeds those who think that chocolate cake eating is “sinful” when this belief is based on a metaethical framework that doesn’t necessarily have any backing in reality. We should really be saying: It doesn’t matter if chocolate consumption increases because there’s nothing *wrong* with chocolate consumption.

    Translating back to terms, even if legalizing gay marriage leads to more people coming to terms with their sexuality (which I don’t think this is the same thing as: “people becoming gay”)…it’s not a bad thing to have people appreciate their sexuality and not be ashamed of it. It’s not a bad thing for people to be gay, and most importantly, it’s *certainly* not a bad thing to support committed and loving marriages for gay people.

    In reality, even if cheesecake may be liked by a majority of the people, that doesn’t necessarily mean that chocolate cake is “worse.” And if legalizing/subsidizing chocolate cake leads to more people eating chocolate cake, there is no problem whatsoever.


  10. Posted by alibeast on December 21, 2008 at 10:16 am

    oh orson, you’re such a card.

    i was always taught, from a young age at catholic school no less, that tolerance was a dirty word. for example:

    1. to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.
    2. to endure without repugnance; put up with: I can tolerate laziness, but not incompetence.
    (from dictionary.com btw)

    it’s that number 2 that causes all the problems…people often seem to try to equate tolerance with love and open arms and such, when in practice, it’s far from it. the word tolerance has always dredged up images of snooty monocle-wearing people with upturned noses looking down at me.

    tolerance is the clever way of saying, “i’m just going to deal with you, and i’ll be happier when you’re out of my way.”


  11. Posted by Anon. on December 21, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    ethingtoneric: You seem to thrive on the stirring up of anger, which as we all know sets the mind in its straightest (pardon the pun) and clearest focus. Might I advise you take the advice you pound in your writing and work to spread love and acceptance. You’re guilty of all the close-mindedness, personal assaults and mud-slinging you so adamantly decry. As am I, in this attack on you.

    You see it gets neither of us anywhere but angrier. Let’s get over ourselves, deal?

    Andrew: Thank you. You give this side reason and wisdom. It’s people like you that will help society come to a peaceful conclusion.


    • Posted by ethingtoneric on December 21, 2008 at 2:39 pm

      Dear Anon;

      Thanks for the feedback! Although I don’t think you understand the purpose of this weblog. Right now, there is an unprecedented show of support for the LGBT community in the country, thanks to Prop 8 in CA passing. What this is intended to do is to show what opponents of human rights are saying. Especially those who continually laud how much they “love gay people,” but then turn around and say things like Mr. Card did. If reporting on what he said angers people.. well that’s their right isn’t it? It’s hard not to read such blind ignorance and hate against yourself and not feel anger.

      The more people keep this in the front of their minds, the greater chance we have of achieving equality. If you want a good example of my own personal feelings however, please see https://ethingtoneric.wordpress.com/2008/11/15/eric-ethingtons-speech-from-the-national-impact-equality-march/. Thanks!



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