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Daring to Speak Its Name

In response to:

Rescuing Homosexual History from the December 4, 1980 issue

To the Editors:

Keith Thomas [NYR, December 4] correctly condemns John Boswell for using the word “gay” to mean homosexual in his book on Christianity and homosexuality…. Unfortunately, Mr. Thomas goes on to praise the rest of the book even though it suffers from the same sort of soft-headed, indulgent thinking throughout. It would be nice if Christianity had been less hostile toward homosexual relations, but history records otherwise.

What Boswell has apparently done is take isolated situations—some described in dubious sources or subject to wide interpretation—as proof of his thesis that intolerance of homosexuality has not always been an essential part of Christian teaching. At the same time he has ignored the treasury of scholarly research that clearly shows that active sodomy has always been severely condemned by the church.

Homosexuality does not need this kind of flabby defense.

Ursula Enters Copely

Homosexual Information Center

Los Angeles, California

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