While I enjoyed Dan Savage’s column on swingers [“Swingers: A Love Story,” October 18] and generally agree with him vis-a-vis the faux Christian right and public scolds like Bill Bennett, I must take issue with Mr. Savage’s use of a verse from the New Testament taken out of context. I am referring to his quotation of Paul (1 Corinthians 7:9): “It is better to marry than to burn.” Mr. Savage quotes this snippet to imply, apparently, that Paul suggests that it is better to marry than to burn in hell for committing a sin of lust. The actual verse reads: “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Thus Paul makes no mention of hell in the sense of comparing the choice to marry as better than burning in hell; he says clearly that it is better to take a partner than to burn with passion, i.e., to suffer from a case of unsatiated hornies.

I am taking no position on marriage, lust, passion, or hell, but I do wish to chide Mr. Savage for an apparently deliberate attempt to quote the Bible out of context to make Paul appear to say something he was not saying at all.

Incidentally, I belong to a faith that does not believe in hell or a devil and accepts all people, gay or straight, without judgment.

Patrick Elliot