I mentioned in my Top Ten Tuesday post that I refuse to buy Orson Scott Card books, despite the fact that Ender’s Game is one of the better books I’ve read and has impacted my life immensely. Now, I do not mind getting his wonderful novels from the library, borrowing and/or lending them, or even buying them second hand. I only refuse to purchase them brand new from the store in a manner that guarantees my own money will end up in Card’s pocket. The reason for this is simple – I disagree with where the money from Card’s pocket ends up.
No, Card does not do drugs (as far as I know), and he isn’t an alcoholic or a secret member in some crazy cult. All Mr. Card has done is become a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-LGBT organization. Let me clear things up here. My refusal does not stem from Card’s homophobia – to each his own, as they say. It stems from the fact that not only does Card hold this certain opinion, he actively participates in perpetuating it. He is part of and supports an organization that works to prolong discrimination and unequal rights, and he most likely supports this organization financially as well.
I do not support homophobia. However, I do realize many people think this way and that is something I have a small chance of changing. Instead, I can try and change, or at least lessen, the impact they have on actual official laws, leading me back to Card. I feel like it’s required I provide some information about the National Organization for Marriage and what they do so that it’s clear why I am so against it.
“The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is an American non-profit political organization established in 2007 to work against legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. It was formed in 2007 specifically to pass California Proposition 8 prohibiting same-sex marriage in California. The group has opposed civil union legislation and opposes gay adoption.
- NOM contributed $1.8 million to the Proposition 8 effort, and has been described as being “instrumental” in the success of the initiative.
- NOM actively opposed legalization of same-sex marriage in New York in 2011. After same-sex marriage was legalized in the state by the legislature in June 2011, NOM pledged to spend $2 million to defeat the four Republicans who voted for the bill to legalize it, and has erected signs in the districts of those senators, warning “You’re Next.”
- NOM provided more than $300,000 to the committee supporting North Carolina’s Amendment 1, a 2012 referendum which would alter the state’s constitution to forbid marriage and all other recognition for same-sex couples.“
(Taken from Wikipedia – Nation Organization for Marriage)
In summary, this organization plays an important role in the continuance of inequality, and their funding – their donor’s money – goes to the causes they support (as is with most organizations).
See, the question isn’t what my sexual orientation is but what my views on how the world should be are. Whether I’m gay or straight doesn’t matter – it’s how I think these people should be treated that does. I support equality. I support democracy. I oppose discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – I am in no way saying that Card’s work isn’t fantastic. Even with this big flaw in him, Card does manage to criticize other important aspects of society in his books, such as war, politics, power, and morality.
The thing is, to me homophobia is not merely “hating gay people.” That may be the official definition, but it isn’t the main point. To me homophobia represents the idea that some people are worth less than others; that some human beings are not as good as other human beings because they don’t fit aa certain norm. This way of thinking, in my opinion, is dangerous. It is dangerous to the values and morals I support. Meaning, Card, in my opinion, is dangerous. It doesn’t matter if I happen to be a Caucasian, heterosexual, Christian male. As long as I support equality and consider it a value of utmost importance, I cannot allow myself to support and to fund people like Card. The minute one group of people decides that another is not as equal as them a red light should be going off in our heads. It is one of the most dangerous ways of thinking us human beings can possess.
I guess you can now understand what led me to choosing this specific title for my post. Reading to me isn’t just a physical act of picking up a pile of connected papers, flipping through it and then placing it back on a shelf; it’s a part of me. Being a reader is a trait, not a habit. That’s why I do not mind reading Card’s books or getting them from other sources. I don’t think we should refuse to read books by people we disagree with, because sometimes that is the best way to understand them and anyway, a person’s character does not necessarily define their talent. If I were to boycott any author who supported ideas I didn’t, I wouldn’t have much left to read. Once a library has purchased a book or a friend has already paid for it, I can enjoy Card’s writing without financing his horrible ways. Unfortunately, this probably means I will not be going to see Ender’s Game in theaters, even though I’ve been waiting for this event for quite a while now.
Some would say that a line should be drawn between fictional works and their creators but as a reader and as a citizen of planet Earth I simply cannot purchase Orson Scott Card’s products because that would be a betrayal of the fundamental principles and rules that guide my thoughts, choices, and life in general.