Orson Scott Card’s Website Lies About Card’s Homophobic Past

“Roger,” a comment-writer at a Conservative Christian blog, writes in defense of Orson Scott Card:1

It might be helpful to this debate to take quotes attributed to Orson Scott Card in context, especially quotes regarding “overthrow by whatever means necessary” – this is the most egregious lift, as it was taken from a hypothetical voice, not Scott’s own.

Roger’s link goes to “Hatrack River, the Official Website of Orson Scott Card.” The page he links to is called “Quotes in Context – Orson Scott Card on Gay Marriage,”2 a page which (ironically) uses out-of-context quotes to lie to readers.3

For example, the full 2008 OSC op-ed in which he advocates that married heterosexuals “change governments, by whatever means is made possible or necessary” can be read here. Contrary to what Roger mistakenly thought, “whatever means” quote is written in OSC’s voice, not a hypothetical voice.

It is true that much later in the essay, a hypothetical voice also calls for revolution – but at least to my ear, it’s clear that hypothetical voice is one OSC approves of.

Nor does this essay stand alone; in 2004, Card didn’t go as far as calling for revolution, but he did write:

If America becomes a place where the laws of the nation declare that marriage no longer exists — which is what the Massachusetts decision actually does — then our allegiance to America will become zero. We will transfer our allegiance to a society that does protect marriage.

More from the “Quotes in Context” page:

OSC wrote an essay in 1990 (23 years ago) to a conservative Mormon audience that, at the time, would have felt no interest in decriminalizing homosexual acts. In that context, his call to “leave the laws on the books” was simply recognizing the law at the time. In the same article he called for them not to be enforced.

Despite the “Quotes in Context” title, the actual quote isn’t included, nor is there any link to the quote.

In fact, the essay clearly and unambiguously endorsed using criminal law to discourage homosexuality – including jailing those who were too “flagrantly” gay. The fully essay is here. The relevant passage:

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.

The goal of the polity is not to put homosexuals in jail. The goal is to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly, so as not to shake the confidence of the community in the polity’s ability to provide rules for safe, stable, dependable marriage and family relationships.

Far from calling for the laws “not to be enforced,” OSC explicitly advocates enforcement against those who are “flagrantly” homosexual, so that they won’t be “permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens.”

There’s a bit of a cliche in the same-sex marriage movement, in which pro-marriage-equality folks tell their opponents, “years from now, you’ll lie to your grandchildren about what position you took.” Orson Scott Card seems to be living out this prediction on an accelerated schedule.

  1. That sentence sounds wrong to me, I think because of way “blog” and “Card” almost but not quite rhyme. But I’d feel silly fixing it for that reason. []
  2. I suspect the uncredited page was written by Orson Scott Card himself – it’s similar to other things OSC has written. []
  3. Tellingly, the page doesn’t include links to the actual articles, so readers can check for themselves. []
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4 Responses to Orson Scott Card’s Website Lies About Card’s Homophobic Past

  1. 1
    Jake Squid says:

    Why am I not surprised?

    (Tangentially: Is it just me or are the trailers for Ender’s Game really terrible? If I didn’t know what it was, I’d have no idea from the trailers and, certainly, no interest in finding out what it was about.)

  2. 2
    Harlequin says:

    Totally true. (To be fair, it’s hard to talk about the interesting points of the story without spoilers.)

    I saw somebody point out that in all the trailers cumulatively, we hear 6 lines from Ender himself.

  3. 3
    Copyleft says:

    But Card stepped down from the board of the National Organization for Marriage back in July! And surely that was for moral and ethical reasons and him seeing the light of tolerance and love, rather than any self-serving worries about bad publicity for his movie affecting his bottom line.

  4. 4
    PhDAAA says:

    Hard to say why Card stepped down from NOM. However, we now know he does not get any more money for the movie. Like most authors he sold the rights for his book, and gets no tale on the box office