False Assertions Worthy of Response (?)
I'm debating whether to write to the Providence Journal in response to a letter that the paper ran today by Roger Beaudreault:
Unfortunately, Mr. Beaudreault doesn't tell us who the "church scholars" to whom he refers might be. Having come across this assertion before (from Andrew Sullivan, I believe), I suspect that the late Yale history professor John Boswell's findings are involved in the analysis somewhere. Boswell's research is merely a representative of the modern academic way of thinking that forces its perspective into any historical or literary niche that can be misinterpreted to allow it. Another example would be academics who pivot on class to make history fit a simplistic racial model (e.g., whereby the Irish were once "black"). In Boswell's case, it is a matter of "reading" homosexuality into all close same gender relationships... ever. The practice doesn't turn out to be but so difficult, as Anton Marco shows, considering that such research removes inconvenient subtext and sublimates all specific considerations to the fact of a close relationship between men (or women). If anything, Boswell illustrates that homosexuality is sexualizing, and thus destroying, the ancient idea of friendship.
Seeking to give them the most feasible credit for accuracy, Boswell and Beaudreault can claim at best that some representatives of the Church might have unduly conformed to the ethos of particularly decadent eras (and localities). If turning away from those practices represented, in Beaudreault's words, "damage done to 'good' gay Catholics," then anybody inclined to claim that the Church has done damage to "good Catholic anti-Semites" would seem to have logically similar grounds for complaint.
Posted by Justin Katz @ 11:32 AM EST
Jeff Miller @ 08/30/2003 09:14 PM EST