Pray the Gay Away by Bernadette C. Barton
The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays

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In the Bible Belt, it’s common to see bumper stickers that claim One Man + One Woman = Marriage, church billboards that command one to “Get right with Jesus,” letters to the editor comparing gay marriage to marrying one’s dog, and nightly news about homophobic attacks from the Family Foundation. While some areas of the Unites States have made tremendous progress in securing rights for gay people, Bible Belt states lag behind. Not only do most Bible Belt gays lack domestic partner benefits, lesbians and gay men can still be fired from some places of employment in many regions of the Bible Belt for being a homosexual. In Pray the Gay Away, Bernadette Barton argues that conventions of small town life, rules which govern Southern manners, and the power wielded by Christian institutions serve as a foundation for both passive and active homophobia in the Bible Belt. She explores how conservative Christian ideology reproduces homophobic attitudes and shares how Bible Belt gays negotiate these attitudes in their daily lives. Drawing on the remarkable stories of Bible Belt gays, Barton brings to the fore their thoughts, experiences and hard-won insights to explore the front lines of our national culture war over marriage, family, hate crimes, and equal rights. Pray the Gay Away illuminates their lives as both foot soldiers and casualties in the battle for gay rights.

About Bernadette C. Barton

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Bernadette C. Barton is Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky.
Published October 1, 2012 by NYU Press. 286 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction

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The author opens by stating that although she has “lived in Kentucky for 20 years, 17 of these in lesbian relationships,” she “had not personally experienced…much homophobia until a spring day in 2003” when, after she told someone that she was a lesbian, he characterized homosexuality as an “abom...

Sep 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Pray the Gay Away: The Extrao...

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Describing the Bible Belt as a region of “compulsory Christianity,” Barton (Stripped: Inside the Lives of Exotic Dancers) argues that the influence of Christian institutions on secular life creates “a foundation for passive and active homophobia.” Barton draws on a trove of ethnographic d...

Sep 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Pray the Gay Away: The Extrao...

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