A Hornet’s Nest?

Yes, I know these are actually wasps. Don't be a nitpicker. Nobody likes that.
Yes, I know these are actually wasps. Don’t be a nitpicker. Nobody likes that.

All this talk about Paula Deen and Orson Scott Card has stirred up a hornet’s nest. Yesterday, someone said on the Emergent Village Facebook page, “Later today, or tomorrow morning…if you are a morning pooper…every single one of us will sit on a toilet and poop. It will stink. This poop will stink. Why? Because we are human, and we make poop. On a spiritual/metaphorical level…it reminds us that we are human, and death and decay are in our future. Does pooping make me bad? No. It makes me human. WHICH IS WHY THE MANUFACTURED CONTROVERSY ABOUT ORSON SCOTT CARD’S “ENDERS GAME”/ANTI-GAY INSANITY, ALONG WITH PAULA DEEN’S “RACIST” INSANITY, IS SUCH A WASTE OF TIME. Everybody poops. Didn’t you watch “Sesame Street”? Everybody poops!! (Unless you grew up believing the “The Family Guy” – “Nobody Poops But You”). Come on. Even poopers can produce something good occasionally. And remember…even our righteous deeds are as filthy rags.” Another friend said in response “...personally I’m all for a society that takes away social and economic status from bigots.”

And, someone commented on yesterday’s blog post, saying “When the guy votes to shutter NOM, resigns from their Board, and renounces his past statements, then he will be deserving of grace from me.” All I’ll say about that is if it has conditions, it’s not really grace, is it?

Change is hard and I’d hate to be working it out in public the way Deen and Card are destined to. And, we should remember that both are products of their environment and that plays a huge part in how we change. I was lucky enough to grow up in one that taught me (however imperfectly) that everyone has worth. And, that I’m not always right, whatever I might think.

Both stories have meaning for me, just in different ways. If Deen is a bigot because of what she’s admitted to (and that’s all we really know; the rest is allegation), then so am I. What makes this hard for me is that, in a lot of ways, I really am a bigot even though I strive to suppress that.

As for Card, well, he’s said some pretty despicable things about LGBT people and my daughter is in that group. Now, I’m faced with deciding whether these things negate his work. This is a big deal because Card has been an influence on me as a writer. Plus, as one who fancies himself a member of that (not-so) august trade, if what you do outside your work can render it moot, well…

The scary part about all this is that, as I said, if Deen and Card are bigots, so am I. And, if bigots have to pay a social price for their words or actions, I will too. So, there is an element of selfishness in my calls for forgiveness and grace. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

There is a difference between calling for grace/forgiveness for people who have done hurtful and offensive things and wiping those things away. Forgiveness and grace don’t mean that we’ve forgotten what been said or done or that it’s okay. It means that we’re dealing with it and that we’re working on loving that person as a brother or sister. Every so often I forget that everyone gets to the point where they can forgive an offender in their own time and in their own way. Maybe I should write that on my palm or put a big sign up over my desk so I won’t forget.