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    ST. CLEMENT'S CHURCH        423 West 46th Street,  New York 36.


                                The Reverend Sidney Lanier, Vicar

                                The Reverend Sterling Minturn, Assistant



                                             January 13, 1963


    Mr. Lenny Bruce

    The Village Vanguard

    New York, New York


    Dear Mr. Bruce:


         I came to see you the other night because I had read about

    you and was curious to see if you were really as penetrating a

    critic of our common hypocrisies as I had heard.  I found that

    you are an honest man, sometimes a shockingly honest man, and

    I wrote you a note to say so.  It is never popular to be so

    scathingly honest, whether it is from a nightclub stage or

    from a pulpit, and I was not surprised to hear you were having

    some "trouble."  This letter is written to express my personal

    concern and to say what I saw and heard on Thursday Night.


         First, I emphatically do NOT believe your act is obscene

    in intent.  The method you use has a lot in common with most

    serious critics (the prophet or the artist, not the professor)

    of society.  Pages of Jonathan Swift and Martin Luther are

    quite unprintable even now because they were forced to shatter

    the easy, lying language of the day into the basic, earthy,

    vulgar idiom of ordinary people in order to show up the

    emptiness and insanity of their time.  (It has been said,

    humourously but with some truth, that a great deal of the Bible

    is not fit to be read in Church for the same reason).


         Clearly your intent is not to excite sexual feelings or

    to demean but to shock us awake to the realities of racial

    hatred and invested absurdities about sex and birth and death...

    to move toward sanity and compassion.  It is clear that you are

    intensely angry at our hypocrisies (yours as well as mine) and

    at the highly subsidized mealy-mouthism that passes as wisdom.


         You may show this letter to anyone you wish if it can be

    of help.  Please call me when you come back from Chicago.


                                  May God Bless you.




                                  The Rev. Sidney Lanier