James Baldwin and the Broken Silences of Black Queer
McKinley E Melton
James Baldwin writes within and against the testimonial tradition emerging from the Black
Church, challenging the institution’s refusal to acknowledge the voices and experiences of
black queer men. Baldwin’s autobiographical novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, creates a
space for Baldwin’s testimony to be expressed, and also lays the foundation for a
tradition of black queer artists to follow. In the contemporary moment, poet Danez Smith
inhabits Baldwin’s legacy, offering continuing critiques of the rigidity of conservative
Christian ideologies, while publishing and performing poetry that gives voice to their own
experiences, and those of the black queer community at large. These testimonies ultimately
function as a means of rhetorical resistance, which not only articulates black queer lives
and identities, but affirms them.
If he is known for anything other than his writings, James Baldwin is best known for his
work as a civil rights activist. What is often overlooked is Baldwin’s work toward uniting
two under-represented and oppressed groups: African Americans and homosexuals. With his
first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Baldwin began a career of speaking about and for
homosexuals and their relationship with the institutions of African-American communities.
Through its focus on a sensitive, church-going teenager, Go Tell It on the Mountain
dramatizes the strain imposed upon homosexual members of African-American communities
within the Pentecostal Church through its religious beliefs.
This article discusses how Armenians have collected, displayed and exchanged the
bones of their murdered ancestors in formal and informal ceremonies of
remembrance in Dayr al-Zur, Syria – the final destination for hundreds of
thousands of Armenians during the deportations of 1915. These pilgrimages –
replete with overlapping secular and nationalist motifs – are a modern variant
of historical pilgrimage practices; yet these bones are more than relics. Bone
rituals, displays and vernacular memorials are enacted in spaces of memory that
lie outside of official state memorials, making unmarked sites of atrocity more
legible. Vernacular memorial practices are of particular interest as we consider
new archives for the history of the Armenian Genocide. The rehabilitation of
this historical site into public consciousness is particularly urgent, since the
Armenian Genocide Memorial Museum and Martyr’s Church at the centre of the
pilgrimage site were both destroyed by ISIS (Islamic State in Syria) in
James Baldwin, the Religious Right, and the Moral
In the 1980s, James Baldwin recognized that a major transformation had occurred in the
socio-political functions of religion. His critique adapted accordingly, focusing on the
ways in which religion—particularly white evangelical Christianity—had morphed into a
movement deeply enmeshed with mass media, conservativepolitics, and late capitalism.
Religion in the Reagan era was leveraged, sold, and consumed in ways never before seen,
from charismatic televangelists, to Christian-themed amusement parks, to mega-churches.
The new movement was often characterized as the “religious right” or the “Moral Majority”
and was central to both Reagan’s political coalition as well as the broader culture wars.
For Baldwin, this development had wide-ranging ramifications for society and the
individual. This article draws on Baldwin’s final major essay, “To Crush the Serpent”
(1987), to examine the author’s evolving thoughts on religion, salvation, and
transgression in the context of the Reagan era.
Interpreting Violence on Healthcare in the Early Stage of the South
Sudanese Civil War
Xavier Crombé and Joanna Kuper
photographs gathered by UNMISS showed that the capture of Leer had been
immediately followed by the destruction of large parts of the town, primarily by
fire, including public infrastructure, markets, churches and local housing ( UNMISS, 2014 : 47). In the days that
followed, government armed forces pursued the population in the surrounding areas,
forcing the displaced, including MSF staff, to retreat deeper and deeper into the
bush. After trying to hide the cars, which were quickly stolen by
a majority of humanitarian
practitioners, we can define it as a commitment to three things: the equal moral worth of all
human lives (i.e. non-discrimination on principle), the moral priority of the claims of
individuals over the authority claims of any collective entity – from nations to churches
to classes to families – and a belief that as a moral commitment (one
that transcends any sociological or political boundary) there is a just and legitimate reason to
intervene in any and all circumstances where human beings suffer (even if
This book explores how conceptions of episcopacy (government of a church by bishops) shaped the identity of the bishops of France in the wake of the reforming Council of Trent (1545–63). It demonstrates how the episcopate, initially demoralised by the Wars of Religion, developed a powerful ideology of privilege, leadership and pastorate that enabled it to become a flourishing participant in the religious, political and social life of the ancien regime. The book analyses the attitudes of Tridentine bishops towards their office by considering the French episcopate as a recognisable caste, possessing a variety of theological and political principles that allowed it to dominate the French church.
This book examines trials, civil and criminal, ecclesiastical and secular, in England and Europe between the thirteenth and the seventeenth centuries. The cases examined range from a fourteenth century cause-célèbre, the attempted trial of Pope Boniface VIII for heresy, to investigations of obscure people for sexual and religious offences in the city states of Geneva and Venice. These are examples of the operation in the past of different legal, judicial systems, applied by differently constituted courts, royal and manorial, secular and ecclesiastical, which adopted different procedures, adversarial and inquisitorial. Ranging from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, the book considers criminal trials and civil litigation conducted in royal, manorial and Church courts in late medieval and early modern England. These trials concentrate on the structure, jurisdiction, functions, and procedures of the courts and on the roles of the judges of fact and of law, both amateur and professional, who composed them. The trials of Giorgio Moreto and of Laura Querini were influenced by the politics of the Venetian State and its ongoing and highly charged relationship with the power of the Church. Discussing the legal history of continental Europe, the book then shifts the emphasis from the judges and jurors to the prisoners arraigned before the courts, to the victims of prosecution or to the highly questionable images of them created by their enemies.
The book knits together two of the most significant themes in the social and cultural history of modern Ireland - mass emigration and religious change - and aims to provide fresh insight into both. It addresses the churches' responses to emigration, both in theory and in practice. The book also assesses how emigration impacted on the churches both in relation to their status in Ireland, and in terms of their ability to spread their influence abroad. It first deals with the theoretical positions of the clergy of each denomination in relation to emigration and how they changed over the course of the nineteenth century, as the character of emigration itself altered. It then explores the extent of practical clerical involvement in the temporal aspects of emigration. This includes attempts to prevent or limit it, a variety of facilitation services informally offered by parish clergymen, church-backed moves to safeguard emigrant welfare, clerical advice-giving and clerically planned schemes of migration. Irish monks between the fifth and eighth centuries had spread Christianity all over Europe, and should act as an inspiration to the modern cleric. Tied in with this reading of the past, of course, was a very particular view of the present: the perception that emigration represented the enactment of a providential mission to spread the faith.
McCabe, employed Shinnors’ estimates in his account of The
decay of the Church of Rome.5 Most notably, Horace Plunkett’s unquestioning citation of Shinnors’ testimony in the controversial Ireland in
the new century was attacked by Monsignor O’Riordan in his lengthy
answering volume on the basis that Shinnors had ‘little more than
passed through’ the United States.6 That point was a reasonable one,
but there was also a clear sense from O’Riordan that any idea that
emigrants abandoned the faith could, regardless, not be accepted
from a Protestant commentator such as