Okay, so there’s a big hubbub-baloo going on right now because Orson Scott Card was hired by DC to write a Superman comic. He’s not being put on as a regular writer on a main title. It’s a side series with rotating guest writers. Why is everyone so up in arms? Well, Mr. Card has been very vocal about his stance on homosexuality. He sits on the board for the National Organization for Marriage which actively tries to prevent gay marriage from being legalized. He is also a practicing Mormon, which I have no doubt has helped to inform his views on the subject quite substantially. So now there are many fans, gay or otherwise, and even entire comic shops that are boycotting the book and advocating for DC to fire him.
Okay, here’s the problem with that “firing” part: personal beliefs should be left out of workplace decisions as long as those beliefs do not affect the work. Card has just as much right to work as any of us, whether you find his personal beliefs distasteful or not; and to fire him for personal beliefs when they haven’t made their way onto the pages of the comics would be wrong on DC’s part. Not to mention it’d be an invite for a law suit were they to do so because he could make a very strong argument that he’d been fired for his religious beliefs. It could be argued that they have fired people for similar reasons in the past, however those instances weren’t as in the public eye as this one is, and they were under a different context anyway. More often than not those creators where publicly commenting on the company or their books, not personal beliefs. Regardless, it’s wrong. Now, if Card suddenly has Superman advocating against homosexuality because it’s not the “American way” then that’d be different.
To demand that Card be taken off the book because of his beliefs as opposed to his writing ability is the same kind of prejudiced behavior as it would be if they were demanding it because of his religion (which it kinda is), skin tone, or his own sexual orientation. In other words it’s advocating for the very thing that many of these fans are fighting against. It’s a double standard. Tolerance doesn’t just go one way, or work because it’s easy, politically correct, or publicly popular. Card has a right to believe whatever the hell he wants. He can sit on a board and advocate for gay marriage to not be legalized because he personally believes very strongly against it; just as much as homosexuals and those that support them have the right to fight for it. As long as he is not advocating for homosexuals to be rounded up and killed, enslaved, or thrown into jail (and he doesn’t) he is not comparable to a Nazi, which is a comparison I’ve seen many make. You may not agree with his beliefs, like it, or think he’s a very good person, but that should, in no way, change his right to work as a writer. That said, that doesn’t mean that fans have to buy his work. You don’t like it? Say it with your pocketbook. That’ll hurt DC more than anything, and I guarantee he won’t be put on another book if this one bombs. Especially since i’m sure the only reason they got him to write this one is because of the buzz about the Ender’s Game movie. Besides, his past work in comics hasn’t been anything to write home about anyway.
Yes, I understand that what he advocates for is hurtful to many, but fighting intolerance with more intolerance isn’t the answer and only makes things worse. Like it or not we live in a democracy. We live in a huge melting pot of cultures, religions, and beliefs and we advocate that everyone has a right to these things without being held apart or treated differently because of them. In order for a society like that to work, everyone is just going to have to deal with the fact that it’s not, as of right now, illegal to be an a-hole. If it were our overcrowding problem with jails would become an epidemic. So don’t add to the problem. Don’t make yourself into a hypocrite because this one man is intolerant to your lifestyle or that of a loved one’s. It’s not going to make anything better.
To address the religious side of this debate: Do I publicly or personally support Card’s beliefs? No. For those that may not know I am a licensed Christian minister and have spent the last 15 years working in ministry in some capacity. That said, I believe homosexuals should have the same legal rights as everyone else. To be frank: whether or not homosexuality is a “sin” isn’t my problem. God didn’t ordain me to be the sin police. That’s between them and God, just as the things I do in my life are between me and God. Regardless of the “sinfullness” of homosexuality, I think it’s pretty clear from the Bible that Jesus wouldn’t love them any less or treat them any differently than he did anyone else that was a “sinner”- meaning all of us.
I think Card is a talented writer. I loved Ender’s Game, for example. However if he wrote something that was hate-filled or advocated against a certain type of person I wouldn’t buy it or read it. I think Card has a right to believe what he does. I think he has the right to fight for what he feels is right for the society he lives in just as much as friends and acquaintances I have who happen to be homosexual have the right to fight for what they feel is right and equal. You have every right to not support his work just as he has the right to make it. if you don’t agree with Card or where his money will end up going then boycott the book. Say how you feel where they’ll feel it most- say it with your money and spend it on something else.
J.R. Broadwater is the author of the non-fiction book Down with the Thickness: Viewing the World From a Fat Guy’s Perspective, the sci-fi detective novel You Only Die Twice, and the fantasy novel The Chosen: Rebirthing Part 1- all available now in digital and paperback formats. Sample chapters and more information about these books can be found here.