The feature film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game will be released November 1st. What I’m hoping to see are lots of empty theater seats, rather than a rush to the theaters. Why the antipathy for a much-lauded book coming to film? Because I am a firm believer in the old adage “with every dollar you spend you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”
The world that I want to live in doesn’t have anything to do with the world Orson Scott Card wrote about in Ender’s Game. It’s much, much closer to home and something that would be better for all of us. The kind of world I want to live in is one where everyone is treated with respect, everyone has the same rights and freedoms and people respect one another’s decisions. This is not a world that Orson Scott Card wants to be a part of in reality (or in his book, for that matter).
Card is on the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage. NOM has been classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. The SLPC has been instrumental in public education and legal representation against all sorts of hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists, neo-Confederates, racist music groups, Holocaust deniers and many more. These obviously aren’t groups that people with a rational world view seek out. If you truly respect others, you don’t desire any affiliations with groups like the KKK, Aryan Nations or the Westboro Baptist Church. Card, on the other hand, champions the efforts of NOM and believes that “the homosexual agenda” is something worth fighting.
He actively campaigns against marriage equality. He advocates that sodomy laws should be kept on the books in America to punish gays. He’s claimed that gay people are self-loathing victims of child abuse. He doesn’t stop there, though. He argues that gay marriage “marks the end of democracy in America”, homosexuality is a “tragic genetic mixup” and that allowing courts to redefine marriage to include same sex couples is a slippery slope into gay rule, where anyone who does not agree with gay marriage will be categorized as “mentally ill.”
We can dismiss the paranoid gay conspiracies Card sees all around him. It’s pretty obvious he comes from the “Obama is a shape-shifting alien” camp when it comes to conspiracy theories. What I don’t think we should dismiss is the fact that Card actively advocates for people to be denied rights that he himself enjoys. This, not only, makes him a bigot, but a hypocrite. Although marriage equality, and putting everyone on an even playing field within the law, would not affect him personally, Card feels the need to go out of his way to make sure no one who isn’t like him earns the same rights he does. Is it hetero-centric? Homophobic? Prejudiced? Bigoted? Yes, yes, yes and yes.
Do we really want to be giving our money to someone that campaigns for inequality and social stratification of people according to his personal morals and laws that criminalize love? Do we want to line the pockets of someone that donates to a hate group? By spending money on this film or his book, or any other Card works, we’re casting a vote for a world in which the rights of gay people are nonexistent, and being gay is criminalized. We’re voting for a world that is dependent on one man’s extreme views; views that are hateful, spiteful, ignorant and demeaning.
A sci-fi film like Ender’s Game may look alluring, but to boycott this film sends a message that we are not complacent about meaningless oppression. Seeing Ender’s Game supports hate, oppression, stigmatization and bigotry. Let’s stand up for what we know is right and steer clear of contributing to Card’s coffers.