Monday, August 26, 2013

Drawing the Line

A recent publishing controversy got me thinking about where and how we draw the line in terms of deciding what is or is not acceptable as art for our children.

An LDS publisher recently canceled the publishing contract with two authors days before the book was set to go to press because they were concerned that one of the authors, who is gay, was going to use the book to further the LGBT agenda. Never mind that he never made such threats. All he wanted to do was set forth in his bio that he lived with his partner and some pets. In other words, he wasn't willing to hide his sexual orientation. There is much more about the way this publisher dealt with the issue, and if you're curious you can read about it here and here.

If you're an LDS author and want to take a stand against such unprofessionalism, you can go to this site to read the letter and request that your name be added.

In all the discussion that has ensued, I couldn't help wondering what kinds of mixed signals we're sending our children about all of this in the LDS community.

When does an artist's bio overshadow his art to the point of exclusion?

After all, how many of our children have sung songs written and/or composed by gay musicians and we don't bat an eye? How many of our youth have performed in plays and musicals written by gay playwrights or created by gay composers? 

Doesn't the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, itself, perform songs composed or written by such well-known gay musicians as Lionel Bart (Oliver!), Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd), and Elton John (The Lion King)? If the Mormon Tabernacle Choir can, in a sense, put its stamp of approval on such songs as "Where is Love?" and "The Circle of Life," why can't an LDS publisher, big or small, approve a manuscript like Woven? (Actually, they did; it only became an issue because they wanted to refrain from seeming to endorse a gay lifestyle by printing the truth about this one co-author.)

Are we simply hoping our children will never find out the truth about the sexual orientation of these artists?

This issue was all about integrity and honesty, and those are principles we can't afford to be fuzzy about when it comes to teaching our children.

I'm not saying LDS publishers don't have the right to edit their authors' bios. I'm simply saying they ought to always be upfront about it and have that discussion early on in contract negotiations. Otherwise, they're sending the signal that sneakiness, dishonesty, and discrimination against some people is still all right.

That's a signal that will destroy our children and, thus, our future.

Where will you draw the line?

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post, Tanya. I was thinking about all of the classical musicians who didn't live a life we'd necessarily choose--and how their music is heavenly to us. Similar analogy.