A Bigot Writes Superman: Should We Care? by Jerry Whitworth
Recently, science fiction novelist and anti-homosexuality rights advocate Orson Scott Card has been announced to be one of the first contributors to the digital-first comic series Adventures of Superman by DC Comics. Since the story broke, many comic book fans and blogs have raised the debate if readers should purchase a product based on its content or on the beliefs of the work’s creator. Card, a practitioner of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and board member of the National Organization for Marriage (who oppose gay marriage and child adoption for homosexuals), is most well known for his award-winning books Ender’s Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead (both of which have been adapted for comics) but has started branching out into comics like Ultimate Iron Man and the adaptation for the video game Dragon Age.
Comic books, and media in general in the United States, has been slanted towards liberal beliefs for several decades where many creators who have conservative views have been forced to hide their beliefs in fear of reprisal by publishers and/or fans. Some creators, like Steve Ditko (Amazing Spider-Man), Frank Miller (Dark Knight Returns), John Byrne (Uncanny X-Men), Ethan Van Sciver (Green Lantern), Chuck Dixon (Detective Comics), Bill Willingham (Fables), Billy Tucci (Shi), and Mike S. Miller (George R. R. Martin’s The Hedge Knight), generally enjoy a large enough fan base to be able to put their conservative views out there without a great fear of backlash. Some well known liberal creators include Jack Kirby, Dennis O’Neil (Batman), Neal Adams (Green Lantern/Green Arrow), Gail Simone (Birds of Prey), Ed Brubaker (Captain America), Howard Chaykin (American Flagg!), Judd Winick (Green Arrow), Norm Breyfogle (Detective Comics), Tony Isabella (Black Lightning), John Ostrander (Suicide Squad), and Moose Baumann (Green Lantern).
The question posed is an old one whether we judge the work or the person. One can liken the argument to having a relative you love deeply but who has a hateful doctrine towards others. Do you remember the loved one for how they treated you or for the terrible things they said or did to others? Of course, the original question is likely an easier one to answer. What it may ultimately come down to is the precise reason why you may find a creator undesirable. If someone simply has an opinion differing from your own (liberal versus conservative, for example), you could likely overlook the creator’s beliefs provided their work isn’t entrenched in their doctrine. But, contributing to a creator who will ultimately use either the funds or prestige provided by their work to actively perpetuate hate could be something else altogether.
Humanity has long segregated elements different from the particular society in power seemingly since our start. Differing religion, a person’s skin color, and gender are only some of the hurdles mankind has tried to make illegal to oppress someone for in recent history (especially true for the United States). Many consider homosexual segregation to be this generation’s oppression to overcome. With several states making gay marriage legal and polls finding about half of Americans in favor of gay marriage (with polls showing the issue is exponentially becoming more accepted recently), at this point it only seems like a matter of time before this dark chapter could be abandoned. And yet, despite being on the losing end of this trend, groups promoting hate nonetheless continue to push their agenda which at least prolongs the suffering of the gay men and women of America but at worst has perpetuated a culture where gays are bullied, at times driven to suicide or severely beaten (sometimes killed). Though people are allowed to believe whatever they want, they must be held accountable for their actions. Orson Scott Card doesn’t simply disapprove of homosexuality, he actively pursues oppressing the rights of gay Americans.
Perhaps the simplest way to put this is to ask if you would support a religious fanatic who rallies against infidels who are less deserving of equal treatment? Would you support a racist? Would you support a misogynist? Then, why would you support a homophobe?