Folk Belief – Boston, Massachusetts

--Informant Info--
Nationality: African-American
Age: 53
Occupation: Field Service Engineer
Residence: Boston, MA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 29, 2008
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Church Belief: Cursing on Sundays is damnation.

Don says that this was a common belief amongst the neighborhood of African American homes in Boston Massachusetts. Don grew up in a Northeastern Baptist home where the laws of the church were strictly followed. The consequences of cursing in church would lead to getting “smacked across the face”, first by the church mothers who heard you curse, and then by your mother after she heard the story through the grapevine from the church mother’s gossip.

I agree with this church belief. Growing up in an African American Pentecostal church, which is of similar background to Northeastern Baptist churches, it was and still is considered unholy to cuss on Sundays, the Lord’s Day. If you were caught cussing in or outside of the church a church mother or sister of the church would not hesitate to smack right in front of your friends and the other church members in order to teach you a lesson. The men of the church would not usually participate in the scolding. After she physically punished you, a scripture would always follow to back up you’re sinful act. The women of the church would often quote Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”. For Baptist churches the Sabbath day falls on Sunday, therefore no sinful acts should be practiced on a holy day. Proverbs 10:31 “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out” would also be used to remind all of the children to keep their language profanity-free.