OK, I posted a link to this column on cnn.com earlier today. Many of my friends know about how I view the "Black Church". For those of you that either don't know me or my views on the Black Church, I'll try to briefly explain. I don't go. Why? Because I feel that it is more concerned with what it receives from my wallet, rather than it's impact on my life. Having said that, I will state that I believe that it does many good deeds in the community, now, back to the topic.
The column on cnn.com today wasn't especially insightful or enlightening, but the topic is nothing short of a lightning rod for conversation. Why are there so many single Black women and what, if any, role does the Black Church play in that? I believe that there is no simple answer to that question. Is it that Black women are too picky? Is it that Black women have limited themselves? Is it that there are too few "Good Black Men" (and for the record I hate that phrase)? Is it that there are too few Black men period? Are they all in interracial relationships? Are Black men too promiscuous? Is this some over hyped phenomena and a figment of our imagination? These all could start hours of conversation.
The nuts of the topic, to me, is that there has been an erosion of love and relationships in Black America. Through our music, our media, our messages, we reinforce the message that Love, Monogamy, Education, Marriage, are all "non-Black". For Black men: Jail has become a badge of honor. Education and employment are for "Sell Outs". Love and Relationships were for punks. Monogamy was comparable to a scarlet letter. Taking care of your children is "optional". I could go on and on. We did this to ourselves. For Black women (and I preface this as just my opinion and response and insight are more than welcome): They have been the last of the "collective" to openly and willingly expand whom they sought relationships with. Not to say that Black women haven't dated / mated / loved outside of Black men for as long as Black men have, but Black women held onto the hope of the IBM (Ideal Black Man) for far too long. Black men exploited this hope for their personal gain to the point where "pimpin" became the new "loving". And I know first hand how Black women have "held it down" through all of this.
How does this, IMO, related back to the Black Church? Here goes, and please do not be afraid to tell me I'm wrong. The Black Church has long served as the center of community and hope to Black people. It was the place of congregation and community. The place where a group of people who were on the outside of mainstream society came to pray and plan a way for a better life and tomorrow. Black men (in my unscientific non-supported theory), through the collective beat down that many societal ills placed upon them, began to lose hope, and thus, lose faith. This created a gap in the number of Black men and women who attended church. So thus while a large number Black Women continued to pray for ( you name it ), a decreasing number of Black men held onto that faith and hope and the growing number of those whom lost faith went on their merry way. Remember Chris in "Boyz N The Hood", Church was where there were a "gang of women, fine ones too". This topic has been around for a long long while.
So to say that the "Black Church" is to blame is completely inaccurate. However, to say that there isn't a role the "Black Church" played in this particular topic would be to lack perspective. Religion can be a wonderful thing. It gives many people a sense of strength, purpose, hope, and faith that they need in their life. The Black Church is greater than a specific religion and it's impact goes far beyond faith.
Having said all that, I may be completely off base and wrong. I may be right. I may be crazy. I may be all of the above. Let me know.