james baldwin

The Gospel Church and the Ruining of Gay Lives: An Interview with Anthony Heilbut

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Most insiders to this world are privy to the open secret of gospel’s deep reliance on the contributions and influence of gay men and women. But Heilbut opens wide the closet doors and peers in with the bright light of righteous outrage for the plight of the children in an increasingly homophobic religious culture, while also bringing a deeply felt sensitivity for the stories of the children and their musical sensibility. As he writes: “It is impossible to understand the story of black America without foregrounding the experiences of the gay men of gospel.”

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“Split at the Root”: Adrienne Rich and (Religious) Identity

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Rich’s approach to her religious identity was of a piece with her approach to every aspect of her identity. For Rich, any identity worth achieving involved struggle and resistance—be it national identity (“a patriot is one who wrestles for the / soul of her country / as she wrestles for her own being”), gender identity (“A thinking woman sleeps with monsters. / The beak that grips her, she becomes.”), or the committed poet’s identity (“She cannot teach the end of bonds; but she can refuse to justify, accord with, ignore their existence”).

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