December 03, 2003

Fascist Mormon threat

Tyranny, like fog, sometimes creeps in on little cat (Mormon) feet. I point you to Orson Scott Card's policy preferences vis-a-vis homosexuals (via Atrios):

When I was an undergraduate theatre student, I was aware, and not happily so, how pervasive was the reach of the underculture of homosexuality among my friends and acquaintances. . . I did learn that for most of them their highest allegiance was to their membership in the community that gave them access to sex.

According to Card, then, one objectionable thing about homosexuals is their "allegiance" to a community that "gives them access to sex." One might ask if that's all that this community provides, but let's look instead at the kind of "allegiance" Card thinks might be more appropriate:

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. . .

It is for God to judge which individuals are tempted beyond their ability to bear or beyond their ability to resist. But it is the responsibility of the Church and the Saints never to lose sight of the goal of perfect obedience to laws designed for our happiness. (Emphasis mine)

To point out the painfully obvious, Card is attacking homosexuals for belonging to a community that "gives them access to sex," while describing his own community as "demand[ing] utter allegiance" and "perfect obedience."

I think Card's community is less defensible on its face. But let's go on:

The hypocrites of homosexuality are, of course, already preparing to answer these statements by accusing me of homophobia, gay-bashing, bigotry, intolerance; but nothing that I have said here -- and nothing that has been said by any of the prophets or any of the Church leaders who have dealt with this issue -- can be construed as advocating, encouraging, or even allowing harsh personal treatment of individuals who are unable to resist the temptation to have sexual relations with persons of the same sex.

That's a relief. No "harsh personal treatment" of homosexual people, says Card. How about harsh impersonal treatment instead?

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 (emphasis mine).

Thanks, Mr. Card. [I can't resist the temptation to address Orson Scott directly, but this entry is, dear reader, still meant for you.] Thanks for not dealing out "harsh personal treatment." What are we supposed to do? Thank you for your mercy? Your restraint? You'll refrain from advocating violence against homosexuals by instead merely condemning them as "unacceptable?" No one needs your kind of mercy.

In fact, even outside the LDS community, it has become clearer and clearer to me, since writing this essay, that gay activism as a movement is no longer looking for civil rights, which by and large homosexuals already have. Rather they are seeking to enforce acceptance of their sexual liaisons as having equal validity with heterosexual marriages, to the point of having legal rights as spouses, the right to adopt children, and the right to insist that their behavior be taught to children in public schools as a completely acceptable "alternative lifestyle."

Mr. Card, you appear to have misunderstood the meaning of civil rights. One of the most important of the civil rights is equality, and perhaps the most important sort of equality is the the equality of opportunity to lead a rich, satisfying, and meaningful life. You, of all people, recognize the importance of marriage for a meaningful life. Homosexual people recognize this too. Your conclusion that homosexuals "cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society" is incompatible with the preservation of their civil rights.

Mr. Card, your essay seems at some points to be addressing the role of homosexuals within the Mormon Church. That is, of course, the Mormon Church's business. But the ease with which you seem to elide the distinction between the Mormon Church and "society," between the Mormon Church and "America" is troublesome.

[T]he 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. . .

This applies also to the polity, the citizens at large. Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books. . .

Was this just sloppy writing? Or sloppy thinking? Or is it more than this? Are you willing to explicitly claim for the Mormon Church the privilege of governing America?

If that's what you advocate, rest assured that I will never tolerate it. I never signed on to your community of "perfect obedience." You, and the Mormon Church, will never govern America, and you will never govern me.

This much I promise you.

Posted by Carey at December 3, 2003 10:11 PM

Well said!

Posted by: Len Cleavelin at December 4, 2003 12:54 PM