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Orson Scott Card is a Big Fat Homophobe

“‘ “I find the comparison between civil rights based on race and supposed new rights being granted for what amounts to deviant behavior to be really kind of ridiculous. There is no comparison. A black as a person does not by being black harm anyone. Gay rights is a collective delusion that’s being attempted. And the idea of ‘gay marriage’ — it’s hard to find a ridiculous enough comparison.’” — Orson Scott Card

The latest post-conference mishagosh comes to us courtesy of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), which gave this year’s Margaret A. Edwards Award to Orson Scott Card for his works, Ender’s Game (1985) and Ender’s Shadow.

If you know anything about Card’s views about homosexuality — or about the Edwards award,which “recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world” — that’s like the Anti-Defamation League giving Bobby Fisher a lifetime achievement award.

In all fairness to the committee, if they had asked the general question “what do we know about Orson Scott Card” (and whether you think the committee should have done that is open for discussion; I say yes, that’s due diligence), it would have taken some effort to uncover Card’s virulent homophobia, and you’d almost have to be looking for it.

A Google search for Orson Scott Card (10 results per page) lists 9 neutral or positive sites about OSC. I had to get to get to the 10th link to read a Salon article (by Donna Minkowitz, a lesbian, no less) in which the author notes on the first page, “But I’d somehow failed to ascertain that Card was a disgustingly outspoken homophobe.”

(Note: the spell-check in WordPress doesn’t even recognize “homophobe” as a word. Then again, it also doesn’t recognize “WordPress.”)

The real damage is in that bastion of impartiality, Wikipedia. Card’s Wikipedia article barely references his opinions about homosexuality, and only in an external link; to get a fuller story, you’d have to go to the Talk page and then look for it. You certainly won’t find Card’s own words on the topic, which include:

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.

Dudes and dudettes, that’s hard-core! Even most “compassionate conservatives” don’t speak that directly, not even when they agree with Card.

But if you read this blog you know I have written that Wikipedia often seems more like a Secret Treehouse Club than everyone’s encyclopedia. Card’s Wikipedia page isn’t a biography, it’s an encomium by true believers who maintain fierce control over Card’s myth.

As for Bobby Fisher, his Wikipedia page references Fisher’s anti-Semitism. Despite all the babble on Card’s Talk page, if there’s a consistent rule about what can be said about an author, I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is.

Besides, as Tracy Nectoux said on GLBTRT-L, short of saying gays should be trucked to death camps, homophobic comments by famous people don’t warrant sustained attention in the public sphere. This tsuris only occasioned a strong article in School Library Journal and mild back-pedaling from the awards committee, who said that they hadn’t researched Card prior to this award (I cringe when “information professionals” say things like that) and furthermore — ladies and gentlemen, prepare to hoist an eyebrow or two — “personal views aren’t part of the selection criteria.”

In terms of who we as a profession honor as an association — or in terms of any work effort — we need to make clear-eyed choices. We don’t get a lot of choices in our lifetime, really, not for awards, or books to read, or people to love. Card took up time and energy that could have been directed to someone else. It wasn’t intentional, but what’s done is done.

Oh well. Next year in Jerusalem.

If the award did any good, it is this: many more librarians know the truth about Orson Scott Card.

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72 Comments

  1. Elver wrote:

    “(Note: the spell-check in WordPress doesn’t even recognize “homophobe” as a word. Then again, it also doesn’t recognize “WordPress.”)”

    I think you’re referring to the Firefox web browser built-in spell-check.

    “Despite all the babble on the Card Talk page, if there’s a consistent rule about what can be said about an author, I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is.”

    Well, you gotta admit, Bobby Fisher was waaaay more outspoken about his beliefs than Card. I’m not too familiar with Card’s background, but if he’s so private about it as Google’s search results seem to suggest (you had to dig through a whole lot of links to even find a reference to it) then it makes sense that it’s not mentioned on Wikipedia. You can’t list every little detail about everyone.

    “personal views aren’t part of the selection criteria.”

    This actually makes sense. Mahatma Gandhi, for example, was a huge racist. In his newsletter he wrote in four different languages about the depravity of the black people. Yet the dude did do a lot of good and was properly recognized for his work.

    “In terms of who we as a profession honor as an association — or in terms of any work effort — we need to make clear-eyed choices.”

    “Clear-eyed choices” are bad and will be even worse in the future. Today pretty much everyone blogs. Sometimes we write stuff we’re not proud of and even if we delete it, Google and the Internet Archive will still have it.

    Suppose a good man, 20 years from now, builds four children’s hospitals with his own money and we want to give him an award for his work. But it turns out that 20 years earlier — today — he wrote a blog post where he called a black person by the n-word. Let’s say he was mugged by a black person and wrote the post in anger. Should we not award him for building four children’s hospitals just because he expressed racist views years ago?

    This problem is going to get much, much worse as the current Facebook/Blogspot/Wordpress generation grows up.

    We have to reward what people do, not what they say or have said. Everyone says stuff they’re not proud of. Back in the old days we said it in private. Now we say it on the internet and everyone can find it 20 years from now. Gotta adapt to the times. Reward actions, not words.

    “If the award did any good, it is this: many more librarians know the truth about Orson Scott Card.”

    I’m pretty sure he wasn’t exactly hiding his opinions to begin with.

    So the guy is against gay sex. I’ve got news for you: so is almost every Christian. George W. Bush is against gay sex. Almost every presidential hopeful in the primaries is against gay sex and gay marriage.

    Every Muslim is against gay sex. It’s part of their faith.

    I’m not saying I approve of homophobia just because it’s a pretty common view. Homophobia is a bad thing. People are suffering because of it. What I’m saying is that you’re wasting your outrage and attempting character assassination on a guy who’s not really all that different from, well, the majority of United States citizens.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  2. “So the guy is against gay sex. I’ve got news for you: so is almost every Christian.”

    To start with, he’s against gay love and relationships.

    As for Christians, that’s just not true. There are welcoming denominations. There are many points of view in society, and Card represents an extremism that deserves to be singled out for its… well… singularity, and certainly not hidden in astroturf.

    Also, all I am attempting to do is correct the record. I don’t have “outrage”; really, I don’t. I just have an interest in the truth (and in giving the truth some Google-juice). I am also sure there are gay people who are going to be far more uncomfortable that I wrote this post than were ever made uncomfortable reading Card’s own thoughts about them.

    Anyway, thanks for posting — it’s always good to get discussion.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 11:25 am | Permalink
  3. John wrote:

    Wow, I had no idea OSC harbored such feelings. I’m always let down when I find out artists and authors whose work I really like have some outrageous views on certain issues–especially those I feel strongly about. It’s times like that this that I try really hard to separate the art from the artist, but I’ve never really thought that was possible. Plus I think the whole notion that the art isn’t part of the artist is bullshit.

    “If the award did any good, it is this: many more librarians know the truth about Orson Scott Card.”

    I think that’s a good way to look at it, but you’re right on about doing due diligence.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 12:03 pm | Permalink
  4. Rachel wrote:

    Oy. Put me down as one librarian who didn’t know this.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
  5. Hey, you know what? Until someone pointed it out to me a couple of years ago, I didn’t know this, either. It’s like the time a few years back Sandy and I rented “White Christmas,” thinking it might be good to see with friends, and were we ever grateful that didn’t happen; it turns out to be incredibly racist.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  6. Elver wrote:

    “There are many points of view in society, and Card represents an extremism that deserves to be singled out for its… well… singularity…”

    A guy who, rather privately and rather rightfully from a purely logical standpoint, points out that civil rights and gay rights are two different things… THAT is what you consider “extremism”?

    Extremism is when a guy straps on a bomb and blows up a bus full of children. Extremism is female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation. Extremism is when people fly a passenger jet into a skyscraper. Extremism is when a woman has to find four male witnesses to testify that she was raped or she’ll be hanged for the crime of fornication.

    Using the word “extremism” to describe a guy who doesn’t see civil rights and gay rights as two sides of the same coin is… I’m sorry, but that’s just stupid. There’s a lot of pure evil in the world and if you use big words to describe small things, you’re confusing the issue.

    Saying politically incorrect things is not extremism in any way. If you start doing character assassinations on everyone you disagree with, you’ll end up with a world where everyone is a liar. I’d rather have a neo-nazi white supremacist as my neighbor than a guy who hates black people, but keeps it all bubbled inside himself. At least the former is honest and open about it while the latter is likely to one day explode and go on a shooting spree.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 8:01 pm | Permalink
  7. Colleen wrote:

    I don’t know why everyone is so surprised about this – I thought OSC was pretty public about his devout Mormonism. Either way, his personal views don’t really negate the incredible impact his books have had, however much you may be disgusted with his own beliefs. And it’s not like he’s the only one who doesn’t equate civil and gay rights – he’s just a lot more honest about it than the others who separate the two (so please note, he’s not a “singularity,” especially given that nearly 50% of the US population agrees with him, given the laws that have been passed…and those that have not, in the majority of cases .) As librarians who are all for intellectual freedom (or so we say), you’d think you’d appreciate the fact that OSC is ballsy enough to say so in this oh-so-politically-correct world.

    Ender’s game still remains one of the most influential books of our time, regardless how we feel about the author’s personal views. Honoring him as an author has nothing to do with his views, and when you equate the two and suggest we consider that, you are attempting to equate literary value with personal belief. That flies in the face of everything I stand for as a librarian, and every ethic I’ve been taught. Do we censor Das Kapital because we think Marx was a crackhead, or Mein Kampf because Hitler committed genocide? Would you deny the power that those tomes have had on generations of people? Shame on you for equating the person with the book.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 8:36 pm | Permalink
  8. John wrote:

    I think it’s pretty extreme to deny the right of two people who are in love to get married. All the atrocities you describe are seeded from the same fear that feeds homophobia. It doesn’t sit well with many librarians when we inadvertently endorse someone who contributes to that fear.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 8:54 pm | Permalink
  9. Tim Spalding wrote:

    The “secret tree house club” quote is priceless and dead-on. You see the same thing on many such pages, both right and left. Sufficiently controversial topics get attention from both sides, but the weeds of a topic are written by friendly partisans and deeply unbalanced as a result.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 9:59 pm | Permalink
  10. Laura wrote:

    I’m reading through the latest Enderverse book right now, in fact. Shadow of the Giant.

    Card’s politics as a whole are well known to sci-fi fans, especially those who disagree with him. He’s a Mormon and a political and social conservative. Both of these things come through in his fiction in subtle and not-subtle ways.

    The question is, should someone be put up for a background check before receiving a literary award? Is it possible to separate someone’s beliefs and their writing on their own time from their fiction aimed at a young adult audience that doesn’t explicitly present those beliefs? Do we really need a political litmus test for literary awards, now?

    I’m a fan of Card’s who doesn’t agree with him on many issues, but to me this doesn’t diminish his work. I just ignore his Web site and current-events essays when he sticks them in the back of his books.

    I’m reminded of when pro-life bloggers learned that Daniel “Lemony Snicket” Handler gives substantial donations to Planned Parenthood. Many forbade their children to read the books anymore, even when checked out from the library. Why does this matter?

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 3:48 am | Permalink
  11. Big words for small things — that’s a giveaway, as is the phrase “politically correct.”

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 7:55 am | Permalink
  12. Tim, I’m coming up with a list, not sure how I’ll work it into a post… maybe myths? Like, “turnkey is a myth” (for library software), NPOV is a myth…

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 8:02 am | Permalink
  13. David wrote:

    Do people still describe software as “turnkey”? I remember seeing it in ads back in the day, but let’s be honest, even houses, the origin of the term, aren’t turnkey (no, not even new, bespoke houses).

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  14. Depends on how you define “turnkey.” I’ve definitely heard “off the shelf” — though not from vendors. I’m not necessarily referencing vendors with that list, btw. ;-)

    Also, turnkey/off-the-shelf isn’t necessarily a myth for some layers of the software — Local WorldCat is an example, Bibliocommons another. There’s a school of thought that says we should leave the interface alone and worry about customizing the BACK end to match local workflow.

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 8:52 am | Permalink
  15. –> suddenly lusting for a new, bespoke house. (Not that our house isn’t lovely.)

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  16. David wrote:

    Sorry ’bout that, chief. My current house is “semi-bespoke”: plans selected from sheaf of builder options, customized in the way that new houses are. But, interestingly enough, we were the first, and last, people to select this model.

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  17. “Do we censor Das Kapital because we think Marx was a crackhead, or Mein Kampf because Hitler committed genocide? Would you deny the power that those tomes have had on generations of people? Shame on you for equating the person with the book.”

    Whoa — censorship, shame, and Hitler, all in one comment!

    I certainly do not deny the power Mein Kampf had over generations of people… though I would have to leap over dozens of rhetorical hedges to get from there to “and thus, it was a good thing (smart, timely, politically wise) that YALSA honored Orson Scott Card.”

    As a librarian, I fully agree that a library is a place for all books — most urgently, those we disagree with. It is why, when I was just a babybrarian in New Jersey, I forced myself to keep my face neutral and not project my opinion every time I helped a patron find The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (which was more often than you’d think).

    But when it comes time to honor writers, then we do have to look at their full opus. An author’s works exist in relation to one another. Card is clearly proud of his homophobic writing.

    As for Orson Scott Card being “ballsy” enough to share his views, I know far too many people who have lived their lives in the closet, or taken their lumps for living fully open lives in a homophobic society, to appreciate his “bravery.”

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  18. Jon Gorman wrote:

    Elver,

    I agree with kgs about the extremism. It doesn’t come just from the fact he disagrees with what you consider “politically correct”. There can be extremist speech. Advocating jail for actions that in no way injuries other members of the public seems extremist to me. In fact, I can only really think of one or two other suggestions that would be more extreme. Note I’m not advocating censorship here, but it is still an extreme view on the continuum of possible positions on the issue.

    I personally have a huge issue with keeping laws on the books that govern the behaviour of consenting adult individuals.

    I also have to wonder where exactly you are getting your statistics or realistically what they matter. Certainly the majority of Christians I know don’t seem to have a problem with homosexual couples. Even if there is a majority, one of the fundamental concepts of this nation is that the laws still to respect the rights of the individual.

    I must say it’s an issue that’s always made me pause and think. I know there is writing and works created by people who were racist, xenophobic, homophobic, radical right, radical left, and just play crazy that I enjoy. It’s not an easy issue for me how the work must be judged in relation to the artist. It seems more clear cut when the award goes just for a particular work.

    However, as Karen points out that this works supposedly goes for all of an author’s contribute to young adult literature. The question then becomes what of his writings that might be accessible for young people and if works were purposely excluded due to their nature.

    Ah well, something to chew on. I think if I had been on the committee I certainly would have wanted to discuss this issue.

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
  19. Elver wrote:

    “I think it’s pretty extreme to deny the right of two people who are in love to get married.”

    Define marriage. Two gays can live together just fine. Two gays can’t get a Christian wedding, because Christianity does not recognize gay marriage and that’s okay — that’s part of religious freedom. What sets gay marriage apart from regular marriage is that a regular marriage is recognized by the state and the married couple gets a few extra joint rights. For example, if one of them dies and there’s no will, the other gets the stuff.

    “Marriage” is a symbolic label we use to describe this.

    The difference between a regular marriage and two gay people living together and loving each other is a piece of state-issued paper and a couple of extra laws that apply to the couple and which could largely be replicated using a contract between the two people.

    And you call this extremism? Are you frickin’ kidding me?

    “All the atrocities you describe are seeded from the same fear that feeds homophobia.”

    Wow, that’s an over-generalization if I ever saw one. I have another one for you: all the atrocities I described are seeded from the same intolerance that feeds the fear of homophobes.

    “Big words for small things — that’s a giveaway, as is the phrase “politically correct.””

    A giveaway of what? Are you trying to imply that I’m a homophobe in some roundabout way so you could discredit my views without actually coming out and claiming that I’m a homophobe? Or without actually offering a reasoned counterpoint to what I’m saying?

    “Tim, I’m coming up with a list, not sure how I’ll work it into a post… maybe myths? Like, “turnkey is a myth” (for library software), NPOV is a myth…”

    NPOV is a myth… Wow. Okay. I’d like to see the logic behind that.

    “I certainly do not deny the power Mein Kampf had over generations of people… though I would have to leap over dozens of rhetorical hedges to get from there to “and thus, it was a good thing (smart, timely, politically wise) that YALSA honored Orson Scott Card.””

    Who the hell cares if it was “smart, timely or politically wise” for YALSA to honor Card? The dude got the frickin’ award for his books. For the positive effects that his books have had on the younger generation.

    If you turn an award into some kinda social merit badge that’s given out to people when it’s “smart, timely, and politically wise”, you’re taking away the value of the award. You’re being dishonest. You’re being a liar. If you say that you’ll give the award to the guy whose books have changed the world for the better and then instead of doing that, you give the award to the guy you simply happen to agree with, you’re being a dirty liar.

    If you only want to award the people you agree with, then call it just that: “an award for agreeing with me.” If you want to award a guy whose books have had great, positive effects on everyone, you award the guy whose books have had great, positive effects on everyone.

    “But when it comes time to honor writers, then we do have to look at their full opus.”

    No, we don’t. There’s enough dirt in everyone’s background that even if we didn’t find anything right now, it’s sure to come up later and bite us in our collective asses.

    Mahatma Gandhi was a racist with an irrational hatred of black people. He slept with naked girls and gave enemas to them every morning. Yet the dude did a lot of good and has been rightfully recognized for the good he has done.

    Dalai Lama took money from the CIA to fund an anti-Chinese terrorist training camp on United States soil. And while this was going on, he was writing books about how he is against every kind of violence and so should everyone else be.

    Back when Tibet was under Lama rule, they had a very simple caste system: monks and slaves. If a slave did anything that the monks didn’t like, his eyes would be gouged out or he could even have been killed. There were no human rights under Lama rule in Tibet. Yet I fully recognize that Dalai Lama’s books have a message of peace and he has been rightfully awarded for spreading this message. Despite being a hypocritical slavemaster.

    We need to award and punish people for what they have done, not for what they think about or what views they hold. I don’t want to get into thoughtcrime territory.

    “As for Orson Scott Card being “ballsy” enough to share his views, I know far too many people who have lived their lives in the closet, or taken their lumps for living fully open lives in a homophobic society, to appreciate his “bravery.””

    You are equating views with actions again. This is wrong.

    I do not like the way women are treated in Islam, for example, and I’ve expressed my views openly, but that does not mean I will physically assault a Muslim man when I see one or that I won’t hire him if he’s really the best candidate.

    Punish a man for what he does, not for his views.

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 12:57 pm | Permalink
  20. Susie Lorand wrote:

    Elver wrote: “The difference between a regular marriage and two gay people living together and loving each other is a piece of state-issued paper and a couple of extra laws that apply to the couple and which could largely be replicated using a contract between the two people.”

    May I suggest that before you dig yourself any deeper into this particular rhetorical hole, you try researching the costs of drawing up the legally sound contracts that would replicate all the rights and privileges of marriage for a same-sex couple? It’s not just “a couple of extra laws”. I have watched the effects on friends who are same-sex couples of the inequality in marriage laws. It’s not fair, it’s not trivial, and it does matter.

    Others have already begun to refute the claim that “almost every Christian” is “against gay sex”. I just wanted to point to my family, my congregation, large parts of the Episcopal Church in the U.S., and some other denominations as evidence against the claim.

    If you are open-minded enough to want to explore the topic further, I suggest you try to see the new documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So” (http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/), which addresses the relationship between homosexuality and Christianity.

    Monday, January 21, 2008 at 10:18 pm | Permalink
  21. John wrote:

    Elver, I was not a practicing Christian when I married my spouse, ergo I must have done it so we could file jointly.

    That’s neither here nor there, however.

    Since when does not giving someone an award equate to censorship? I don’t get awards every day–does that mean I’m being silenced?

    An award of this type sends the message that we endorse this author. That doesn’t just mean, the author’s works, but the entire package. Being as we’re not bookstores, and presumably interested in the entire truth, insomuch as it can be found, do we really want to anoint someone who is biased in such a malevolent way? Especially to teens, many of whom are beginning to discover that they themselves are gay?

    I really did love the Ender books, but that doesn’t give me the right to overlook this other side of their author. ALA routinely celebrates authors–not just their work, but who they are as people. There’s not much beyond OSC’s books to celebrate in this case, I’m afraid.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 11:45 am | Permalink
  22. Anne in AZ wrote:

    “So the guy is against gay sex. I’ve got news for you: so is almost every Christian. ”

    Can’t…help it…must explode…now…Mustn’t start war on…Karen’s Blog…mustn’t…list all Christian denominations open and affirming to all persons…must not ask if a person who is accepting and affirming of gay’s having the right to have sex is…not a Christian…must lie down now…too dizzy….

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 1:31 pm | Permalink
  23. I’d like to take Elver to one of our interfaith services in the area, if not take him church by church around town. Not every church in town is welcoming, but I can name a half-dozen that are, including United Church of Tallahassee, where my partner is the pastor!

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
  24. Melissa Jeffrey wrote:

    I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal, i.e. against homophobia in all its forms. I have a hard time, however, of not awarding an author because of one of his viewpoints. He won a YALSA award, not a humanitarian one. And perhaps he shouldn’t have been awarded it, although Ender’s Game has kind of been a fundamental book to a lot of people. In fact, I decided to write a comment partly because I am reading from his Women of Genesis series, in which I have never seen a more nuanced portrayal of women. It makes me want to read the Bible again, even though I am thoroughly agnostic.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  25. –> backpedaling slightly to note that “fat” is actually a compliment…

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 2:45 pm | Permalink
  26. Laura wrote:

    A compliment to modify “homophobe”? :)

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 5:43 pm | Permalink
  27. Yes, well, I painted myself in a corner there!

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
  28. Elver wrote:

    May I suggest that before you dig yourself any deeper into this particular rhetorical hole, you try researching the costs of drawing up the legally sound contracts that would replicate all the rights and privileges of marriage for a same-sex couple?

    The point was that this extra cost could, in no sensible way, be called “extremism”. If it was impossible, I’d agree to “serious discrimination”, but if you want to call that “extremism”, you have a seriously warped sense of scale.

    Since when does not giving someone an award equate to censorship? I don’t get awards every day–does that mean I’m being silenced?

    Oh, please. You’re creating a straw man argument here. What I was saying is that if your official award criteria is X and your unofficial award criteria is Y where X and Y are very different things, you’re basically being a liar. You say you’re giving the award for X when in actuality you are giving it for Y.

    That’s dishonesty.

    An award of this type sends the message that we endorse this author. That doesn’t just mean, the author’s works, but the entire package.

    Well, no. The award was given for the positive effects that the author’s works have had on a group of people. It’s not an endorsement of the author, it’s an endorsement of those works that he got the award for.

    Bill Clinton got several honorary doctorates from different universities. These were endorsements of his work as the President of the United States. These honorary doctorates were not endorsements of adultery and oral sex. Just, you know, to clear things up for you a bit.

    Being as we’re not bookstores, and presumably interested in the entire truth, insomuch as it can be found, do we really want to anoint someone who is biased in such a malevolent way? Especially to teens, many of whom are beginning to discover that they themselves are gay?

    Well, first of all, we’re really not “anointing” anyone. Secondly, kids should be exposed to a multitude of views, not just one — be it for or against homosexuality. The world is a messy place. If you shield your kid from all that, you’re just setting him up for major disappointment and failure later in life. Plus there’s a thing called “parenting” that you may or may not have heard of. Supposed to be a good thing, especially if you have kids.

    Can’t…help it…must explode…now…Mustn’t start war on…Karen’s Blog…mustn’t…list all Christian denominations open and affirming to all persons…must not ask if a person who is accepting and affirming of gay’s having the right to have sex is…not a Christian…must lie down now…too dizzy….

    Well, yeah, some “Christians” pick and choose more than others. The Bible is clearly against homosexuality. Funny thing is, there’s all these different groups who all call themselves the true Christians, but they disagree on even the most basic things about their faith. So who are Christians? Those who believe in the Bible. What does the Bible say? Homosexuality is bad. If the Bible is the infallible word of God and it clearly says that homosexuality is not okay, then how on Earth could you possibly be for homosexuality and still call yourself a “Christian”? It’s like George W. Bush “spreading democracy” in Iraq.

    There’s a huge difference between justifying your views with a book and getting your views from a book. Most religious people seem to get those two confused. I think the term for that would be “intellectual dishonesty”.

    I have a hard time, however, of not awarding an author because of one of his viewpoints. He won a YALSA award, not a humanitarian one.

    Excellent point.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 11:14 pm | Permalink
  29. Elver, you did it! You’ve showed how millions of religious people are guilty of intellectual dishonesty! You’ve proven that Karen’s post was wrong, as were comments here by John and others! You showed us all that your reasoning is superior!

    So, what would you like your prize to be? Would you like Karen to write a follow-up post in which she acknowledges that you were right and she was wrong? Would you like an award you can put on your mantle? Would you like a medal that you can show to people at dinner parties? (Because that would impress people!)

    Seriously, what’s your goal here? To get Karen to acknowledge that you’re right, even though she’s shown no inclination to do so? To impress us all with your biblical scholarship (even though Karen is married to a Christian pastor who I imagine–and I realize I’m making a wild stab in the dark here–knows far more about what the Bible clearly says and doesn’t say than you do)? If you win this argument in these comments, if everyone who’s posted here openly states that they think you’re right, what do you get? What do you get (and what do you lose) if nobody agrees with you and keeps countering your arguments?

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 6:42 am | Permalink
  30. I wish Elver had been at Sandy’s campus Bible/pizza study last night (pizza is part of her campus theology) where she passed around the section about Sodom and Gomorrah and asked the students to find the parts about homosexuality. The students had a great time (and of course found nothing).

    I don’t say this sort of thing very often, but I will now. Elver is young. The photo on his blog makes that clear. He’s scowling and he has a beer bottle in his mouth. (I drink beer too, but I usually smile when I do so, particularly if it’s a Red Hook ESB.)

    Elver has that certainty of youth. He knows what other people think. He knows what Christians think. He knows what the Bible says. In fact, he’s so sure of himself that he doesn’t need to test his assumptions. And he thinks that if he filibusters long enough I’m going to be persuaded (or that readers of this blog will be persuaded).

    The nice thing about aging is that you gain a lot of self-doubt (something that I think never really happened for George Bush, but that’s another story). You explore your ideas a little more. You try to see as many sides of the issue (which is why I cut YALSA a large swath here; I don’t agree with them but I put my focus on my own take on Card, not on their decision).

    Elver, you can keep posting here if you like. There’s no page limit. But I’ve codified myself on the Web for eighteen years (before it *was* the Web), and in some cases I’ve come to rue that.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 9:40 am | Permalink
  31. Liza wrote:

    Gosh, there’s so much here when I show up late to the party — I hardly know where to start.

    * OSC’s virulent homophobia has been well known and much discussed in the sf-fan community for many years. I’m surprised that YALSA didn’t have more overlap with that community.
    * I’m a lesbian in a Christian marriage that isn’t recognized by law. It was conducted as an interfaith ceremony by a Christian minister and a dear friend of ours who is a lesbian rabbi.
    * When my partner and I moved, we joined a mainstream Presbyterian church where we were fully welcomed, as was our toddler son. Now I teach Sunday school to 4 year olds — and they and their parents all know who my son and partner are.

    The difference between protecting from censorship and honoring are unbelievably vast. Of course OSC’s work belongs in the library. I no longer enjoy it as much as I did before I understood the context in which it was written — which also happened when I tried to re-read Heinlein as an adult and saw how racist and sexist much of the subtext was (and sometimes the overt plotlines).

    But when you are honoring someone for their work, that context becomes important. Do we want to hold up a virulent homophobe as a role model for young adult readers? Naturally, opinions will differ on that, but I would expect most of YALSA and the library profession to say no.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 11:37 am | Permalink
  32. Anne in AZ wrote:

    Well…once again someone has, if I understand this correctly, condemned the entire UCC to hell since the denomination’s Christianity is suspect in the light of particular interpretations of particular versions of the Bible. Not that’s it’s an original accusation. Rather worn, in fact.

    Point well taken about the certainty of youth. When I first became a librarian I knew exactly how everything should e run. Now I haven’t a clue. I have definitely learned never to “put a period where God has placed a comma.”

    Elver, I hope you will continue to learn and investigate and grow all aspects of your faith .

    Done being dizzy now…back to libraryland.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 11:41 am | Permalink
  33. Elver wrote:

    …where she passed around the section about Sodom and Gomorrah and asked the students to find the parts about homosexuality. The students had a great time (and of course found nothing).

    This is a bit like passing out the first ten pages of Ender’s Game and challenging students to find homophobic sentences there. And when they can’t find any, you believe that you have proven that Card is not a homophobe. Yay.

    It’s ironic how you claim that all of someone’s views should be taken into consideration when giving an award, but judge the Bible’s homophobia based on chapters which, while implying it, don’t really mention it very clearly.

    Leviticus 20:13 would have been much more fun for the kids: “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” And that’s not all.

    Seriously, what’s your goal here? To get Karen to acknowledge that you’re right, even though she’s shown no inclination to do so?

    Haha. Oh, wow. Nice. I stand up for honesty and for the right to free speech and what do I get from these self-appointed angels of justice? A lengthy character assassination that doesn’t even begin to deal with anything I’ve said, but focuses almost completely on what I look like, what I drink, and how I’m not a Christian.

    And he thinks that if he filibusters long enough I’m going to be persuaded (or that readers of this blog will be persuaded).

    You’ve got it backwards. It’s not about persuasion. I’m not looking to make you trust me and then adopt my views through trust. Which is what persuasion is. I’m simply pointing out the errors in your reasoning. Which you’ve countered by saying that I look young and drink beer. Nice going there.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 1:48 pm | Permalink
  34. Elver, are you practicing for slashdot? Just wondering… I’m leaving comments open here but I think everyone has said what they had to say. On Dancer, on Prancer!

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 3:14 pm | Permalink
  35. Rachel wrote:

    Elver, if you’re going to play that game, I’m sure you, oh, don’t mix wool with linen… keep kosher… and adhere to all those other Levitical injunctions, right? EVERY denomination and every Christian “picks and chooses” and ultimately reads the Bible through their own lens.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink
  36. Debi wrote:

    Having just read through this thread though from beginning to end for the first time, I’m forcing myself to return to the actual point of the original blog post, despite the pull to be distracted by the discussion of Leviticus and beer…

    Regardless of whether you are in favor of any number of rights for men who love men or women who love women, it seems clear (and agreed-upon) that OSC does not care for the concept. OK, agreed? Good.

    Now, the question that comes up with regard to the YALSA award is — does giving an award to OSC for his literary work seem proper, given his personal politics, about which he was very open? Does the award recognize the entirety of a writer’s work, or just his young adult writing?

    Let’s ask YALSA’s web site, shall we? It says on the Edwards Award page that the award is for “an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work” and that “It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world.”

    So no, this is not an award just for the young adult literature by OSC. It’s an award for him, AND it’s an award recognizing how he has contributed to making teens feel about themselves and their place in the world.

    Well, then it seems to me (and obviously not everyone will agree) that honoring OSC implies that his character is also being honored. It’s an award for AN AUTHOR and for his work, both.

    All that said, in the end, the important question here is whether or not an author’s politics should play into a judgment of his or her literary contribution as a whole. I believe it should — and perhaps that’s because, as a writer myself, I have a personal stake in fighting off all that “death of the author” stuff! Does YALSA feel that way? Well, in the case of the Edwards Award, I think we’re seeing that they would probably say “nah, kill him off.” I highly doubt the Edwards committee agreed with OSC. I would guess that either they disagreed but felt it was irrelevant, or they just didn’t know. ALA, the larger organization of which YALSA is part, offers an award for GLBT literature as well, so it is difficult to imagine that they were attempting to honor OSC’s less celebratory position on same sex partnership. Someone from YALSA could answer that better.

    Now, if someone would hold a Leviticus-reading party where they served beer (well, ok not beer, but maybe Patron tequila), I’d be happy to join in the rest of this scintillating conversation.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 11:39 pm | Permalink
  37. Emily Lloyd wrote:

    Elver–trust me, not being able to get medical benefits for my partner is a big deal. I’m sure not about to complain that I can’t get a Christian wedding (at your church), but a City Hall one would be helpful. And it may be important to remember that that Leviticus quote is right next to the one about it being an abomination to wear two different fabrics at the same time. Leviticus is chock-full of rules even devout Christian fundamentalists wouldn’t imagine observing, seeing them as hackneyed and ridiculous. The odd thing is that they (you?) don’t see the quote on homosexual behavior as hackneyed and ridiculous as well: the writer/s of Leviticus certainly didn’t single it out as being any more important than the rest of ‘em.

    That said, I’m a big queer and I’m okay with Card getting the Edwards.

    http://shelfcheck.blogspot.com/2008/01/shelf-check-184.html

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 12:05 am | Permalink
  38. Elver wrote:

    Elver, are you practicing for slashdot? Just wondering…

    Are you trying to discredit me by associating me with a website where some of the top scientists of our time hang out? Just wondering…

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
  39. Anne in AZ wrote:

    Having slogged through Leviticus and having consumed beer, I’d never thought of putting the two together. Brilliant!

    Grab your bibles! Kegger in the church basement!

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
  40. Dan Kleinman wrote:

    “Card’s Wikipedia page isn’t a biography, it’s an encomium by true believers who maintain fierce control over Card’s myth.”

    Funny! Judith Krug’s wiki page was just like that, until I got involved, that is. She may be the 40 year leader of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, but intellectual freedom didn’t comply on her wiki page until I forced the ALA to follow Wikipedia policy on wikipedia.org. Krug’s wiki page even said almost the exact same thing as Krug’s page on ala.org.

    But before that, in further evidence that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I observed, “Krug’s Wikipedia page wasn’t a biography, it was an encomium by true believers who maintained fierce control over Krug’s myth.”

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 6:47 pm | Permalink
  41. Hmmm, I wonder if we both unconsciously stole that? Because up to now I had never seen her Wikipedia page — so there’s no way I got that from you. Perhaps we should google up those terms and see if it’s a mannerism?

    Oh, and now that I see it, the Talk page for Krug simply underscores what I’m saying.

    Oh, and I don’t see that quote, so I am guessing that you’re just happy for a little Google juice. That can be addressed. Your comment stands. Your URL hotlink to the organization claiming to advocate for protected bibliographic organizations does not. I’m sure you’re happy to have NARAL to replace it.

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 8:19 pm | Permalink
  42. Dan Kleinman wrote:

    No, no, K.G. I didn’t mean you copied from me. Rather, I copied from you. Your blog is really good/interesting, so I copied you.

    Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 9:22 pm | Permalink
  43. Ruth Ellen wrote:

    “Sandy’s campus Bible/pizza study last night”

    Wow! They study pizza? Cool!

    Friday, January 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Permalink
  44. Hillary wrote:

    Well, late to the discussion but wow is this fascinating. I’m a casual reader of OSC, but only knew he was a devout Mormon – and that doesn’t automatically mean anything other tha Mormon. The key for me is that it is time for large national organizations like ALA, which can generate a lot of press and sales for an author, to get a grip on what they give awards for. Body of work alone? Judge that alone. Body of work and personal advocacy? Then judge that. It’s like U2 winning a grammy for an album vs. Bono winning a peace prize for his personal advocacy and influence on the world. Different things. But know up front, don’t backpedal or wuss out after it turns out badly. The committee needs to stand by its decision one way or the other.

    Friday, January 25, 2008 at 9:36 pm | Permalink
  45. Hillary wrote:

    I just read something that captured the same issue for a different book and different reason. See the current Entertainment Weekly (Feb 1) p. 79 for two responses to the current bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. One side starts with “The problem isn’t the book, it’s the author.”

    Friday, January 25, 2008 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
  46. Hillary, I liked that EW review so much I read it to Sandy, who had put down the book with a “meh” halfway through.

    Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 10:08 am | Permalink
  47. I can’t tell you what upsets me more: that Card won the award in spite of his ideas that are in clear conflict with what YALSA & ALA stand for -or- the fact that, as you point out, YALSA did not do its research ahead of time. A big fat sigh on both counts.

    Monday, February 4, 2008 at 7:01 pm | Permalink
  48. Laurie wrote:

    Wow! They study pizza? Cool!

    Mushroom 3:16?

    Tuesday, February 5, 2008 at 10:46 pm | Permalink
  49. K. Scott Bailey wrote:

    As a literature teacher, Card’s works are outstanding, and have greatly influenced my students in very positive ways. Card’s views are NOT well-known, as he doesn’t make a big display of them during his appearances and interviews, unless asked directly. He has a right to view homosexuality as sin, without being hoisted upon that petard every time he comes up for an award. We have a right to disagree with him–even vociferously so–without resorting to the childish name-calling displayed in the title chosen for the initial post of this blog.

    Friday, February 8, 2008 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  50. A.G. Hopkins wrote:

    Just some clarifications for Elver:
    Being a Christian isn’t about following the Bible, it’s about following Christ, hence the word.
    Biblical literalists (who are much fewer than you might think) shouldn’t be opening their mouths about the directives god lays down, unless they’re willing to do some horrible things to their wives, sons and daughters, or to those who fail to follow those same laws. You quote from Leviticus, yet I bet you wouldn’t stone a child to death for being disobedient.
    You (Elver) specifically trivialized the tribulations caused by the gay marriage situation and then dismissed comments which showed how wrong you were, claiming that your point was still valid. The fact is, legislation preventing gay marriage has already been used to legally discriminate against people in their jobs and in their daily lives. That sounds fairly extreme to me. Also, there have been over twelve hundred benefits associated with marriage. That also doesn’t sound so trivial.
    The Constitution is the document which governs our rights, not the Bible. And the Constitution states that all men are created equal, and endowed with certain inalienable rights.
    There is no justifiable reason which would actually stand up in a court of law for discriminating between gays and heteros when it comes to marriage laws. That’s because this is not a theocracy. We have a separation of Church and State, and the only defense for anti-gay sentiment is religious in nature, as you showed here already.

    On the subject at hand; I agree that a person’s work should be the primaryevidence on which awards should be based, but an author’s opinions should also be evaluated. Few would be so arrogant as to say they can know all the differing ways that those opinions might be expressed in books. Heinlein stomped his opinions out in his books with size 12 cork boots, but not all authors are so unsubtle. (And for the record, I loved the original Ender’s Game, and most of Heinlein’s works too. Although I have to admit he’s (RAH) much harder to read since I grew up enough to realize what things he was saying.)

    Saturday, February 9, 2008 at 6:30 pm | Permalink
  51. A.G., thanks for a great comment. I agree on Heinlein; I adored him as a child, and it has been hard to grow up and realize some of his weaknesses as a writer.

    n.b. I had a literature instructor who made the case that Hemingway approached women far more realistically than most writers. That’s a really interesting perspective. I’ve re-read some Hemingway, and for all the macho language, the women are remarkably portrayed. Re-reading one of his key works through a feminist reading lens could be an interesting idea for a book group!

    Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  52. VR Neves wrote:

    Learning about this controversy this week is very interesting for me as a Mormon, as a middle school teacher and as an OSCard fan. I’ve read Card for a long time, and I know LDS doctrine about as well as anybody. I’m pretty sure he’s “coloring inside the lines.”

    So here’s what made it interesting this week. We just had a funeral for the president of our church. Just outside the funeral, as close as was legally allowed, a group of protesters gathered to decry the deceased president as an enabler of homosexuality. We have a local satirist who wrote a column about it. Here’s a link.
    http://www.sltrib.com/columnists/ci_8210106

    Mormon views on homosexual attraction are more nuanced than most people who don’t know our doctrine can imagine. They are almost impossible to sum up on a blog. Here’s my best attempt: Same sex attraction is natural. There are many natural urges that we learn to control as we progress through life. The goal of life is to find joy while learning to love God and love one another.

    A more complete summary can be found on the LDS web site. It’s a leaflet written to help people with same sex attraction understand what the church actually believes and teaches. Here’s a link.
    http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=e1fa5f74db46c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=3e05c8322e1b3110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1&contentLocale=0

    Based on prior conversations with active Homosexuals, I’m going to guess that a lot of socially liberal people are horrified with the views as expressed in that document. Likewise, based on conversations with practicing Christians from more conservative churches than mine, I KNOW that they consider our views to be outside the mainstream.

    So, coming back to Card, my question is this “Does any of that really matter when it comes to reading his works with young adult development in mind?” I suppose it does if his books have subtle or not so subtle portrayals of homosexual characters.

    I can think of two books where he describes characters with homosexual attraction – “Songmaster” and “Memory of Earth.” In both books the characters are important for other reasons. Same gender attraction is something that explains some of the pain and conflict in their lives. In both cases, the conflict isn’t between themselves and self acceptance. It’s between them and the culture in which they find themselves.

    Now, I know from reading that Scott Card is a fan of Anne McCaffrey. She had a very different position on same sex attraction. I would characterize her description as celebratory and accepting. The only pain her homosexual characters feel because of their attraction and relationships are normal spousal feelings of anxiety, separation and loss. The relationship just happens to be homosexual.

    I enjoy reading McCaffrey. I also enjoy reading Card. Reading both authors played an important part in the development of my character. I hate to imagine a world where everyone feels exactly the same about everything or is only allowed to express ideas that fit a socially constructed intellectual orthodoxy. (THAT, by the way, is one reason why I teach middle school and not at a college somewhere.)

    Librarians would (and should) be horrified if anyone ever asks them not to celebrate McCaffrey. Card should receive the same courtesy.

    Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 11:46 am | Permalink
  53. K. Scott, the committee said they weren’t familiar with Card’s views, and I am just doing my best to ensure no one can use that excuse again.

    Personally, I consider homophobia to be a form of childishness, like wanting to eat ice cream for dinner. Just because you believe in it doesn’t make it right. Card can indeed decide that homosexuality is a sin, but once he does he is reduced to a level of ridiculousness.

    If he were railing against Jews or people of color, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    Monday, February 11, 2008 at 9:43 pm | Permalink
  54. As a librarian, I don’t have to “celebrate” Card, anymore than I have to celebrate any other author in a collection. that’s not in our code of ethics. I will fight to the end to include his works in our libraries, but I don’t have to take the next step and “celebrate” him. You wanna celebrate him, knock yourself out. There are so many authors to celebrate.

    Monday, February 11, 2008 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  55. It’s funny, but I had been reading Orson Scott Card’s Ender series this past few months (I just finished Xenocide), and I had no idea about his controversial views, until I heard a rant recently.

    I was floored. The brilliant writing and thoughtful themes were in so incongruous with his opinions on homosexuality. I actually wrote about it on my blog as well sci fi addict.

    Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 12:13 am | Permalink
  56. Dennis Adams wrote:

    I am a fan of OSC’s fiction and his essays on all subjects. I consistently find them to be well-reasoned.

    This thread seems to have been started with an ad hominem attack against Card, taking it for granted that the audience would find his comments to be outrageous, ignorant, hateful, etc. Most respondents do seem to find the comments to be so. But those who challenge that fact have themselves been attacked both personally and in their reasoning.

    What’s lacking here is a well-reasoned defense of the assertion that Card’s views are homophobic. Doesn’t homophbia mean “fear” of homosexuals or homosexuality? I see no evidence in these quotes or anything else he has written that he is afraid. So if the acusation is not homophobia, what is it? Hatefulness, illegality, ignorance? Card believes civil rights are intrinsic and gay rights are contrived. He thinks marriage is an institution that should apply only to a man and a woman. He thinks governments should maintain some sort of laws governing some sort of homosexual behavior. It’s not at all clear to what laws he is referring and there is no citation. I think that we can all agree that these views, distilled to their essence, are not uncommon. Is it the way he expressed them that is so objectionable? Or are they objectionable simply because you disagree?

    Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
  57. JC wrote:

    at the end of the day its just a little sad to know that the author who created what could be described as the closest thing i have to a hero (in ender), in the real world believes my girlfriend and i are the equivilant of being the spawn of the devil because we love each other and should have no rights equal to that of a straight couple.

    we live in a predominantly free world when it comes down to opinion, and therefor it is within cards rights to feel however he wants… its just… sad.

    until i did a internet search and this all came out to me a few years back, i would have thought of card as being the most amazing human alive to create such beings of such moral fibre and understanding of the world around them. obviously i have confused fantasy with the real world… but you get that.

    Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 1:08 am | Permalink
  58. JC, you may have spoken the best words on this topic.

    Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 5:30 am | Permalink
  59. Kelly wrote:

    I’ve only read Enders Game but all of a sudden i want o go buy them all and scan them for homophobia >_<

    I’d like to say that Enders Game was a fantastic book, i have no problem with him being homophobic, and it in no way seemed homophobic to me when i was 13. then again i wasn’t exactly looking for any homophobia so i could have missed it.

    I’m pretty sure that if i never noticed it and it didn’t affect me negatively in any way, that other children can enjoy a good piece of literature without having to care about the back round of the author.

    Anyways, i don’t see why its so important to put an authors beliefs under a microscope when it comes to assessing the quality of a book. your basically judging the book by its cover (or in this case, author.

    just giving a bit of an opinion :)

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 5:01 am | Permalink
  60. Lisa wrote:

    He has a right to his opinions, as do everyone else. I have read some of his other novels, “Songmaster” and “A Planet Called Treason,” in which he addresses homosexuality and transgenderism respectfully in a way that a “homophobe” wouldn’t have handled these topics. The protagonist, main character, in Songmaster had a homosexual love affair, and the protagonist in Treason grew boobs and dressed like a woman. He may be conservative at heart, but through his fictional works I had a heart for the suffering of these two characters and know he must, also.

    Friday, July 4, 2008 at 2:51 am | Permalink
  61. Louche wrote:

    Ever since I went vegan two months ago, I’ve been intensely studying power struggles and oppression. Reading blogs and books, you know. I was adding a book to my favorite books list on a profile page and looking at the two older books on the list, which were the only books from before college, the only books on the list that hadn’t changed my life. And it struck me then, the question: what are the power relationships in these two books (particularly Ender’s Game)? Could Ender’s Game actually be a book about something I have come to disapprove of with regard to power? At this point, I’m thinking I’m going to strongly disapprove of some things going on in there when I re-read it. There is one thing I remembered a lot when I was taking psychology courses and studying Eastern religion: it seemed bizarre that OSC portrayed Eastern ritual as so destructive and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) as as its source.

    Anyway, I’m really appalled. Ender’s Game was my favorite book when I read it. What intense, internal power struggles. And external. No wonder Ender’s Game portrays such a bleak future that always left me feeling empty. Conservatism is doomed, in my not-so-humble opinion. I don’t know what God OSC worships, but I worship the gods of nonviolence and love. For me, I can only envision a future of those things. I cannot believe that the end won’t be a homecoming to those aforementioned things which guide me. I feel awfully sorry for OSC in his cold, bleak future. I think he’s actually an alien from Pluto – how else can we explain the coldness?

    I took the book off my list of favs. Regardless of whether or not I can still appreciate it as a work of art, I don’t wish to promote a bleak world.

    Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 3:47 am | Permalink
  62. Jack wrote:

    It’s very depressing how dogmatic religious beliefs can bring such blind hate into the minds of people who are otherwise quite intelligent.

    Friday, January 9, 2009 at 7:33 pm | Permalink
  63. I met Orson Scott Card once, at a book signing in the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul. I had no idea about his politics, and thought him to be a personable guy in the brief moment that I had contact with him. I wanted to get my copy of Ender’s Game signed because my then-boyfriend had been reading it to me in bed all week. I had not read the book before, and it was a good story that I enjoyed immensely.

    When I read about OSC’s open homophobia, it bummed me out extremely. But then again, it always sucks when you hear someone you like has a rather unattractive personality trait. He was never my hero, so it wasn’t like when a hero falls, but it is sort of like it in microcosm. It’s like when you find out that the cute guy in class won’t date black chicks, and therefore, would not be likely to date you. Or, rather, me. You get the point.

    But then again, it isn’t like that at all. If the award is based at all on his body of work, then his body of work certainly contains the fact that he thinks that homosexuals don’t deserve to shape society and define marriage at all, because that is best left to “the religion that invented marriage.” Hah, no, seriously, that was another homophobe I knew who said that.

    I’m sure he didn’t write all those awful things he said about queer folks hoping that young GLBTQI people would read it and find themselves feeling horrible. I’m sure he just thinks there’s something wrong with them. Something that should be fixed before they become those awful adult homosexuals. You know, trying to have the same rights as straights and all, all of them telling him that words do make an impact on lives, and that is why we write them.

    Kids read stuff that’s not “meant for their age group” all the time. I devoured Stranger in a Strange Land in my teens and never touched the stuff that Heinlein meant as being for teens.

    If you’re giving a prize for a man’s entire ouvre, that also means blogs. If that is the case, then his winning the prize is unfair on the level that he is an outspoken homophobe. (Gay kids need love too.)

    There are people who are bigots who are also wonderful writers. Artists and writers are subcategories of human, and so are racists/sexists/homophobes. There’s bound to be overlap.

    Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 7:45 am | Permalink
  64. Alan Suto wrote:

    Thanks to Stumble! I found this great discussion. Evers and KGS are both taking sides that when finally distilled are “extreme”. Homophobia is wrong and the institutionalized practice of it turns gays and lesbians into second class citizens. This has nothing to do with whether or not OSC is a good author and has had a positive impact on young peoples lives through his work. I see many people trying to defend Christians of the US as not homophobic and that is just plain blind. If you just look at the raw statistical data from voter turnout and how they voted it is easy to see that more than half of Christians either don’t want gays and lesbians to have equal rights or just don’t care enough about their fellow citizens to get out and vote to oppose their own religious leaders initiatives when they get put on the ballot. Yes there are christian groups that are welcoming and not all thus not all christians hold the same views on homosexuality but the majority do.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  65. Alex Kenobi wrote:

    JC I think you hit on an interesting comment there “Most amazing human being” Human Being … where does it say that as he has less right to being human with all the morals, values, and prejudices that go with it.

    The very act of being human opens us to being prejudiced. Me, I’m not prejudiced against gays or african americans or even asians. Im prejudiced against extremists of any view and i can tall you that Card isnt. He has a right to his own view point and no amount of slagging the guy on these sorts of sites is going to change it.

    In no way does he represent the homphobic people in his books. In fact he is one of a very few authors that will even include them in his writing in order to be fair.

    Perhaps people should go hassle those authors who refuse to write on the topic while at the same time intemating that they are non prejudiced against something that in most cases is caused by nature not nurture.

    Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 12:08 am | Permalink
  66. Alex Kenobi wrote:

    And really people have any of you read his book? How could you call it homophobic? next you’ll be calling him a teacher of paedophiles because the children run round naked.

    Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 12:13 am | Permalink
  67. T.H. wrote:

    I’m not going to read all the comments to see whether my views about this have been expressed, but I’d just like to say that I love ever book I’ve read by OSC. His views are wrong and bigoted, but he is still an amazing writer.

    Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Permalink
  68. shukov wrote:

    Remember when men were men, women were women and homosexuals were perverts? The world has changed for the worse.

    Friday, May 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
  69. Annie Moose wrote:

    To be frank, what does it matter what the personal views of an author are, so long as they don’t shove them down your throats in the books? If I’d never read this, I never would have known about OSC’s views, as they are nowhere to be found in the books. Actually, I always thought the books were very balanced, particularly on the topic of religion.

    Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  70. AustinDM wrote:

    Oh NO! Card has an opinion! And it doesn’t conform with yours! How DARE he!

    Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  71. ELBSeattle wrote:

    I read Ender’s Game and a few other OS Card books, including the first few of the ‘Alvin Maker’ series. I was so convinced that Card was writing about lesbian/gay people using the ‘knack’ as a pretty straightforward metaphor. I did some digging to find out if Orson Scott Card was gay – that is how deeply his description of those who were forced to hide their ‘knack’ from religious leaders seemed to echo my own experience of being gay. Well, you all know the rest of the story. Not only did I find out that OSC is not gay, he is virulently homophobic. I couldn’t read his books any more. It felt like trying to eat lunch in a house where I was clearly not wanted or welcome.
    It’s a pity how a mind can be so clear and vibrant in one area and so dark, backward and mean in another.

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 5:01 am | Permalink
  72. Don wrote:

    OSC is such a hypocrite. He advocates laws against homosexuality but have you noticed his writing? Card is a tottal pedophile. (Not comparing pedophelia with homosexuality, just how he is so against “sexual deviation”)all of his work, Enders Game? They are all about young boys, being over powered by older men. There’s even a fairly erotic scene where two boys strip naked and fight in the shower.
    OSC needs to shut his mouth about crap he doesn’t understand and get a shrink to sort out his little boy lust.

    Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] with the recent Orson Scott Card controversy in libraryland, and I respect nearly everyone who has taken a strong stance against the decision by the YALSA to award OSC the Margaret A. Edwards award for adolescent literature for [...]

  2. the goblin in the library › Playing the Controversy Card on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 9:25 am

    [...] going to chime in a bit late here to the heated conversation about Orson Scott Card getting this year’s Margaret A. Edwards Award to say [...]

  3. [...] Controversial Author Wins Edwards Award (School Library Journal) Orson Scott Card is a Big Fat Homophobe (Free Range [...]

  4. Free Range Librarian › ALA Annual 2011: The Trip Report on Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    [...] about homosexuality are out of sync with the positions on diversity shared by most libraries.  As I posted earlier, in 2008, there is a major distinction between buying books that readers want to read and uplifting an author [...]

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