Another Who's Lying by Orson Scott Card


I don't usually post about political things, just moral issues. But this one, I think, can be classified as another moral issue - that of telling the truth even if it hurts.

As many of you may know Orson Scott Card is a Mormon and a card-carrying Democrat. He is also a well-known journalist, as well as a best-selling novelist. I hope everyone will read his article. It's very informative.
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About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2008

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I just found this letter regarding California's Proposition 8 on Anne Bradshaw's blog site and thought I'd share it with all my faithful readers (all 1 or 2 of you).

Dear Friend,
The top issue that has emerged in the Proposition 8 campaign is whether same-sex marriage will be taught in California public schools if the initiative is not enacted. Opponents of Proposition 8 are spending millions of dollars on television commercials telling voters that the Yes on 8 campaign’s claim that gay marriage will be taught in public schools is a lie. Yet a review of public records filed with the First District Court of Appeal in Boston shows these same organizations who claim our statement is a lie fought to make it true in Massachusetts. Specifically, they fought to ensure that gay marriage be taught in Massachusetts public schools, even over the objection of parents who sought an “opt out” for their children. Gay marriage was legalized by Massachusetts courts in 2003.

Further, their assurance that parents can always “opt-out” of such instruction when it is taught is belied by the fact that in Massachusetts, they argued successfully that Massachusetts’ parental opt-out provision should not be permitted.

“These damning public records show that it is in fact the organizations leading and financing the No on 8 campaign who are lying to California voters,” said Yes on 8 campaign manager Frank Schubert. “On one coast of the country they tell judges that gay marriage should be taught to children in school at the youngest possible age. But, on the opposite coast, here in California, they have the audacity to tell voters that gay marriage has nothing to do with public schools.”

Lying…who’s really lying?

The Yes on 8 campaign has been airing television and radio commercials factually presenting what happened in Massachusetts where second graders were taught in class about gay marriage using the book, “King and King.” This book is about a prince who married another prince, and includes an illustrated scene of the two men kissing. In response, the No on 8 campaign has purchased at least $1.25 million in television time to run an ad that says, “They’re using lies to persuade you…[Prop. 8] will not affect teaching in schools. Another lie.” (Source: No on Prop. 8 Ad available at

In the greatest irony, of course, just two days after the No on 8 “Lies” television commercial began airing, a first grade public school class in San Francisco was taken on a field trip to a lesbian wedding at City Hall, officiated by Mayor Gavin Newsom. School officials said they wished to provide their five and six year old students a “teachable moment.”

It should also be noted that the day after the first Yes on 8 ads began running, the Los Angeles Times reported that "Newsom called the (Yes on 8) ad 'classic distraction' and misleading." Ten days later, he officiated at the above-mentioned and now infamous field trip.

“Not only do the organizations leading the No on 8 campaign want gay marriage, under the guise of ‘diversity,’ taught in public schools, they believe it is important to teach it at the earliest possible age,” Schubert said. Massachusetts begins its “diversity education” to five year old children in kindergarten.

According to legal records on file with the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, Massachusetts in the case Parker v. Hurley (514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir.2008)), some of the very organizations who are funding and driving the No on 8 campaign have argued vociferously that gay marriage should be taught in the public schools under the guise of “diversity,” and any attempt to prohibit such instruction – or to permit parents to opt their children out of it – must be stopped.

The following are statements filed in amicus curiae briefs in Parker v. Hurley. The statements show how organizations leading the No on 8 campaign are lying to California voters when they say gay marriage will not be taught in California public schools.

From the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Amicus Curiae Brief:

“In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where the right of same-sex couples to marry is protected under the state constitution, it is particularly important to teach children about families with gay parents.” [p 5]

“Diversity education is most effective when it begins during the students’ formative years. The earlier diversity education occurs, the more likely it is that students will be able to educate their peers, thereby compounding the benefits of this instruction.” [p 3]

(Note: The ADL is a leading member of the No on 8 campaign, and publicly announced they had joined the campaign opposing Proposition 8 on September 9, 2008.)

From the Human Rights Campaign Amicus Curiae Brief:

“There is no constitutional principle grounded in either the First Amendment’s free exercise clause or the right to direct the upbringing of one’s children, which requires defendants to either remove the books now in issue – or to treat them as suspect by imposing an opt-out system.” [pp1-2]

“In short, there can be no serious dispute that the books in issue are both age-appropriate and reflect the growing diversity of American families.” [p 9]

“Lexington’s selection of the [three] books…for inclusion in its curriculum is firmly rooted in the long-recognized tradition of public schools as a place for disseminating the knowledge and information that helps to foster understanding between diverse groups and individuals for the overall benefit of society.” [p 13]

(Note: The Human Rights Campaign has organized one of the largest recipient committees to oppose Proposition 8. The committee, Human Rights Campaign CA Marriage PAC (ID# 1307246) has received more than $2.2 million in contributions (as of 10/8/08), including over $100,000 from the Human Rights Campaign itself in non-monetary contributions. The committee has funneled over $2 million of its funds to No on 8, Equality for All (ID# 1259396), the main No on Proposition 8 campaign committee.)

From the ACLU Amicus Curiae Brief:

“Specifically, the parents in this case do not have a constitutional right to override the professional pedagogical judgment of the school with respect to the inclusion within the curriculum of the age-appropriate children’s book…King and King.” [p 9]

“This court has astutely recognized that a broad right of a parent to opt a child out of a lesson would fatally compromise the ability of a school to provide a meaningful education, a conclusion that holds true regardless of the age of the child or the nature of the belief.” [p 18]

“First, a broad right of a parent to opt a child out of a lesson would subject a school to a staggering administrative burden…Second, in contravention of the axiom that ‘the classroom is peculiarly the ‘marketplace of ideas’’ [citations], a broad right of a parent to opt a child out of a lesson would chill discussion in the classroom…Third, the coming and goings of those children who have been opted out of lessons would be highly disruptive to the learning environment. Moreover, such comings and goings would fatally undermine the lessons that schools teach the other students.” [pp 22-23]

(Note: The Northern California Chapter of the ACLU has also formed a Proposition 8 opposition committee: No on Prop 8, Campaign for Marriage Equality, a project of the ACLU of Northern California (ID# 1308178). This committee has collected $1.6 million in contributions (as of 10/8/08), including more than $70,000 from the ACLU of northern California, as well as $8,000 from the ACLU Foundation. This committee has contributed $1,250,000 to No on 8, Equality for All (ID# 1259396), the main No on Proposition 8 campaign committee.)

These are the facts. This is the truth about the calculated efforts to deliver gay marriage into our public school classrooms, against the wishes of the people of our state. Voters may differ about how they feel about gay marriage, but there is no disputing that the organizations funding and leading the No on Proposition 8 campaign have already revealed, in their own words, their desire to impose this subject on children in the public schools – ‘whether you like it or not.’

To make sure Californians know the truth, we need you to do three things right now:

Forward this email to your friends and family right now, and ask them to forward it to their friends. Every California voter needs to know about this.

Watch the truthful ads the No on 8 campaign doesn't want you to see, and donate to keep them on the air.

Please volunteer today, and we'll put you out in the field talking to voters directly -- as thousands are already doing.

Thank you for all that you do. Please spread the word and make sure your neighbors know the truth before they vote!


Frank Schubert
Campaign Manager - Yes on 8

© 2008 All Rights Reserved. is a project of California Renewal (I.D. #1302592) | Contact Us
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Recently I was asked whether it was a good idea to include true life experiences in novel writing. I hope my answer helped. I answered this person with the following:

My novel, Sweet Revenge, is set in high school when I was a senior, way back in 1965. At first I wrote some of the story elements as they really happened. I borrowed ideas of things that happened back then, but as I worked on the manuscript, I altered them, built them up, added suspense, and overall changed them into new ideas of what could have happened, not really what happened. I think the "what could have happened" is far more compelling. You can use your imagination to go wherever you want with your story line. To use a Cliché the sky is the limit.

However, I wouldn't limit yourself to just what happened. Go beyond that to what could have happened.

In my novel, Sweet Revenge I depict a troubled teenage boy, trying to get a nice girl to like him. He does all the wrong things, even to the point of trying to force her to take drugs and threatening to rape her. In the end, this boy, with a couple of his friends, take this girl and one of her friends on a drug- and alcohol-induced joy-ride, where one of the boys is killed and they have to run from the cops. That didn't really happen, not to my knowledge, but it could have. And that's where reality and fiction can come together.
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Now that I'm back from Nebraska after seeing my new granddaughter (and she's a beauty), I'm going to get back to talking about writing.

My latest idea of how to help Sweet Revenge is that I've decided to keep it in the '60s. But it's not a romance, as some have tried to tell me. It's actually a coming of age novel with a love story embedded. To those of you who remember my earlier versions, it used to have two love stories -- Mark and Genie's and Gary and Kathy's. To get the novel down to a reasonable size (around 70,000 words), I had to cut most of Gary's story and a lot of other stuff including entire chapters, but now, after eliminating the first two chapters, I realized I probably have room to put some of Gary's story back in.

BUT!!! If you think cutting stuff out of your novel is hard, try adding that cut stuff back in after the novel has gone through a few revisions. It's tough!!! A lot of the old stuff I'd cut out doesn't fit any more.

I say tough, but not impossible. I need to revise those cut passages to fit with the revised story line. It will take some time and a lot of patience, but I think it's working, just slowly, especially since I only get a few short hours per week to work on it.

So wish me luck. Eventually it will work.

In the meantime, GERTA! is still simmering on the pot.
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