God Hates Fags: The Rhetorics of Religious Violence

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Overview

2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

At the funeral of Matthew Shepard—the young Wyoming man brutally murdered for being gay—the Reverend Fred Phelps led his parishioners in protest, displaying signs with slogans like “Matt Shepard rots in Hell,” “Fags Die God Laughs,” and “God Hates Fags.” In counter-protest, activists launched an “angel action,” dressing in angel costumes, with seven-foot high wings, and creating a visible barrier so one would not have to see the hateful signs.

Though long thought of as one of the most virulently anti-gay genres of contemporary American politics and culture, in God Hates Fags, Michael Cobb maintains that religious discourses have curiously figured as the most potent and pervasive forms of queer expression and activism throughout the twentieth century. Cobb focuses on how queers have assumed religious rhetoric strategically to respond to the violence done against them, alternating close readings of writings by James Baldwin, Tennessee Williams, Jean Toomer, Dorothy Allison, and Stephen Crane with critical legal and political analyses of Supreme Court Cases and anti-gay legislation. He also pays deep attention to the political strategies, public declarations, websites, interviews, and other media made by key religious right organizations that have mounted the most successful regulations and condemnations of homosexuality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Looks specifically at texts and spectacles about religious violence and hatred.”
-Julie Novkov,University at Albany, SUNY

God Hates Fags is an exciting, even exceptional, book, and it will contribute to an important and necessary conversation between queer studies and African American literary and cultural studies.”
-Christopher Nealon,author of Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion Before Stonewall

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814716694
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2006
  • Series: Sexual Cultures Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 229
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Cobb is Professor of English at the University of
Toronto. He is the author of God Hates
Fags: The Rhetorics of Religious Violence
, also published by New York
University Press.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Last Safe Group to Hate
1 The Language of National Security: A Queer Theory of Religious Language
2 James Baldwin and His Queer, Religious Words
3 Like a Prayer
4 Rights as Wrongs
Conclusion: Our Aberrant Future
Notes
Index
About the Author

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