What are some quotes about religion in If Beale Street Could Talk?

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Baldwin's religious skepticism is much in evidence throughout If Beale Street Could Talk . Religion is generally presented in the story as the possession of the smugly self-righteous, of people like Fonny's devout mother, whom Tish describes as a "sanctified Holy Roller" and who quotes Scripture at Tish disapprovingly. She...

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Baldwin's religious skepticism is much in evidence throughout If Beale Street Could Talk. Religion is generally presented in the story as the possession of the smugly self-righteous, of people like Fonny's devout mother, whom Tish describes as a "sanctified Holy Roller" and who quotes Scripture at Tish disapprovingly. She even expresses the belief, right in Tish's face, that hers and Fonny's unborn child will shrivel in her womb.

Here, religious belief is weaponized to give divine sanction to outdated moral prejudices. It's unsurprising under the circumstances that Tish should be so throughly skeptical about religion given its association with self-righteous fanatics like Fonny's mother.

When talking about how her parents got together, Tish displays her skepticism about religion as well as her contempt for patriotism:

Of course, I must say that I don't think America is God's gift to anybody—if it is, God's days have got to be numbered. That God these people say they serve—and do serve, in ways that they don't know—has got a very nasty sense of humor. Like you'd beat the shit out of Him, if He was a man. Or: if you were.

Doubtless aware that most Americans regard the United States as God's country, Tish consciously goes against the grain. If America, which of course includes Harlem with its poverty, racism, and lack of opportunity, is God's country, then according to Tish the Almighty has a pretty sick sense of humor. It's almost as if God, the very same God worshipped by self-righteous hypocrites like Fonny's mother, is laughing right in Tish's face. Little wonder, then, that she feels like beating him up.

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