Old lies tend to recycle. Whether it’s The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, or Mein Kampf, or Worlds in Collision or The Awful Revelations of Maria Monk or Holocaust Denial or Moon Landing Hoax junk or 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, what tends to happen is that somebody makes a huge and outrageous claim. People react to Big Lies with the thought “Surely nobody would tell a lie *that* big! There must therefore be something to this huge lie.” People then investigate the huge lie and find that, yes, it is a huge lie. Eventually, sane heads prevail and the lie goes into hiding for a while.
But then a new generation comes along, full of itself and sure that all who came before are comfortable bourgeois dullards who stupidly accept the Official Story. The young turk knows better. And so after running across something on the Internet that is new to the turk, the turk naturally assumes that he is the first person in history to discover the Shocking Revelation that heliocentrism is a lie, or UFOs are real, or the Holocaust is a Zionist fabrication, or Jesus never existed, or whatever.
In this case, somebody at HuffPo has just re-discovered John Boswell’s propagandistic lie Same Sex Union in Pre-Modern Europe which purports to discover sacralized homosexual unions in the early Church. The assumption of sex-obsesssed theological illiterates is “The early church recognized gay “marriage” but then suppressed it”. That’s because our hyper-sexualized culture conflates all forms of love with eros. It’s also because Boswell is a dishonest propagandist for homosexuality and gay marriage. But, in fact, the rite (adelphopoeisis) still exists in some Eastern communities and remains what it always was: a sort of oath of brotherhood. Ryan Adams puts a bullet through the brain of this zombie lie.
For a good takedown from the first time this lie was published, see Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ dispatch of Boswell from 20 years ago. Interestingly, he foresees that Boswell will rise in zombie form:
It is the way of advocacy scholarship to seize upon snips and pieces of “evidence” divorced from their historical context, and then offer an improbable or fanciful interpretation that serves the argument being advanced. That is the way egregiously exemplified by Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. David Wright, the author of the pertinent encyclopedia article on homosexuality, wrote in 1989: “The conclusion must be that for all its interest and stimulus Boswell’s book provides in the end of the day not one firm piece of evidence that the teaching mind of the early Church countenanced homosexual activity.” Yet the ideologically determined are not easily deterred by the facts. As the churches continue to deliberate important questions of sexual morality, be prepared to encounter the invocation, as though with the voice of authority, “But Boswell says…”
Moral: Take off 50 IQ points when the MSM covers religion. Make it 100 when the religion is an apostolic Church and make it 200 when the MSM outlet is HuffPo covering an apostolic Church.