To the Editor:

In his letter (“Panel on homosexuality should promote debate,” 12/4), Lukas Halim pleads for a place in any debate on homosexuality for those who condemn itbecause “people who believe homosexual acts are immoral sometimes have carefully reasoned to their position.”

His letter confirms the status of homophobia as the last “acceptable” prejudice in this country. Earlier generations of scholars at Yale and elsewhere used religion and rationality to defend racism and slavery.

We must hope that this persistent form of bigotry –cloaked, like its predecessors, in a discourse of morality and reason — will soon follow those other lines of thought to the scrap heap of history.

Christopher L. Miller

December 6, 2001

The writer is the Frederick Clifford Ford Professor of African American Studies and French.