More Black Women Single; Church Possibly to Blame

Gheni Platenburg, Victoria Advocate, March 13, 2011

Melanie White {snip} is just one of a growing number of black women who are over 30 and still single.

A recent Yale study found 42 percent of African-American women remain unmarried, compared to only 23 percent of Caucasian women.

Deborrah Cooper, a relationship and dating advice columnist for the San Francisco Examiner, recently made claims on her popular blog, SurvivingDating.com, that predominantly black protestant churches, such as African Methodist, Pentecostal, and certain denominations of Evangelical and Baptist churches account for why so many black women are still single.

One controversial blog post in particular titled “The Black Church: How Black Churches Keep African-American Women Single and Lonely” attracted national attention for its claims that stringent beliefs established by the black church hinder black women in their search for love.

“An examination of any congregation of the average Black church shows that single black females fill the pews,” Cooper wrote. “Black women go to church week after week, hearing over and over again the message that they should be seeking a God-fearing man. Sisters in church are instructed by their pastor that there should be no room in their lives for a man without faith in the Lord.”

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Additional survey data showed that 62 percent of black Americans reportedly interpret scripture literally true word for word.

Those men who are single and in the church do not necessarily present good dating options either, according to Cooper’s blog.

She described many of the single black men in church as being elderly reformed players, closeted homosexuals, opportunistic players or losers working on a 12-step program.

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Admittedly, White said she has limited her dating pool to black Baptist men.

“I need someone who is a child of God, has been saved and has accepted God as the head of their life because He’s definitely the head of mine,” she said.

These dating criteria are something that Lydia Hobbs can relate to.

Hobbs, a 42-year-old mother of three, said a difference in religious beliefs is what led to her divorce from her husband of 11 years in 2004.

“Christianity is the most important aspect in a relationship, because I’m a Christian” said Hobbs. “I was married to a non-Christian. Religion was not a main focus in his life. It was not important that he went to church or set moral standards for our children.”

Since getting back into the dating scene, Hobbs said anyone she considers dating must be Christian, have a job, do volunteer work, have a good personality and be attractive.

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“I just need someone who would not be afraid to pray with me,” she said.

“Many single women are in church for women’s groups, Bible study twice a 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?” Cooper asked in her blog. “In reality, she doesn’t.”

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