Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Take On The Orson Scott Card Thing

If you haven't read it yet, Orson Scott Card posted a diatribe against gay marriage up on the Mormon Times.

There's a lot of talk from people suggesting that everyone should campaign against Marvel continuing to do business with Card and that no one should buy his book. And that's their right.

But I'm not sure I'm going to let that influence me.

Now, I'd feel a little easier about that decision if he was just against gays having the right to be married, but be allowed to have some form of legal partnership with all the rights and protection of marriage. The argument can be made that marriage is a religious institution and not something the state really has the right to apply to any coupling they see fit. Personally, I'd make the argument that the state should recognize all marriages under a secular title, rather than a religious one.

But, no, Card has gone much farther than that.

I'm a muslim. As such, I'm taught that homosexuality is a sin. A long time ago, I wasn't sure I'd buy the work of someone who was openly homosexual.

Then I read Phil Jimenez's Tempest mini-series and an editorial he wrote in the back of DC Comics about the passing of an editor he had worked with at the company. Great mini...and then I find out that the writer/artist was openly gay.

A hypothetical suddenly became a real issue. It forced me to search myself and eventually come to a decision to not let someone's sexuality lead me to not support their work. I even shared this event (while it was occurring) with Phil Jimenez via IM and had the chance to meet him at Wizard World Chicago 1997 (or was it 1998? I can never get the year right). I tried to reach out to him to thank him again for the effect he unwittingly had on my life.

I've gone on to have several close friends that happened to be gay. Despite being muslim, I support gay rights, as I believe anyone who values democracy should at least be open to. Which is odd, I guess, because Card seems to feel that the passage of more and more rights for gays is evidence that democracy is dead in this country.

So, I guess I'm saying that I wouldn't shun Card and his work because everyone is capable of change and...well...who knows what might have happened if things happened slightly different in my life? Might I have been a part of his amen corner if things were just slightly off from how they unfolded? Who knows.

Everyone else can react to his opinions however they want. All I know is that if Phil Jimenez had reacted towards me with animosity instead of understanding, I think the chances of my becoming a more enlightened and accepting soul would have been greatly diminished.


  1. Though I criticized Orson Scott Card for his statements concerning gay people, I'm one of the few people that blogged about it that didn't call for people to NOT buy his books. I'm not a big believer in boycotting art. I think the work should stand on it's own separate from the creator.

    Religion is a great thing to have in your life unless it teaches you to hate an entire group of people. I think this is what motivating Orson Scott Card to have the attitudes he has.

    I didn't choose to be a heterosexual. I don't think gay people choose to be homosexual. I just can't bring myself to think that I am better then someone else because I'm wired to be attracted to the opposite sex and they are not.

    The truth is that many gay couples are already living as though they are married. They own property together. They raise children together. Allowing these couples to enjoy the rights and privileges afforded to married folks isn't asking an awful lot.

  2. Kevin, I wish everyone was as open-minded and thoughtful as you were regarding this situation. It says something about you that you were able to still be a good Muslim and be able to support creators such as Phil Jimenez who are openly gay.

    And Rick... you summed up everything very nicely. Well said.

  3. John: Wow. Thank you. I'm really flattered by your compliments.

    Rick: Yeah, that's the part I don't get: denying gay couples marriage or all the legal rights afforded by being married doesn't keep them from living together.

  4. Kevin, I didn't know you were Muslim? That must make life in the states... interesting ;-) I have a friend who's parents are Syrian. He went to go to Seattle for a weekend on the ferry, and they turned him back, because his was black listed. Lovely!

    I hadn't come across this Orson Scott Card quote. I was a big fan of his Alvin Maker series, and it surprises me to hear that.

    Then again, everyone is entitled to their opinion, as ridiculous as that opinion may be :)

  5. Ed: Heh...yeah, sometimes. But I've become a rather unorthodox muslim. If we ever attend the same con, stop by the most popular hotel bar and you'll see what I'm referring to. ;)


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