Elizabeth Moon is a pretty extraordinary woman. She made the decision to join the Marine Corps as an officer during the Vietnam War, at a time many men were unwilling to. She is the child of a single parent, and an utterly self-made woman with multiple college degrees. She is also the mother of an autistic child and has done some pretty impressive advocating for disabled children. She writes some great Military Science Fiction books, with strong female characters-because she knows from experience that women can be a lot of pretty amazing things. Moon exemplifies in many ways what I think of as feminism-that any woman can and should have the ability to be whatever she wants to be, from serving her country to being a mother-tigress...
All was well?until, on her own personal blog, she made a 9/11 post about the proposed Islamic Center in NYC, and overall, about immigrant assimilation in America.
I can easily imagine how Muslims would react to my excusing the Crusades on the basis of Islamic aggression from 600 to 1000 C.E?.(for instance, excusing the building of a church on the site of a mosque in Cordoba after the Reconquista by reminding them of the mosque built on the site of an important early Christian church in Antioch.) So I don?t give that lecture to the innocent Muslims I come in contact with. I would appreciate the same courtesy in return (and don?t get it.) The same with other points of Islam that I find appalling (especially as a free woman) and totally against those basic principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution?I feel that I personally (and many others) lean over backwards to put up with these things, to let Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship, on the grounds of their personal freedom.
Immediately an outcry rose up among some. Elizabeth Moon didn?t just disagree, she was racist. (Never mind the fact that Islam is a religion, not a race). The mere fact that she happened to find portions of Islamic practice objectionable, as a feminist, was used as a reason to get the tar and feathers ready. And hundreds of posts later from the slavering hordes, the nonprofit responsible for WisCon, SF3, overrode the committee, broke their contract with her, and disinvited her as Guest of Honor.
Free speech? We don' need no steenking free speech!
Now this isn?t just some trivial thing-appearing as a Guest of Honor is a contract between the author and the convention. The author commits to coming, clearing their schedule and turning down other events they could be doing that weekend, and in return, the convention sometimes pays them, and generally pays for their plane tickets, hotel rooms, etc. So in essence, they?ve screwed her over, because they thought it was easier to let a respected military science fiction writer hang than to get accused of racism. There?s also been talk from other sides of instituting boycotts against her, shunning her, having people stalk her around the convention if she shows up just to tell her how much they hate her, and other things.