Orson Scott Card's views are understandable, although I strongly disagree with him. His main point was that homosexuality should not be considered acceptable within the Church of Latter Day Saints. That's fine; religious organizations may do whatever they please, as long as it's lawful. His comments throughout the essay about homosexuality were pretty mild compared to the ignorant bilge spewing from today's prominent fundamentalist Christians. Rather than blaming homosexuality for the nation's problems, he described it as just another sinful tendency that must be dealt with. This coming from a LDS speaks volumes. They think everything is a sin, sinners must be counseled and entreated to repent, or withdraw/ be expelled from the organization.
As far as his ideas on how the government should address legislation concerning homosexuality, his views are no different than most religious conservatives. He believes that laws should be in place to promote a traditional view of social order. He even uses the phrase, "society's regulation of sexual behavior," a premise I find fault in. There are reasons for laws against incest, pedophilia, rape, etc., but acts between two consenting adults should be off-limits to society's "regulation".
It's also interesting that in the introduction, he basically says, "I have gay friends, they're like normal people, except gay!" and then suggests that they should not, and will never be accepted as equal citizens in society. It's one thing to keep homosexuality out of the LDS church, it's another to imply that those who choose to be with members of their own sex are somehow inferior.
I understand what you are saying. I have no problem with the fact that he wants homosexuality to remain a sin in the eyes of the LDS, but also I was irritated the most when he implied that homosexuals are inferior.
"...those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society."
I take offense to him using the government to regulate sexual behavior. Perhaps he should press for laws that make it illegal to have sex unless reproduction is the intention.
I've read all the books in his Ender series and the spin-offs, and must say they are some of the best political science fiction books ever written. That said, I don't hold Card's personal beliefs against him in the way that he does against homosexuals. I think his conclusions are (mostly) logical and even inevitable following his conservative LDS premises. Needless to say, I also think the Mormon premise is wrong. Therefore I think he is wrong, but is nevertheless a reasonable, intelligent man who I respect.
LDS has every right as a private organization to keep gays from being in their church, and may even wish to pursue that if Card is correct. However, I strongly disagree with the notion of any federal or stateside legislation of gay rights in a negative way. I simply believe the Church and the State should be seperate as James Madison intended.
I think his interpretation of the "genetic predisposition" argument is false. That is simply a refutation of homosexuality as a choice, not a justification for what it entails. Moreover, it is true a 15 year old boy is predisposed to copulation, and can resist acting on those temptations. It is not true, however, that that adolescent can remove the temptations -- at least not without sever psychological damage. The same is true of the homosexual. By definition, a homosexual need not act on his desires to be a homosexual. He or she must merely have those desires. It is the sexual attraction to the same sex. How it manifests, in sodomy or what ever you like to call it, is something different.
Furthermore, he is very sensationalist in his perception of homosexuality's effects on the community, which he believes would deteriorate. "Those who would be members of a community must sacrifice the satisfaction of some of their individual desires in order to maintain the existence of that community." That may be perfectly true, but I think regardless of what is sinful and what is virtuous, the average gay couple would do nothing corporeal to the community's status-quo. The average gay person, it must be remembered, is not the hair stylist in ass-less chaps. He is just a guy who is no more flagrant than Card. The boom of gay pride parades and general flamboyancy in some gay communities is, I believe, a sort of insurgency -- and is and always was a minority of gays. It is a rebellion against a society perceived as oppressive, and is a form of insecurity (and indeed immaturity) insofar as it serves as socio-compensation. Therefore, in as much as the flamboyancy is already myth outside of California (or the gay Judea), it will be fully myth (or at least compartmentalized) once the nation and legal code is accepting of homosexuals. In that sense, by repressing gays or the "gay life-style" in any way is only agitating, prolonging, and strengthening what you seek to diminish. Card is advocating fueling the already (minuscule) flame.
"LDS has every right as a private organization to keep gays from being in their church, and may even wish to pursue that if Card is correct."
I'm not so certain. While I support religious freedom, I think that like all freedoms, it is limited. A Church like LDS is more than an pigeon breeders association, because membership is not something that grown-ups freely chose. Most members are born into it.
Would you be okay with a church that teaches the female children of its members that women are naturally inferiour and should not pursue any education beyond the minimum demanded by civil law (and that even that ought to be changed if possible.) Or one that teaches the children of its members (including black or asian children) that non-whites are created by God to serve whites and that they should accept and pursue this is their natural role in life? Wouldn't you call it child abuse if any organization that had power over children would try to warp and humiliate the children of its members like that?
So why should any organization, church or not, be allowed to teach its homosexual children that they are abominable, that they must never live their sexuality, that what they feel as love is evil, that they are actually worth less than other members? How is that not child abuse?
While I don't really care what a particular religion believes a sexual act or sexuality to be, sinful or not, he spread a number of stereotypes that are false on their face.
First and foremost, he pretends that homosexuals, myself included, are absolute slaves, servants to their sexual desires. That we are so wrapped up in our sexual "deviance" we cannot belong to any other sort of community.
This is true of many homosexuals (and heterosexuals) but to pretend that this is true of most or all is egregiously prejudiced and unusually ignorant of someone who has so much talent in literature.
"I did learn that for most of them their highest allegiance was to their membership in the community that gave them access to sex."
Let's not forget he is bringing up the stereotype of the theatre homosexual, as if the homosexual culture there is the same for all kinds of homosexuals. (Surprise surprise, I was never in theatre).
My own allegiances don't put the homosexual community and sex as my no. 1 priority, either. The same goes for my boyfriend. He puts his family and his craft first, then me. As for myself, he is my no. 1 priority, then comes my politics and religion. I have never been to a gay club, I have only had a few partners, I did go through a promiscuous phase that lasted for three months when I was a sophomore in college, and I have been with my boyfriend for nearly two years (and have never cheated on him).
I don't believe most homosexuals are the outlandish, clubbish, hypersexual fiends that he is trying to portray us as. God knows there are plenty like that, but no more than there are oversexed heterosexuals.
I find the criticism that homosexuals are too into sex strange coming from the billions of straight people on the planet. I find it hard to believed that so many children would exist today if it weren't for an intense sexual passion held by most people.
Card has some strange conceptions, I wonder why he doesn't mind people marrying and having children; as I am willing to bet that most people put their family above all other things (even their church). If the church were to come down on a family member I would be extremely surprised if Card himself would toss that person away rather than defend them (especially if it was his wife or child).
Why does he not decry the "allegiance" of the husband and wife to each other and their children? I suppose it is because the church endorses such unions, such allegiances. Still, it would be a tacit endorsement of an allegiance above an allegiance to the church.
It's hypocritical, it is two-faced, and it is no less prejudiced than saying homosexuals are evil and need to be cast out of society.
I also find it unlikely that he even had homosexual friends; noone would talk about their friends in such a mean-spirited and dishonest manner. If he did he must have fallen in with a rather bad crowd (and I am sure he was in with promiscuous heterosexuals as well). Of course, when heterosexuals do it it is a sin, which they can be counseled out of. When homosexuals do it it is an inherent and immutable flaw that is inseparable from being a homosexual.
A promiscuous heterosexual has strayed from the righteous path.
A promiscuous homosexual is just being a homosexual, the only way to stop being promiscuous is to stop being homosexual altogether.
What's irritating is that it is difficult for people like Card to meet different kinds of homosexuals. Most of us are difficult if not impossible to spot off the street, we also tend to keep our sexuality and relationships secret for fear of persecution. This puts all of the scrutiny on the most obvious homosexuals; the ones who tend to be the most outlandish and the most sexual.
We can't be spotted off the street like people of differing races, we don't have huge populations and large churches, we hide, and many of us don't even identify as homosexual. This sort of discover-channel esque "hidden world of the homosexual" breeds misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and stereotyping.
It's irritating, and the media doesn't help one bit. Homosexual television shows and movies tend to play into these stereotypes rather than disprove them and we aren't even allowed to speak on political and social issues that matter to us personally, much less more general issues.
Rachel Maddow of Air America is the only openly gay political commentator with national syndication that I know about.
During the gay marriage debate it was hard to see a single homosexual defending our rights on the political debate programs and specials.
All most people know about us is that we like the same gender, we are obsessed with getting married (or killing marriage), and we are very girly and artistic. All stereotypes contained within Card's very "thesis".
Again, this is why I doubt he's had much real contact with the gay community. He might have known two homosexuals (vaguely, and through other friends) but I doubt he's been in a serious friendship with any of us.
From the essay... "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."
I don't know if I will ever be able to read on of his books.
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