Turning over Orson Scott Card on Hamlet’s Father

Today I am working from a satellite location rather than work, so I can get some quality time done on the proposal to revamp the ELA sequence. Ironic that I can’t get this done at the office, but the interruptions there are many.


I’ve got just a few moments to comment on Orson Scott Card’s Hamlet’s Father, and I’m going to take it from a slightly different angle than most others are.

First of all, Richard Larsen provides links to the original Rain Taxi review and Subterranean letter. The Guardian comments on the issue. Publisher’s Weekly concisely summarizes in this way.

All of the material I’ve looked at regarding this book indicates that Card is trying to link homosexuality with pedophilia. More than enough has been covered on the Internet disputing that claim. If you’d like the science, check out Simon LaVay and his books. Ivanka Savic-Bergstrom also has a study you need to read.

Let me see…science versus assumption. Homosexuals are made because conservatives say so. Nope…gonna go with the science. It’s a logical test.

Are there homosexual pedophiles? Well, most likely, yes. But here’s some research that would help Mr. Card to inform his opinion that homosexuality leads to pedophila.

Dr. Gregory Harek has done extensive research on predominant social attitudes toward homosexuals and pedophilia. Recommended reading would be his article on Facts about Homosexuality and Pedophilia

Of particular import: Pedophilia is a label for people who are attracted to children. Homosexuality is a label for people who are attracted to same sex adults. Heterosexuality is a label for people who are attracted to opposite sex adults.

Sometimes these people act upon their attractions. When a pedophile does, he/she is labeled a molester or an abuser. This distinction is important.

Further, Harek goes on to list articles which show the discriminatory views of society regarding minority groups and sexuality, and to show that homosexuals are no more or less likely than heterosexuals to abuse children.

…the important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman. Instead of gender, their sexual attractions are based primarily on age. These individuals – who are often characterized as fixated – are attracted to children, not to men or women.

There you have it. Harek also spends some time debunking articles from conservative think tanks that attempt to link homosexuals to molestation.


The quality of an argument has to be considered, rather than its loudness. Just because you believe something does not mean it is true, even if you know it, you just know it deep down inside, praise Jesus. We call that discrimination. Only the willfully ignorant could ignore the plethora of data available in even a casual Internet search, let alone the serious amount available in academia.

On a more personal note, I resent that Mr. Card has tried to link some of the excellent gay people that I know with the actions of adults like my father. Poorly done, sir, poorly done.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

2 thoughts on “Turning over Orson Scott Card on Hamlet’s Father”

  1. I don’t for a moment dispute the distinction you make between homosexuality and pedophilia, I do feel a minor need to point out a small correction. You provide the following definition:

    “Homosexuality is a label for people who are attracted to same sex adults. Heterosexuality is a label for people who are attracted to opposite sex adults.”

    Sexual orientation does not have a prerequisite of adulthood, nor is its focus on adults. Your orientation doesn’t magically card (no pun intended) the people you’re drawn to, it merely dictates whether you’re attracted to your same or different sex.

    Speaking purely form my own experience as a heterosexual, I was attracted to members of the opposite sex prior to entering adulthood (three cheers for puberty!). Of course, other people’s mileage may differ.

    I understand the point you’re trying to make, but adding restrictions to an existing definition isn’t the way to go. Or at least, that’s my opinion.


  2. Just for clarity, that’s a close paraphrase of Harek’s definitions, and he does assert that sexual orientation is an aspect of adulthood. He is a little fuzzy on whether puberty is the line of adulthood or not, as he swings it both ways in his discussion.

    I’m not committed to his line of logic 100 percent, but it seemed appropriate to use the words of someone with more expertise than myself on the subject.

    I too had crushes in adolescence, and society would definitely not consider adolescents adults until the social age of 18 in some cases, and 21 in others. So, conventional usage definitely backs up your point.


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