From Deborrah Cooper: Black Churches Keep African American Women Single and Lonely

Here is another ” theory for the single black women epidemic. Praying for a man or waiting for God to do his thing is a popular coping mechanism for black women. What do you think?

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!

This is the true reason that there are so many single, never married Black women in the United States – Black churches. 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.”

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.”

What Do The PEW Study Results Mean For Single Black Women?

They mean that:

* Following the tenets of organized religion is not going to get you anywhere because men are generally not religious.
* Going to church is not getting you the husband you seek.
* Going to church is not making you more attractive and interesting to men.
* Going to church is not where you are going to find eligible bachelors to date.
* Going to church is not going to teach you to be fiscally responsible, investment savvy, or empower you to achieve greatness as a woman.
* Going to church is not going to broaden your horizons, make you more tolerant and accepting of all God’s children, nor is it going to encourage you to be free of the chains of patriarchy and oppression of your feminine energy.

Going to church makes you a sheep, blindly following the mandates of a small group of men you have placed in your life in a position of power. Going to church makes you malleable and predictable, and narrows your thinking and thus limits your options.

Going to church for single Black women is a waste of time.

There ARE Single Men in Church, However…

Women don’t seem to understand that the very principles of manhood require that a man stand on his own two feet, and that he meet life’s challenges without asking for help from anyone. This means that no man of strength and purpose is going to go to church and have some other man judge him, tell him that he is wrong or bad, or tell him what to do. Therefore, you can bet if a young, handsome, strapping man is in church every Sunday, there is something wrong with him.

Some women will argue that there are lots of “nice” single men in church and that I am being harsh. Okay, I’ve been to dozens of churches around the country and looked hard at those guys. Without a doubt I can tell you flatly that the vast majority (I’m saying 98%) of them fit into one of four categories:

1. A loser working a 12-step program. These guys are in church looking for structure and something to believe in besides themselves, because they are weak and confused. They need help getting their lives back on track and are seeking solace and comfort in church. If they can hook up with a woman looking desperately for a church-going man of any ilk, they’ve got it made.
2. Openly or in the closet gay men, neither of which is interested in marrying. Some gay men are wrestling with severe guilt and confusion about their desires, which they hope to pray away. Others are openly gay and attend church seeking acceptance from a community which turns its nose up at homosexuality; they are also seeking forgiveness for their sins. Whatever may be this guy’s issue, he is emotionally and psychologically unavailable.
3. Opportunistic players on the prowl. Every player I know goes to a couple of different churches… some of them go quite regularly. They have easy pickings amongst the hundreds of horny, lonely single women that will cook and give them free meals and satisfy his sexual urges (though these players have no intention of marrying and committing to anyone). Since sex amongst unmarried singles is a sin, it is easy for him to gain the assurance of the women that they keep things secret and not speak of their “transgression” lest they feel the wrath of the Pastor. This secrecy makes it easy for him to hide the fact that he is bed hopping with four or five single ladies, right under their respective noses.
4. Elderly reformed players. These guys have played themselves so hard and so long, they’re worn out. Their old butts finally realized that the end may be near and playtime is over. Worried about dying alone, they bring their behinds back to church to find a “good Christian woman” for marriage. Essentially they are looking for a free nursemaid and bed warmer… someone to provide comfort and take care of their old broken down asses before they die.

In spite of these facts, Black women go to church week after week, hearing over and over again the message that they should be seeking “a God-fearing man.” Sistahs in church are instructed by their Pastor that there should be no room in their lives for a man without faith in The Lord.

But with so few Black men attending church, and those that are in church being largely unsuitable as marital partners, what is it that single Black women are looking for in church?

Why do Black women run to church in droves and willingly put themselves in the position to be dictated to, harshly judged and instructed like a child on how to live their lives by some man that is not their father and to whom they are not married?

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…….
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12 responses to “From Deborrah Cooper: Black Churches Keep African American Women Single and Lonely”

  1. Alexander says :

    We’re going to have to reconcile how coming out of slavery the American African family was 80% intact, and has declined since. How could it be at 80% coming out of the worst period, and decline from that point on? More examination needs to be made as to how that high rate was able to exist after slavery and the factors that have contributed to its decline ever since. We have to ask more questions and check more sources in order to flesh out a more consistent coherent narrative. There’s also the issue of how we ended up with so much land after slavery. If the white slave master was so generous, then why were we enslaved in the first place? And if he were so generous, then slavery couldn’t have been that bad because if so many of them were willing to give so many of us so much land after the fact, then wouldn’t that generosity necessarily have to have been being applied while we were in bondage to them? And you mean to tell me that they were giving our people all this land after the fact and not keeping it themselves or giving it to their children? So where did they go to live, then? What inheritance was handed down to their children?

  2. Alexander says :

    That response was in reference to the brother that wrote to have his grandchild released.

  3. Anna Renee says :

    Oh my GOD, eshowoman! Is this woman serious? Can we expect anything of value from someone who has so little respect for black people? I was at the Afrospear ranting and raving about the fact that black folks tend to put too damn much stock in statistics. We tend to look at them as though they are the gospel truth. Deborrah Cooper doesn’t know what she’s talking about beyond wild racist generalities. I go to church. I’m married. My husband is Christian too. I worship with black people who are not “sheep” the way Deborrah describes. She obviously has aligned herself with black peoples enemies in terms of her sources of information and is striking out with a hammer heavier than the Rush Limbaughs of the world. So much hatred! What she ouught to do is change her source of information and strip herself of her high and mighty attitude and learn something about her “church sisters”.
    I just went to her comment log on this post. She’s truly so much worse than I thought! This kind of anger is beyond destructive! What I hate so much is the fact that these sisters fall right into the hands of the enemy by ingesting all of their rhetoric about black people. Then she spews it out at everyone! If she was as intelligent as she thinks she is, then she would do some research on black women and the black church. She would then find so much that is right and good about the church, which has sustained so many black people for so long. But with her high level of “beyond anger” she may be unable to settle down long enough to be of one iota of use to herself or to black women.
    If she wants a white man, or whatever other than black she should just do that, and let the rest of the sisters just be.
    She’s completely useless to the liberation fight. There’s angry and then there’s just stupidity and ignorance.

    • Deborrah Cooper says :

      People that are married are not single and not the subject of my article. People that go to church with their husbands are not the subject of my article. People that are married have no comment to make about the millions of black women that are in church, hearing over and over again how they must be doing something wrong or not praying hard enough or not giving enough money to the church because they can’t find a man.

      Because you do not agree with my position, there is no need to label me with ugly names girlfriend. That shows immaturity and a lack of reading comprehension. No where did I say that a Sistah should go get a white man. There are dozens of other colors of men besides WHITE for a black woman to love and marry, ya know?

      Because I am critical of the men that run the business that you all worshipfully call church does not mean I am the enemy. What I am seeing in your response is fear. Fear that I may be right. Fear that you may be wrong. Fear that what you believe is right will crumble underneath your feet and you will have nothing to sustain you but yourself. Which is as it should be. Church is a crutch for Black people that need to get off their knees and stand up and move forward.

      But I thank you all for your comments. It’s always interesting to see how people think.

      • eshowoman says :

        Thanks Deborah. I grew up in the Catholic church so the dynamics of the Black Protestant church and gender roles is a subject I want to learn more about. Thanks for commenting on my blog.

      • Michelle says :

        Deborrah, are you a christian? What was your reason for visiting so many churches around the country? I’m sorry, but to me you sound bitter in this article, which, I must say I do not agree with! The main reason most people go to church is because they want to attain, retain or achieve a close relationship with God and ensure they get a place in heaven when they leave this earth. Some people really do want to do the right thing. Suggesting single black women go to church looking for a man, or there’s something wrong with single black men in church is preposterous! This would mean that the topic every sunday is on how to find a man or what you should look for in one. Honestly, reading this article made me feel sorry for you, and I pray one day you will be able to achieve a closer relationship with God. Be blessed!

  4. eshowoman says :

    Thanks for your take Anna Renee. I was not raised in the Black Protestant church, so my experience is very different.

  5. Antionette Harris says :

    No one should be going to church to find a mate. People should be going to church to seek God. By reading this I think you have missed the entire purpose of Christianity. It is not to keep anyone tied down or keep them unhappy but to set them free. If anyone thinks that church is a place to find a mate – they are truly mistaken. In addition, its not about being submissive to man, but being submissive to God. You shouldn’t even worry about being submissive until you are saved. Submission is a fruit that comes after you have experienced salvation. And that is a question that I have for Ms. Deborah Cooper….sweety are you saved? because I think if you have experienced the love of Christ none of this would even be a conversation.

    • MsM says :

      Religion is a socializing mechanism. The whole POINT of religion is to share worship and community with OTHERS, so, it makes sense that people seek a mate who shares the same interest in life. As far as God, you’ll never find God in religion, you’ll only find the words and agendas of men posing as God. Spirituality, and being unafraid to listen to life when it speaks to you (let alone being willingly to evolve, not evolve into a caricture of spirituality) in my opinion is being in sync with your Creator.

    • Magnolia says :


  6. charmaine says :

    I think its a great observation and I find the truth to be amusing. Comedians get crazy rich by telling the truth on human behavior. I agree with you on quite a few points, because I’ve had to back a few male dominating figures off me,(thinking they can say what they may and not get checked) because sometimes they will get it twisted. I am a believer in Jesus Christ and not ashamed to say it. I don’t seek the approval of man. I don’t think that going to church is a waste of time, if in fact you are going to get clarity for your life. I read and study the word of God for myself, so when I start to discern that things are not right, I’m gonna make a move. [ I believe in direction through the Holy Ghost ] FYI: I’ve never looked for my man in church, because, sad but true, you are on point with the description of the male figure that is in regular attendance. Either that or already married or a family member of the pastor, where he upped their status that they might not be qualified for. But I can say that that’s not the case everywhere. I believe in miracles and I believe that people can change for the better, if they choose to. In conclusion, going to church is the easy part, hearing the truth about order and deciency, it’s the application of the truth that is the challenge. I believe for this cause people allow themselves to be enslaved in what i call the twilight zone. Because if you want to raise the bar in your life, than you must raise the bar in your character and that means CHANGE. And we know breaking up is hard to do!!!!!!!!!!

  7. MsM says :

    I’ve learnt to take Ms. Cooper with a grain of salt. I’ve ready quite a few of her articles and her disrespectful responses to comments on her articles towards people makes me laugh when she condemns others of labelling HER. Her disdain of men is overwhelming. Personally, I think people like Ms. Cooper and Nojma Muhummad (who is overly sympathetic of toxic men) are more in love with promoting their own version of bias and prejudice. Read them to learn from their flaws, read them ALWAYS with a critical eye. #OverAndOut

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