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

| 07/20/2014 | Comments (505)

The Submissive Black Woman and Marriage

Black women are socialized to be submissive to men, and are thoroughly trained to do so with Biblical scriptures. How can passivity be justified when in reality, women are the source of the power fueling every Black church in the nation? Female members of the congregation support the church with monetary donations, organize fundraising and social events, cook, clean, and provide assistance to the males with the titles and true power.  Though women lead committees and are very influential in their churches, few Black women are in a real position of power as the spiritual leader of their churches. How many Black women Ministers, Bishops or Preachers do you know?

Single Black women are instructed to seek a church-going man, a God-fearing man, a man that places love of the Lord first in his life. If a woman is looking for a husband, odds are poor that she will find such a man in a Black church. Further complicating matters, many single women are in church for women’s group, Bible study twice per week, some special committee meetings, singles ministry, fellowshipping through the community, and attending service all day on Sunday. When exactly is it that this single Black woman would have time for a man in her life? In reality she doesn’t, which is just what the men in her church want!

And should she by some stroke of luck actually find a man that she enjoys and request that he attend services with her, she will most likely hear a resounding “No!”

There are few men that are going to allow themselves to be dictated to by some other chump – that is what WOMEN do, not real men.

In most Black churches marriage is held up as the ideal state of existence; women that remain single are deemed to have some major flaw in attitude or ability. Thus, no single woman in the church wants to remain single because women are expected to marry and to bear children. For sistahs in the church, the pressure from family and fellow church members to marry can be so intense it may motivate her to make an fear-based decision to marry someone totally inappropriate. Such choices are made out of sheer desperation to avoid being single.


Finding the Black Man That You Seek… He Ain’t Up in Church

Single Black women trying to live a sanctified lifestyle won’t be caught dead in the places where men are likely to be found. These church women refuse to go to parties, sports bars or sporting events, or clubs where there is drinking, card playing, domino throwing, shit talking and cussing – you know, the things that most men who enjoy life like to do. Instead these single Black women sit at home alone, or get together with their friends and read the Bible, then pray that God will bring them a husband.

My suggestion is that you get off your knees, stop paying so much attention to what your Pastor says and open your eyes to the world around you. There are millions of really great guys out here that would love you to the depths of your soul and stand by you. There are many single men that will happily honor your spirit and desire to leave your mark on the world. However, he may not EVER set foot in a church or consider himself to be “religious,” and he certainly may not be Black.

Do those things make him a bad person, unworthy of your attention or love? I don’t think so.

A church itself is nothing but a building; what makes a church a place of spiritual growth is the people that come into the building. If you are a single Black woman attending a traditional Black church, you will be surrounded by sexually frustrated single women who feel guilty and confused about their physical desires and emotional hungers. You will be told that it is your responsibility to uplift the Black man and be a “helpmeet” to him. You will be told that your sexuality and sensuality must be contained or you lose value as a woman. You will also be told that it is your job to make Black men the men they need to be.

That is a lot of responsibility to place on Black women who are already carrying a huge load. I believe it is improper for church leaders to use the Bible to place that responsibility on women. I advocate that Black women refuse to accept the blame for the problems of the Black community, and refuse to shoulder responsibility for repairing the damage all alone.

Though your neighborhood Black church may hold sentimental value, there comes a time when one must reexamine habits and beliefs, choosing a new path when it becomes obvious that the old one is not bringing you the results you seek. If you’ve been participating in your church for 10, 12, 18 years looking for love and a husband to make your life complete, and you haven’t found him yet, it’s time to try something new. Though the intent of your church leaders may have been good, their approach is not working… you’re still single, still alone, still have no spouse and are still on your knees praying for love.

Stand up Sistah! There is a huge world out here full of men of many different religious and spiritual beliefs, races, cultures and ages. Traditional thinking about women, men and gender roles which place Black women in a small box is passé – this is 2010! Break free of the chains of mental control promoted by the Black church and look around! Broaden your horizons and explore other options for romance.

Black churches certainly have a vested interest in maintaining high numbers of single Black women as members of their congregations, but you don’t have to be a part of those statistics.


©June 14, 2010 Deborrah Cooper, dating expert/advice columnist on Neither the content of this article nor the material on this website may be reproduced or duplicated in whole or in part without the express written permission of the author and copyright holder. (Republished in its entirety June 9, 2012)


The exciting new book The Black Church – Where Women Pray and Men Prey contains dozens of real-life stories of sexual abuse by Pastors, Ministers, Bishops, and church members, along with astute observations about the games being run on women in Black churches across the nation.

Based on the shocking 2010 blog post The Black Church: How Black Churches Keep African American Women Single and Lonely! author Deborrah Cooper continues an uncomfortable examination of Christian religion in the black community, non-biblical Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.tenets of the prosperity gospel, and the games played by unscrupulous black preachers. It’s a page turner, but not everyone will have the stomach for it. Some women are afraid of what they might find when they pull back the curtain, and aren’t willing to question their blind faith in the men of their church. Neither are some able to understand that they must stop worshiping their pastors because these men are NOT God.

However, for those women brave enough to question their religious leaders, willing to take a look at what is going on at their churches, and strong enough to demand protection from predatory men for women and children within the walls of the House of God, this book is right on time. Learn more about the book’s contents by clicking book cover graphic on the left. To order your copy immediately, click the LuLu graphic on the right.


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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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  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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