Baby, You Are My Religion argues that American butch-femme bar culture of the mid-20th Century should be interpreted as a sacred space for its community. Before Stonewall―when homosexuals were still deemed mentally ill―these bars were the only place where many could have any community at all. Baby, You are My Religion explores this community as a site of a lived corporeal theology and political space. It reveals that religious institutions such as the Metropolitan Community Church were founded in such bars, that traditional and non-traditional religious activities took place there, and that religious ceremonies such as marriage were often conducted within the bars by staff. Baby, You are My Religion examines how these bars became not only ecclesiastical sites but also provided the fertile ground for the birth of the struggle for gay and lesbian civil rights before Stonewall.

“In this history of LGBT oppression in America from the 1940s to the 1980s, Marie Cartier does much more than remind us that before the 1969 Stonewall riots, the gay bar was the only social space that allowed lesbians to be themselves. She makes a compelling case that it was also a space where theology was done.”

– Therese Bjoernaas, Journal of Religion and Theology