Friday, October 28, 2005

Orson Scott Card (2)

Yesterday I was too close to the boiling point and I don't feel that I supported my opinions well enough to be persuasive.  Let's look over The Hypocrites of Homosexuality and parse out why it's so offensive.  Clearly Card doesn't understand why it is offensive since he evinces confusion over opposition to its content.  Perhaps those well-intentioned souls among my readers might read the essay and think that Card "hates the sin and loves the sinner."  While that may be true, as he claims, there is far more in the essay that establishes proof of a mind enmeshed in bigotry.

First, I will stipulate to the fact that 90 percent of The H of H is concerned exclusively with the policies of the LDS church.  I don't give a rat's ass what the LDS church thinks and never will.  They are perfectly free to believe whatever nonsense they wish and require their membership to believe the same.  No.  I'm concerned with the 10 percent of the essay that deals with "the polity" as Card calls it, the role of homosexuals within the larger society, American society. 

I did learn that for most of them their highest allegiance was to their membership in the community that gave them access to sex.

Here Card reduces our relationships to merely the quest for sex.  This diminishes our lives and relationships, dehumanizes us, and is patently offensive.  It is also intellectually disingenuous as the very same thing could be said about his membership in the LDS community.  And how would he react if someone reduced his community to merely a group of people who gave each other access to sex?

In paragraph 9, Card compares gays (I simply cannot continue to use the term "homosexual") to children and the mentally ill.  We are either immature or insane.  This is the modern way of demonizing us, and it is intellectually disingenuous.

In paragraph 12, Card goes off track completely, taking his argument out of the LDS church and into society at large.  Here is where his argument must be forcefully engaged. 

This applies also to the polity, the citizens at large. 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 whoflagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.

Obviously his essay was written before the most recent ruling by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, but nevertheless sodomy statutes were uninforceable and unconstitutional then just as they are now.  He should have known better.  Furthermore, he advocates using laws selectively in order to quell the First Amendment Rights of those who disagree with the view of the majority.

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.

Again, Card is advocating using the awesome power of the government to control the thoughts and behavior of people with whom he disagrees.  He places some people's relationships ahead of, or better than, others.  This is unAmerican.  Our system provides equanimity for everyone.  He further advocates using law to squash the First Amendment rights of those with whom he disagrees.  Be discreet, or else go to the slammer.

The rest of his dissertation can easily be dismissed as self-serving sophistry.  His real aim, I suggest, was to represent himself as a mainstream member of the LDS church.  Doubtless Songmaster raised more than a few eyebrows in Salt Lake City.  There were parts of that novel which dealt compassionately with homosexuality.  When I first read it, and had no inkling of Card's religion or religiosity, I was quite moved.  I found it sympathetic to gay sensibilities.  I believe that with his essay, Card is trying to distance himself from that book, and to justify why he was so kind to his gay characters (kind?--one of them commits suicide by eating a towel) and reassure the Mormon hierarchy that he's one of the faithful.  I believe this was why he wrote this screed, and that is at the minimum a dual motive, if not pure hypocrisy.

Fortunately for me, I grew up in the Lutheran church, a church from which you cannot be excommunicated (that I know of).  It has a far less rigid hierarchical authority than the LDS church.  I find it frankly amazing that Card uses scriptures to justify his trope against gays while ignoring the following passage:

Galatians 1:8-9

8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

the Angel Moroni, anyone?

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