Killer of Sacred Cows
Thursday, February 26, 2004
  Dear Mr. Orson Scott Card:
For a long, long time, I have been a fan of your books.

However, I'm seriously considering burning every book of yours I own, including the one I just purchased this week, and sending you a box full of their ashes, due to your bigoted and pseudo-intellectual column of cleverly masked hate speech. As a Mormon, you should know what it's like to be a member of a persecuted minority, but I suppose that your ability to apply "this happened to my people, therefore it shouldn't happen to others" is nonexistent, and that's a shame. Like many minorities, you're playing the "I got mine, so screw you, Jack" game, and it isn't pretty.

You say: "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."

As someone I know said, "day" is a twenty-four-hour period, and as such, it does in fact, include "night." Your semantics-chopping is ridiculous and weak. Can't you do better than that? As a man who uses words to make his living, you should know better than anyone that words are not static. Their meanings change. Dictionaries do not dictate the meanings of words; they describe current usage. And usage of words changes over time.

"Marriage" is a word with changing meanings. At one time, it meant the marriage of one man to many women. Look in any Bible for confirmation of that. Solomon and David both had several wives. I'll also mention Jacob, who had to marry Leah before he could marry Rachel. Marriage used to mean polygamy, and in many parts of the world, it still does. Over seventy percent of all marriages in the world today are polygamous.

You're a Mormon who supposedly knows his own church's history, so I hardly need remind you that your own church also practiced polygamous marriage in the 1800s, but I will anyway, since it seems to have slipped your mind. Remember, you devoted an entire novel (Saints) to nothing but that one subject.

Sometime after the birth of Christ, marriage became a two-person structure. As far as I know, nobody in the New Testament has more than one wife. But it wasn't considered sacred by the early Christians. The Catholic Church formalized marriages between same-sex couples right up through the 1100s. There is documentation to that effect. Look up John Boswell and read his research sometime. Then try to debunk it scientifically.

Your claim: " you have to change the meaning of "marriage" to include a relationship that it has never included before this generation, anywhere on earth" is false. Homosexual marriages were sanctioned by the Church a thousand years before you were ever born.

You can't say that marriage has been reserved for heterosexual couples throughout time, because it hasn't been. There's documented proof of that. The fact that people developed a horror of homosexuality after Aquinas in the 1200s has exactly nothing to do with the fact that until then, and after the Enlightenment, it was accepted and condoned by most people in the West, including the churches. You don't start seeing diatribes about it in the historical record until Aquinas, and the Church's objection to homosexuality was based largely on specious justifications such as "natural law" and a Stoicism which rejected pleasure, especially the pleasure of the sexual act. Christian opposition to homosexuality occurred concurrently with the oppression of many other minority groups, including Jews, women, and heretics. Everyone needs a scapegoat, and gays have served that purpose for the Church for many, many centuries -- at least, after Aquinas' treatise. Only when things are going badly are people like me singled out for abuse by the dominant religious and political groups of the time.

You say: "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."

Read the Constitution. The powers of the courts include judicial review of laws and the ability to determine if they are constitutional or not, and have ever since Marbury vs. Madison right after the inception of this country's government. They are not making changes to law. They are striking down laws that do not meet the constitutional standard. No law banning gay marriage is constitutional. We ALL have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - and you don't get to dictate what makes me happy any more than I get to dictate what makes you happy (although it saddens me that what makes you happy is abusing other people from the safety of the pedestal that you've placed yourself upon. That is truly beneath you). The job of the courts in this country, in large part, are to make sure that laws restricting freedoms are not passed without legitimate cause. There is no legitimate cause to restrict my rights just because your religion doesn't like me or people like me or the way we set up our families.

You say: "Any homosexual man who can persuade a woman to take him as her husband can avail himself of all the rights of husbandhood under the law. And, in fact, many homosexual men have done precisely that, without any legal prejudice at all."

Yes, and one of them was my father. And one of the lesbians you mention a little later was my mother. And they made each other miserable for twenty-two years. I grew up with parents who hated themselves and struggled to remain true to vows that society had forced them into. Is this what you want people like me to go through? Years of anguish? I did it myself, for thirteen years. My marriage failed, too. And now I've found a man who makes me happy, but apparently you would like to deny me that happiness because you just can't get over the fact that we both have male bodies. How Christlike is that? Show me where Jesus was that disapproving of anyone other than the Pharisees. I doubt you'll be able to find anything.

Your claim is weak. It's the same as saying that everyone under the Taliban had freedom of religion because they were all free to worship Allah.

You say: "So not only are two sexes required in order to conceive children, children also learn their sex-role expectations from the parents in their own family. This is precisely what large segments of the Left would like to see break down. And if it is found to have unpleasant results, they will, as always, insist that the cure is to break down the family even further."

Your wishes for gays to "turn straight" ruined my parents' marriage and mine as well. But I notice that you don't address that. You'd rather see us torture ourselves than be true to ourselves. Hardly a Christian attitude, Mr. Card.

Children can find gender-role models in all sorts of places. My parents certainly didn't provide me what you would consider "normal" gender roles: my mother was the sports fanatic and my father was an artist. My mother played baseball (not softball) and my father taught us to dance. My male role model was that of artistic sensitivity and passive study; my female role model was that of aggressiveness and dominance. Hardly the role models you seem to want men and women to give their children. But I also had other gender role models. My godparents. My aunts and uncles. My mother's and father's friends. The women in the choir at the church my father was music director at. The men who coached my younger brothers' Little League team. Teachers were excellent role models as well.

Children do not exist in a vacuum any more than any of us do. Nor are they blank slates. They come out of the womb with personalities and dislikes and preferences. I have two daughters, and they were very different as babies and are very different from each other as children even though they were raised by the same people and in much the same way. The idea that we impose a form on them and they automatically take it is the height of hubris. And as a Mormon, you should know that. My boyfriend is an ex-Mormon who left the church largely because of the attitudes of people like you. Mormons believe that you call existing souls - existing personalities - into bodies. How dare you think you can mold or force those souls to be anything other than what they are?

You say: "there are plenty of kids whose divorced parents have scads of money -- but whose lives are deformed by the absence of one of their parents in their lives."

I am autistic and bipolar, Mr. Card. When I realized that I was gay, I also realized that between my autism, my bipolar disorder, and my homosexuality, I had no business trying to remain in a farce of a heterosexual marriage, becoming more depressed every day and letting my children see me depressed and often angry and sometimes irrational. I recognized that my personal limitations were such that full-time parenthood was not an appropriate thing for me to attempt -- not at the risk of my children's happiness. Since I could not remove them from the situation, I removed myself from it, and got a divorce. I see my children twice a week, and I think they're much better off seeing me happy and calm when I do see them than seeing me frazzled, depressed, angry, and irrational because of the strain of parenthood. Yes, I probably should have known better and not had children, but the pressure was very great. My mother, especially, wanted to see me succeed at a straight marriage where she had failed. I tend to be susceptible to pressure - or at least, at the time I was - and my spouse wanted children. Lots of children. So I did my best to oblige.

I love my children, but it would have been more abusive and irresponsible to stay in a dying marriage and give them that model of parental love than to do what I did, which was the responsible and adult thing to do, and that was leave them in the hands of people who knew what they were doing - my ex-spouse and ex-in-laws.

You say "some of the things people need a father for: laying the groundwork for a sense of moral judgment; praise that is believed so that it can instill genuine self-confidence."

Mothers can do that just as well. How dare you denigrate half the human race from your sexist pedestal? I'm sure there are a lot of kids out there whose mothers were unmarried and/or divorced who did just fine with their moral upbringing. You seem to think that only an authoritarian household with Dad as the boss can work. That family model only fits about ten percent of all American families and even less of all Western families.

There have been studies which show that although the children of gay and lesbian couples do no better than those of heterosexual parents, they also do no worse. Your assertion is fallacious.

You say: " Monogamous marriage is by far the most effective foundation for a civilization."

Again, you have no proof of this. Polygamous marriage seems to work just fine - and more cultures practice that than practice monogamy, even today. You have no basis for your assertion.

I would read the rest of your column, but all it is is cleverly disguised hate speech, and for the first time, I find better things to do with my time than read anything you write. Your appeal as a writer was once universal enough to win you a Hugo and a Nebula. Today it's only to those who share your prejudices. It's a shame that you are as ignorant as the uneducated masses. I expected better from you.

You can spout your diatribes about "the P.C. elite," but it won't change the fact that you want to deny equal rights to a group of citizens based solely on who they love, and that's no more right than what the United States government did to the Mormons who wanted to practice polygamous marriage in the 1800s. The fact that you're willing to participate in this bigotry shows that you are no more a Christian than the men who shot down your Prophet Joseph Smith, and in some ways even less of one.

Sincerely,

A Former Reader
 
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