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Orson Scott Card Comments On Democracy And Mormon Faith

Responding to Via Meadia‘s recent essay on Yale professor Harold Bloom’s attack on Mitt Romney, well-known sci-fi author Orson Scott Card had this to say:

The Mormon Church has repeatedly made statements that directly contradict Orson Pratt’s statement about laws, as the Mormon Church officially refuses to support or oppose any party or candidate and does not allow its meetinghouses, membership rolls, or meetings to be used for political purposes.

The Mormon Church thrives in many nations having nothing to do with American politics (more Mormons speak Spanish as their native language than English). The Mormon Church cooperates with all governments, and seeks to control none of them.

Mormon leaders do not enrich themselves; most Mormon clergy are not paid at all, and those that are paid earn little more than a mid-level businessman. The Church’s tithing “wealth” is not at the disposal of any individual. It is used entirely for the Church’s tax-exempt purposes: building meetinghouses, publishing religious books and other media, and providing relief to the poor.

Bloom’s fear of “plutocracy” or of some conspiracy to take over the U.S. government has nothing to do with Mormonism as it actually exists in the real world.

What is fascinating to me is that Yale University provides a harbor for someone as delusional and as careless of fact as Bloom.

As a long time fan of Mr. Card’s fiction, I am happy to welcome him to the site.

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  • ms

    No candidate would fare well if held responsible for all past statements of religious co-believers, especially those in the far-distant past. This point should be perfectly obvious to the NYT given their complete inattention to Rev. Wright in the 2008 compaign.

  • WigWag

    “What is fascinating to me is that Yale University provides a harbor for someone as delusional and as careless of fact as Bloom.” (Orson Scott Card)

    Does it really fascinate you Mr. Card? Perhaps you can inform us what exactly you find fascinating about the fact that Yale has decided to provide “a harbor” for the greatest living American literary critic and arguably the best American literary critic of all time.

    Perhaps you can inform us why you find it puzzling that Yale would provide “a harbor” for a scholar so prolific that he has generated literally hundreds of books most of which are highly regarded. So prolific is Bloom that he turns out books almost as fast as Walter Russell Mead turns out blog posts. Despite being over 80, Bloom has produced two extraordinarily well received books in just the past six months; a sequel to his famous “Anxiety of Influence” entitled “Anatomy of Influence” and a wonderful commentary on the King James Bible entitled, “The King James Bible: A Literary Appreciation.”

    Perhaps, Mr. Card, you can explain why you find it troubling, that Yale would offer “a harbor” to a man who has done more to expose millions of Americans to the wonders of Shakespeare than any other person on the planet.

    Perhaps you can explain why you find it perplexing that Yale would offer “a harbor” to a man who has trained literally hundreds of students who have gone on to prestigious positions at university English Departments all over the world.

    Perhaps, Mr. Card, you can inform us why you find it interesting that Yale offers “a harbor” to a man who braves a fierce onslaught from politically correct know-nothings to uphold standards and protect the canon.

    Is it really so fascinating, Mr. Card, that Yale offers “a harbor” to a Professor who is more productive in his ninth decade of life than most academics are in their third, fourth and fifth decade of life?

    Bloom is a heroic figure; what’s more, he’s an American treasure. Of course leftists despise him for rejecting political correct analysis and multiculturalism.

    In my opinion, on this issue at least, Walter Russell Mead and Orson Scott Card have lost their bearings.

    Bloom didn’t “slime” Romney; Mead and Card have slimed Bloom.

  • mrmandias

    Bloom slimed himself.

  • Benjamin

    Wigwag – You seem more impressed with Bloom’s voluminous “production” than with the quality and carefulness of his work.

    That speaks volumes.

  • Bekah

    As an alternative to the above comments, one might consider the fact that prejudice and bigotry are by no means irreconcilable with intelligence and even literary greatness. (The number of great authors alone who have harbored anti-Semitic sentiments is, frankly, both impressive and depressing. Take a look at Ezra Pound’s biography sometime…) I have no opinion on the quality of Professor Bloom’s work, but would like to give kudos to Mr. Mead and Orson Scott Card for refusing to condone bigotry no matter how eloquent or prestigious its source. I have personally found anti-Mormon sentiment to be shockingly prevalent in a certain strain of liberal thought, not only among the students of my college but some professors as well; the fact that such religious prejudice is acceptable in circles that proudly claim to shun other forms of racism and bigotry is shameful, and should be loudly criticized by all right-thinking citizens.

  • Independent George

    Ok, having just read the comments here and on the original post, I have to admit I first thought Wig-Wag was a parody.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “Ender’s Game” is brilliant, take it from someone who has been reading Science Fiction from childhood, 1,000’s of novels.

  • andrewdb

    While i agree with Prof. Mead’s position on this, Mr. Card is just not correct that the LDS Church is not active in politics. See its recent actions in California in connection with Proposition 8, the voter initiative which outlawed marriage equality – the Church ran the campaign out of Salt Lake City, coordinated doners, had statements read in every meeting house, and used church facilities and member lists to raise money. An estimated 45% of the out-or-state money came from Utah. This lead to investigations by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

    This is no different than what the Roman Catholic Church does regarding abortion (and they were also active in the Prop. 8 campaign), but they don’t lie about it.

  • Enten Eller

    I admire Prof. Bloom too, but WigWag’s polemic is the most amusing piece of unintended self revelation I’ve read this week.

  • chris

    andrewdb, a voter initiative is not politics. Encouraging people to directly vote yea/nay on what is seen as a moral issue is not being active in politics. You can see it was not politics at play in CA by the fact that plenty of democrats voted one way and plenty of republicans voted another.

    It would be politics, if a church was encouraging people to vote for specific candidates of a political party.

    The ballot initiative was expressly apolitical. Now, certainly some political parties used it to their advantage on both sides of the issue. But just because a church expresses support for a moral issue that politicians also support and oppose does not make it political.

  • Walter Sobchak

    Bloom wrote a novel some years back titled “Flight to Lucifer” supposedly a fantasy based on Gnostic mythology. I bought it because I like the genre, and I had read a rapturous review in Newsweek.

    It was so bad, that it was unreadable and indecipherable. Instead of throwing it away, I kept it so I could say that I owned the worst novel ever written.

  • Toni

    Ender rocks, and so does Bean.

  • Mike Iverson

    Chris, are you LDS? If not, I can forgive your ignorance of how fundamentalist religions work.

    As a lifelong member of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, I can assure you that any “encouragement” from church leaders concerning the CA initiative would have been interpreted by church members as being a direct commandment from God. This was not simply “encouraging people to directly vote yea/nay”, this was an implicit command from church headquarters to rally support, money, and votes in support of Proposition 8.

    I love my church but am not blind to the fact that some church leaders have misused their positions to further their own political agendas.

    Card is misguided in thinking that his status as a writer of popular fiction validates his published apologetics of Church policy. His attempts to defend the church seem to hurt the reputation of the LDS faith far more than they help.

  • Lani

    Encouraging and promoting a moral society is NOT a policital agenda. ANY person, community, or orginazation has the right and OBLIGATION to speak up about their beleifs when drastic change of or nation is involved so that the nation follow the morals and desires of the community as a whole and not only the desires of the few who make their voices heard.

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