While Orson Scott Card’s award-winning sci-fi novel Ender’s Game continues to be beloved around the world (and a favorite of yours truly), Card’s own outspoken anti-homosexual beliefs have resulted in a planned boycott of Lionsgate’s upcoming movie adaptation. The situation is unfortunate on a number of levels, Card’s lack of human decency aside. Fans of the novel have been waiting to see Ender’s Game on the big screen for years, but now face a moral quandary over whether or not they want their hard-earned money to line the pockets of a bigot. Members of the LGBT community may now forever associate the story of Ender’s Game with the misguided hatred of its author. On a studio level, Lionsgate is attempting to distance their picture from the author and has released a statement in the hopes of getting back in the good graces of all movie-goers. Hit the jump to see what they have to say.
“As proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community, champions of films ranging from GODS AND MONSTERS to THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER and a Company that is proud to have recognized same-sex unions and domestic partnerships within its employee benefits policies for many years, we obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage. However, they are completely irrelevant to a discussion of ENDER’S GAME. The simple fact is that neither the underlying book nor the film itself reflect these views in any way, shape or form. On the contrary, the film not only transports viewers to an entertaining and action-filled world, but it does so with positive and inspiring characters who ultimately deliver an ennobling and life-affirming message. Lionsgate will continue its longstanding commitment to the LGBT community by exploring new ways we can support LGBT causes and, as part of this ongoing process, will host a benefit premiere for ENDER’S GAME.”
First of all, I don’t buy that Card’s views are “irrelevant” to a movie adaptation of his book since there is quite a bit of money on the line, money that will continue to fund his attempts to trod on equal rights for all. While the studio’s statement reads like someone who says, “It’s cool, I have loads of gay friends,” after laughing at an anti-homosexual joke, I applaud them for hosting a benefit premiere. It’s not much, but it’s something. And in a difficult situation where there are no winners, at least they’re trying to stay out in front of it rather than staying quiet and hoping it all blows over.
[Update: A few of you have requested examples of Card's anti-homosexual comments so I've included them below along with their sources. All of them are excerpts from articles written by Card himself. I apologize for not having them up earlier.]
One of the earliest records is a 1990 account from Card written to the conservative members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, pleasantly titled “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality”. While he did speak out against the enforcement of a then Constitutionally-sound Georgia law prohibiting sodomy in the privacy of one’s own home (a position he still holds since the decision was overturned in 2003), Card’s belief that homosexuality is a sin that can be controlled is evident here:
One thing is certain: one cannot serve two masters. And when one’s life is given over to one community that demands utter allegiance, it cannot be given to another. The LDS church is one such community. The homosexual community seems to be another. And when I read the statements of those who claim to be both LDS and homosexual, trying to persuade the former community to cease making their membership contingent upon abandoning the latter, I wonder if they realize that the price of such “tolerance” would be, in the long run, the destruction of the Church…The Church has plenty of room for individuals who are struggling to overcome their temptation toward homosexual behavior. But for the protection of the Saints and the good of the persons themselves, the Church has no room for those who, instead of repenting of homosexuality, wish it to become an acceptable behavior in the society of the Saints. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, preaching meekness while attempting to devour the flock.
Thankfully, the First Amendment grants the Church of Latter-Day Saints freedom of religion, as well as members who aren’t of that particular faith freedom from religion. The supposed separation of Church and State was lost on Card, as seen in this 2004 article on The Ornery American:
The Massachusetts Supreme Court has not yet declared that “day” shall now be construed to include that which was formerly known as “night,” but it might as well.
By declaring that homosexual couples are denied their constitutional rights by being forbidden to “marry,” it is treading on the same ground.
Do you want to know whose constitutional rights are being violated? Everybody’s. Because no constitution in the United States has ever granted the courts the right to make vast, sweeping changes in the law to reform society.
So it is a flat lie to say that homosexuals are deprived of any civil right pertaining to marriage. To get those civil rights, all homosexuals have to do is find someone of the opposite sex willing to join them in marriage.
In order to claim that they are deprived, you have to change the meaning of “marriage” to include a relationship that it has never included before this generation, anywhere on earth.
Just because homosexual partners wish to be called “married” and wish to force everyone else around them to regard them as “married,” does not mean that their Humpty-Dumpty-ish wish should be granted at the expense of the common language, democratic process, and the facts of human social organization.
However emotionally bonded a pair of homosexual lovers may feel themselves to be, what they are doing is not marriage. Nor does society benefit in any way from treating it as if it were.
Not content with his previous effort, a similar article appeared in 2008 in The Deseret News. Here, Card is still under the impression that his religiously-influenced concept of marriage should be a blanket fact for all citizens, regardless of their own belief systems. His aggression towards the more tolerant rulings U.S. courts now increases:
Here’s the irony: There is no branch of government with the authority to redefine marriage.
Marriage is older than government. Its meaning is universal: It is the permanent or semipermanent bond between a man and a woman, establishing responsibilities between the couple and any children that ensue.
The laws concerning marriage did not create marriage, they merely attempted to solve problems in such areas as inheritance, property, paternity, divorce, adoption and so on.
No matter how sexually attracted a man might be toward other men, or a woman toward other women, and no matter how close the bonds of affection and friendship might be within same-sex couples, there is no act of court or Congress that can make these relationships the same as the coupling between a man and a woman.
This is a permanent fact of nature.
I also like this particular argument:
There is no natural method by which two males or two females can create offspring in which both partners contribute genetically. This is not subject to legislation, let alone fashionable opinion.
As if the end-all, be-all reason for marriage as recognized by a government is only to produce offspring and has nothing to do with taxes, insurance beneficiaries, property and other financially-related issues. (Fun fact: Did you know two people can make a baby without first being married?) And God forbid (literally, according to Card) same-sex couples adopt and unwanted or orphaned child.
He does go on to say that:
We heterosexuals have put marriage in such a state that it’s a wonder homosexuals would even aspire to call their unions by that name.
Which would be redeeming except for his follow-up:
With “gay marriage,” the last shreds of meaning will be stripped away from marriage, with homosexuals finishing what faithless, selfish heterosexuals have begun.
Here’s another fun bit:
Biological imperatives trump laws.
Although we just saw Card say that such biological imperatives are expected to be corrected if they don’t line up with the tenets of the Church. So by this logic, God > Church > Biological Imperatives > Laws. All well and good until that pesky “Separation of Church and State” butts in again.
A recent 2012 effort seen in the Greensboro Rhino Times shows that Card still hasn’t grasped this basic concept as he still sees gay marriage as a threat to his religious values, even if his religious values have no business in others’ lives. (He also plays the, “I have gay friends” card, which is fun.):
There’s no need to legalize gay marriage. I have plenty of gay friends who are committed couples; some of them call themselves married, some don’t, but their friends treat them as married. Anybody who doesn’t like it just doesn’t hang out with them.
It’s just like heterosexual couples who are living together without marriage. Their friends still treat them like married couples, inviting them places together; they’re a social unit. Those who strongly disapprove leave them alone.
There are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples. They can visit each other in the hospital. They can benefit from each other’s insurance.
No, legalizing gay marriage is not about making it possible for gay people to become couples.
It’s about giving the left the power to force anti-religious values on our children. Once they legalize gay marriage, it will be the bludgeon they use to make sure that it becomes illegal to teach traditional values in the schools.
Our children will be barraged with the deceptions of the left. Parents will be forbidden to remove their children from the propaganda.
What a horrible dystopian world, where children are more tolerant than their parents. I haven’t used this word for Card yet but this last article shows he deserves it: fear-monger. As for Card’s repeated denials that there is any science to support a genetic (or epigenetic) heredity of homosexuality, well here’s some evidence. Oh and there’s some over here, too; this one reminds (or informs people for the first time) that despite the argument that “homosexuality is unnatural,” it has been documented in over 450 species found, you know, in nature.
I’d also like to point out this particular snippet from Card’s 1990 article:
“… America, a democratic society, is under no obligation to preserve some imagined “right” of citizens who wish to use their freedom to overthrow that democracy and institute tyranny, …”
Juxtaposed against this little nugget from his 2008 article in the Deseret News:
How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn … Because when government is the enemy of marriage, then the people who are actually creating successful marriages have no choice but to change governments, by whatever means is made possible or necessary.
As a bonus, here’s an article of Card’s addressed to the media and journalists just after President Barack Obama was elected to his second term. Oh and for everyone who wanted me to cite his quotes, I’d just like to mention that Card does not provide references for any of his claims in any of the above articles.
Are you a fan of Ender’s Game? Are you contemplating boycotting the movie because of Card’s views or do you think the two are unrelated? Did Lionsgate handle this in the best way possible? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!