From the press release:
The Washington, D.C. Chapter of the BYU Management Society (BYUMS-DC) announced today that it would honor best-selling author and columnist Orson Scott Card at its annual Gala Dinner on April 24, 2010. Card will receive the chapter’s Distinguished Public Service Award and will deliver keynote remarks about his views on ethical leadership today and his experiences as a prominent member of the literary and academic communities.
“We are proud to be honoring Orson Scott Card during this year’s Gala Dinner,” said Sen. Gordon Smith, Chairman of the Advisory Board. “His words and his example have reached millions of people, and his spirit of mentorship and service have much to offer our community.”
As it turns out, my very first post at Daily Kos also included a quote from Senator Smith:
“Part of what I fear, as you start defining marriage we have a long history of doing that in this country, and my Mormon pioneer ancestors were the victims of that. They were literally driven from the United States in the dead of winter for following their religious beliefs. I dont want that coming back, but there are some on the front pages of your newspapers who are trying to now.” — Gordon H. Smith
That was June of 2008. Smith was trying to strike a moderate tone in a tough battle for his seat and I was dashing off glib diaries about Mormon involvement in a sure loser for the LDS (the Yes on 8 campaign).
Both approaches wound up paying off equally brilliantly.
Live and learn.
What Smith apparently learned from his loss is that “moderation in all things” is truly overrated. Otherwise, two years on, what else to make of his latest brilliant move: assembling a gaggle of high-flying Mormons to publicly honor National Organization for Marriage board member Orson Scott Card for distinguished service to … the public.
The same public that is already aware (and aghast) that OSC has lately swapped the novel form for writing whackadoodle newspaper columns and blog posts?
No, obviously not that public (2008 taught me a thing or two as well: I’ve yet to affect the outcome in a single Mormon-inflected political contest, and I’ve long since owned up to the inadequacy of my online derision as a means of influencing a public that I now admit to hardly knowing). To demonstrate how grown up I’ve become, what follows is some exceedingly dispassionate and mature speculation regarding how on earth the BYU Management Society could possibly deem OSC deserving of this honor (with bonus Executive Summary gravitas courtesy of the outline format).
I. Could it be belated Mormon gratitude for OSC’s youthful support of George Wallace at a time when young people of his caliber were hard to find in the ranks of the pro-segregation, anti-miscegenation American Independent Party?
I completely bought into the “not a dime’s worth of difference” slogan and yes, on my college campus I took part in the Wallace campaign … if you look at what I was doing in college, there’s no denying it, I was a Wallace supporter in September and October of 1968. — Orson Scott Card
II. Or perhaps a more modern Mormon sensibility is what produced the BYUMS-DC decision, and it’s meant to signal an overdue recognition of OSC’s subsequent apology for supporting the Wallace campaign:
Within a couple of years I had learned a little more and was deeply embarrassed at my naivete and stupid enthusiasm. I changed my mind completely. Now I have a deep aversion to bigotry-centered populist demagogues — one thinks, for instance, of the leaders of the anti-amnesty movement. (I’m thinking of Pat Buchanan and, to my disgust, my fellow-Mormon Mitt Romney.) — Orson Scott Card
III. BYUMS-DC enthusiasm for (re)criminalizing homosexual behavior?
Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books…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. — Orson Scott Card
IV. Or perhaps it’s OSC’s penchant for government overthrow if the gays are allowed to marry?
How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.
Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die. — Orson Scott Card
V. Or maybe it’s simply BYUMS-DC’s way of finally congratulating OSC on his ascension to the NOM board (and of assuring him that Maggie Gallagher was not the only one enthused by his appointment):
“Were extremely honored that Orson Scott Card has joined with NOM in our shared mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it,” said Maggie Gallagher, president of NOM, “He is one of the great science fiction writers of our time and a real voice of courage and intellect on behalf of marriage.” — Margaret Srivastav
VI. Whatever the reason, it certainly had nothing to do with this.
Pax et bonum!
And a P.S. link just in case next month (April 24th, 6:00 – 9:00 PM, to be exact) will be your first time visiting the Crystal Gateway Marriott.