The Black Church: How Black Churches Keep African American Women Single and Lonely

| 07/20/2014 | Comments (505)

Black Churches – Full of Foul Frauds and Fiends?

Black women have an inordinate amount of faith in both Black men and Black churches. My position is that such blind and unwavering faith in either is misplaced. It is my belief that the Black church, structured around traditional gender roles which makes women submissive to and inferior to men, greatly limits females. Single Black women sitting in church every Sunday are being subtly brainwashed, soothed and placated into waiting without demand for what they want to magically come to them. Who is doing this to Black women? The male standing at the front of the Church in the role of spiritual leader, that’s who!

Black women should abandon Black churches and focus more on themselves, their needs and those of their children than those of Black men or a religion which Black men use to castigate and control an entire race of women.

Single Black Females in Church

Black females have long been considered the backbone of the Black community and the cornerstone of their families and churches. But what is the real price Black women have paid to wear this crown of fool’s gold?

An examination of any congregation of the average Black church shows that single Black females fill the pews. Results of a recent study “African Americans and Religion” by the PEW Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life found that “African Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole.”Church services in the black community

Almost 90% of Black Americans express “absolutely certain belief in God” compared to just over 70% of the total U.S. population. Two other important statistics gleaned from this survey: (1) 80% of Black Americans report that religion is “very important” in their lives as compared to 57% of the general U.S. population; and (2) 55% of Black Americans report that they “interpret scripture literally” as compared to 32% of the general U.S. population.

The PEW study also reported that “Men are significantly more likely than women to claim no religious affiliation. Nearly one-in-five men say they have no formal religious affiliation, compared with roughly 13% of women.”

The survey shows a distinct correlation between religion and social attitudes amongst African Americans. “African Americans who are more religiously observant (as defined by frequency of worship service attendance and the importance of religion in their lives), are more likely to oppose abortion and homosexuality, and more likely to report higher levels of conservative ideology.”


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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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Category: Society and Culture, The Black Church

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  1. chantel says:

    I think that women who are just living a religious life will fall into this category but not those who have a true relationship with God. You are not covering all aspects either- of the statistics how many met in church and are happily married; how does this compare to the people who meet in places you say wm should go? I go to a multiracial church and I know A LOT of couples who met in church, let God be the center of their relationship and are happily married; maybe it doesnt count b/c it’s not an ALL black congregation. You are leaving out so much so this can only be classified as your opinion.

    • Deborrah says:

      You are talking up a wall chick. The first two words in the article are BLACK CHURCH and SINGLE BLACK WOMEN. So no, your thoughts on a multiracial church or about WM do not count at all and shouldn’t have even been made. Normally I would delete it for being off topic, but I’m feeling generous today and so I will leave it up.

      • Denise says:

        I agree with some of your points. I am a female, black minister. I am happily married and I met my husband at church. Although, I know some “black men ministers” who this article addresses, black women are not always the victims. I know women who personally set out to trap, manipulate and take advantage of black men who are in church. I think you should write an article displaying all the different a aspects of the black church. Have you been one of the women who were hurt in the black church?

        • Deborrah says:

          You must have missed the part where I said I don’t now and never have gone to church regularly. I’ve popped in for quick spy visits, but I do not ATTEND church. It’s not anything I’m interested in. Why Black folks always want to assume someone has been “hurt” becasue they have a controverting opinion from the masses is hysterically funny to me. You all think EXACTLY the same, which to me shows the limits of people that follow religions.

        • Deborrah says:

          Denise, no man can be “trapped.” You make it sound like he is a marionette with no power or self-control.

          As a man of true faith, he should be able to extricate himself from any temptation, whether in the form of pussy, drugs, cheating on his wife, lying or stealing sent his way, right? It always amazes me how much church women are male-oriented and seek to place blame on females for the behavior of males, their spineless weakness, lack of fortitude, and general laziness.

          If a man gets into a situation with a female, he has no one to blame but himself. How can a man be considered a source of strength for women and a leader, while at the same time you proclaim him to be weak and incapable of standing up to even the smallest challenge to his faith?

          Denise, you are talking out of both sides of your neck girlfriend. Which is it – are men stronger than women or not?

          • Michelle says:

            Ms. Deborrah, from your article and your response to those that oppose or partially oppose your article – I can understand why Ms. Denise ask who hurt you hurt. It does appear that your perception comes from a place of hurt or anger. Both she and I, could of course be completely wrong and you very well can just have some strong opinions about the topic. I am a single African American woman that attends a predominately Black Church. Though I’m sure there are churches that mirror what you described in your article, its up to those attending that church to determine whether the body of the Church and the Pastor are spiritually alive. If they are then they won’t have a Pastor misleading or misguiding them. WE have got to stop blaming everyone else for our situations. Most people aren’t even ready for the type of relationships they yearn for because they refuse to deal with SELF and their issues. Perhaps, that’s why the divorce rate is so high. I’m NOT saying everyone but many don’t even take the time to know who they are before we go running and jumping into a relationship, let alone marriage. A person’s spiritual balance is just a part of who you are, if you choose to embrace that.

            I took time to look for a Church that was the right fit for me and where I felt I would be spiritually fed. Now, in saying that I will say this… I have NOT and have never been a religious person, but I have a strong foundation and relationship with GOD. HE guides me and directs me. I think if being married is what a woman/man wants, then you should be consulting GOD (through prayer/meditation). A good pastor can be a source to guide you, if you need direction. They aren’t all bad and I can’t even make a statement to say the majority is, but the majority do get a bad wrap because of a few opportunists. Thank you for your article. Be blessed in all that are and all that you do.

          • Deborrah says:

            Well Michelle, I get frustrated and wonder how people can think that someone that has been writing articles on relationships for 20 years would have to come ONLY from a place of personal hurt. That is a ludicrous concept and very narrow minded in its scope.

            I write about things that need to be written about, and I have what I think is a unique way of looking at the world and the people in it. I have very strong opinions about just about everything. lol! And I share them. Check out – the first and largest and oldest 100% black owned website on black male/female relationships on the web. I put it up in 1997 and its still going strong.

            Taking a read through any of the content on either of my websites will show you that I’ve ALWAYS had strong opinions and have no problem blasting people, concepts and institutions like marriage or churches or patriarchy.

            I agree that some level of discernment is necessary in these situations, but am wondering how someone is supposed to know that in advance? People of faith have faith. If they were not blindly faithful they certainly would not believe in a God they can’t see, hear, or touch. So if a man represents himself as a faithful man, saying the right words, who would know the difference UNTIL he does something fucked up? So we can’t just place blame on the women in these situations saying “well you should have KNOWN that pastor was no good or not spiritually alive.”

            Same with relationships. Most people go into them blindly too. Do they know what to look for in a mate? They do if they’ve been reading my book or website, but most of them haven’t.

          • Michelle says:

            Ms. Deborrah, I understand that you have strong opinions about things. Cool, no problem. And if you’ve been writing articles on relationships for twenty years… kudos to you. I don’t think anyone is trying to take anything from you. However, perhaps folks are more so responding to the tone of the comments as well as the article. This is where the perceived undertone of hurt comes from and it was more a question than anything from Ms. Denise, I believe. Clearly, this is a bold topic to take on and its nothing wrong with that. I happen to not agree with your suggestions in its entirety. And hey, that’s ok. Its cool to agree to disagree.

            In reference to your comment on how someone should know if a church is spiritually dead or not, well, that’s a whole other article in itself. lol! Unfortunately, sometimes it is by trial and error. Christianity is such a new religion for it to be so old. I wish I had more time to fully explain that statement. As far as knowing what one wants in a relationship, an individual won’t know that until they know self first. And that’s half the battle. I think your heart is in the right place. Its unfortunate that you’ve been misinformed about the Christian experience, not every place is the same. Just as we can’t pigeon hole every black man into a category, you can’t pigeon hole every Christian experience into one. I wish you much luck, love & success in the future. Would love to interview you for my book. Peace, sister.

  2. Freedom says:

    Wow, this article was on point! I grew up and church and have seen and experienced the mind control, games, bondage, hypocrisy, lies, stealing, begging for money, etc., etc.

    I got so fed up with the “church” that I ended up leaving. I came to a point where I finally understood that it’s about a personal relationship with God and not about attending a church building.

    I too was single and believed that I had to wait on God to send me my saved, Holy Ghost filled husband. I didn’t go out and thought everything outside of the church was ungodly. Needless to say, I stayed single. Once I changed my mindset and started exploring the world, my life changed. I was able to meet a wonderful man who has helped me to learn to “live” and have fun.

    He does not go to church, but he does have a deep understanding of God and believes in his power. He is a great man – responsible, home owner, hard worker, debt free, great parent, thoughtful, and humorous. And yes, he has a drink when he gets ready and he plays cards and shoots pool with his friends. If I still had the “single, saved, and satisfied” mindset, I would not have been open to meeting and getting to know my man, who is my soul mate. He is a real man.

    Ladies, live your life and don’t let anyone, especially the church (pastor) tell you how to live it. Nine times out of ten, their lifestyle is a mess. After all, they are just human like you. While you’re sitting at home alone, just remember that your pastor isn’t.

    • Mindbridge says:

      I do love what Deborrah has said in this post and have tried to teach this stuff about the so called Black Church and the control program it operates on.

      But, in most cases my teaching along these lines fall on deaf ears.

      Here is the deal. I am one of those clear thinking strong Black men that have been refering to. An in spite of that, my women still has need to be associated with the phony, hippocrates, and nigger preachers that have had such a devastating effect on the development of the Black community and nation. My validation of her in and of itself, ain’t good enough. Black Women have become psychological slave to this junk. I have shown many of them how fake this stuff is and they still flock to it like flies to rot.

      So like it or not this problem is much much deeper than what we are speaking of here.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Let’s remember that men who want to control are not just found in the churches. There are many cults that abound out there that prey on the weak minded who are easily led like sheep.

    Most cult groups are led by men. Jimmy Jones, David Koresh, Marshall Applewhite of Heaven’s gate who led a mass suicide claiming they would get to the Hale-Bopp comet, Charles Manson who had those women commit murder and go to jail for him. Whether it is Christianity or other group. Men love to try to dominate and bend women to their will. They love to dictate to women and children in order for them to feel like they have the power. Ms. Cooper focuses strictly on religion and black churches, but there are all sorts of male kooks out there with the need to control. The black church is just one venue.

    When you find a man with his focus on ‘telling women what to do, how to live that is a man a woman needs to avoid. It all stems from the need for men to feel important and most men feel this way by controlling those they think are weak-minded. Unfortunately too many women, listen to what some dumb-azz man has to say and hang on his last word as if it’s the gospel, simply because he has testicles swinging betixt his legs. That’s all the qualification many women need.

    All too often these crazy azzed looney bin men with no type of professional degree or anything to qualify him to be an authority on anything will sway broken down low-self esteem women who are looking to define themselves by what some dude thinks. This is why the church and cults are rife with women.

    As disgusting as these dumb fool men are, the women who follow them disgust me even more. Women need to grow up, get some common sense and think for themselves. Stop given men all the props just because ‘they said so’. Men don’t know shyt that they are talking about half the time. They just talk ‘noize’ to make themselves feel important when most times, they ain’t hitting on a hill on beans!

  4. Maya Sisterzone says:

    I really liked this article! To change things we have to see them in a new way, a new light, and free our minds from all mental slaveries.

  5. Black Theology says:

    Touched on some key points. Religion and control — when are we going to realize that God created us to be “free” beings — he did grant us free will. Although some need religion for “life” structure, we should not allow religion to suffocate our spiritual, free flowing selves.

    Message to the single sisters… God is not going to find or send a man your way. That’s a violation of “FREE WILL”… so you betta get to steppin.

    I’m to the point I’m fed up with church — it has done more harm to people, with it’s rigid, hypocritical, slanted, bias, rhetoric. Sisters… you got to be FREE… It’s ok to explore life.

  6. Kemet Alkebulan says:

    The fact a woman wrote this is what I find to be powerful. Will share this……Peace

  7. LaTonya Taylor-White says:

    I appreciate Deborrah’s of the world for so many reasons. Go Sister! Only we can pull each other’s coat tails and have the hard dialogue.

  8. Jaie Benson says:

    I live in ATL and I must have gone to the same church as Angela! LOL! Which is ONE of the reasons I left. I’ve not been in “organized religion” for 5 years now – LOVE MY CREATOR – don’t do the “organized” church thing – seen first hand all the MESS that goes on behind the scenes in two of them. I no longer think about devils and demons and all the other stuff they talk about in the church that keeps your mind BOUND and their pockets FAT. 🙂

  9. Nipere Connor-Brown says:

    I agree but I am not she in this article. Yet I do know some of these women…LOL… “fool’s gold” hehehehe! This article is quite amusing, funny though it has some truth to it. Yet the Devil knows how to twist shit around too. Put your trust in God, read God’s word and don’t feed that nigga or else he’ll be like a cat. Seek wisdom is all I must say. XOXO

  10. Denise Townsend says:

    good article,,,,must share…

  11. Bruce Matthews says:

    Great article, I agree with 99% of it.

  12. Angela Randolph says:

    A local pastor in Houston was just arrested, his son, and girlfriend for the murder of his wife, a week prior the church burned down to the ground. not saying all are criminals but it’s true some have ungodly pasts. i left one church were the pastor was caught on tape saying he loved to see the young boys dance on tables in the Atlanta clubs. he was being blackmailed by one of his male lovers who taped the phone conversation. it was scandulous and lots of folks lost faith in church all together after that scandal.

  13. Djehuty Ma'at-Ra says:

    Man, I think you gon’ (or don’) pissed off a lot of Black Christian women with this piece here, Deborrah. LOL!

    Christianity is the bedrock for so many Black women and here you come and pulverize that bedrock in unchecked iconoclastic fervor and fashion. But the Face Book page is the appropriate place for this latest article (blog) of yours because we boldly analyze, assess, and scope all subject matter for purposes of stimulating thought and creating dialogue between individuals.

    My take on the piece is as follows:

    Again, you make (and raised) very salient points. The statistics you provided in relation to African-Americans as a collective within the U.S. as compared with the general and overall U.S. population were startling to say the least, and to a person like myself, explains why we (as a People) suffer so much and are behind the game and race here in the U.S. compared to other races (nationalities, ethnic groups).

    I think as a collective people (and group) we are too religious to a fault. I mean, to be the most God-fearing and believing people of all people in this country and to be dealing with all that we are dealing with (and have dealt with in the past, e.g. social and racial injustice, police brutality, male-female relationship issues, adverse health complaints, single parent/mother syndrome, absentee fatherism, black-on-black violence and homicide, etc.) should really make us start asking this God we believe in some serious questions as to why are the most God-fearing and believing people in the country (and perhaps the world) catching so much hell, and especially by an allegedly just, fair, righteous, and loving God!

    Your words make it clear that the very institution so many Black women depend on (and are loyal to) is the very thing that blocks them to most of what they desire, including a man or especially a man (real man, ideal man). This may be a hard pill for many Black Christian women to swallow. After all, a lot of Black women are in church due to lack of a man (and I have noticed that many Black Christian women stop going to church once they find that man or potential ideal man, especially when he himself is not a Christian). For many Black women, church helps to pass the time when there is no man on the scene.

    Now, while your book “SUCKA FREE LOVE” is solution and advice given and oriented (based upon the reviews I’ve read on, I have to ask why this is not the case in your blogs? The points you raise in your blogs are salient and valid, to me personally, they would require solutions, even if of a brief nature, so as to polarize matters and give folks (women) a way out, and who better to do that than a woman, a la Deborrah Cooper?

  14. Farren 'Cooki' Oglesby says:

    This article postulates one of many reasons why I am no longer a Christian. Great article to read. I am glad someone has brought this very important issue up.

    Funny, I always wondered why past men I dated would never go to church, yet had this uncanny since of belief on god, the bible, and Jesus, but would never step foot in a church. Also, I felt that the men who pastor churches, where themselves weak minded men, because of their in ability to to constuctive individuals in the greater society as a whole. A resounding majority of local pastors were criminals of sorts. Who turned their life a around after they almost died or got caught..

  15. Pantherbaby says:

    Deborrah two thumbs up way up! You echoed my sentiments exactly but I’m wondering if black women seeking a husband are willing to step out of their comfort zone and attend or visit churches were its more diverse and more men present. Their loyalty is to God not the pastor.

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