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"I am a male and I know that I will treat a woman well, but I have been rejected many times because I don't thump a bible with me everywhere that I go." All in the numbers One of biggest reasons black women are single, Cooper says, is because of a lack of black men in the church.
According to the PEW study, "African-American men are significantly more likely than women to be unaffiliated with any religion (16 percent vs. Nearly one-in-five men say they have no formal religious affiliation." Watkins believes the social structure of the church keeps black men from attending.
Big Miller Grove Missionary Baptist Church, a predominately African-American Baptist church in Atlanta, is holding a seminar on the question of faith's role in marital status on August 20.
"Regardless if he's married or not, sometimes human desires will transcend beyond certain parameters and that's dangerous territory.
Pastors are humans just like anybody else." The Rev. Weems, a bible scholar who holds a degree in theology from Princeton, strongly disagrees with Cooper about why many black women remain single and says she is reinforcing one message: "It's the black woman's fault." "To claim that women are sitting in their chair getting heated about watching their preacher strut across the pulpit is illogical," Weems says.
"Those appealing, high-testosterone guys have a hard time getting into the 'Follow the leader, give me your money, and listen to what I have to say' attitude." "Many of us have a difficult time submitting to the pastor who is just another man." The male pastor, Cooper says, is the "alpha male" for many black women.
Over-reverence for the pastor - or any religious figure for that matter - creates barriers for the black man, she says, because he feels like he must compete for the No. "It doesn't make you more attractive if your life is filled with these 'other' men," Cooper says.
She moves swiftly, with confidence, a weathered Bible clutched in her right hand, the day's passages dog-eared and highlighted. 1 man in my life and any man who wants me must seek me through Him." The unmarried Georgia native is a committed follower of the Christian faith, striving to live and breathe the gospel in her daily life.
She's the type of woman who can recite scriptures with ease, her love of faith evident in her speech. Yet, according to relationship advice columnist Deborrah Cooper, it is this devout style of belief and attachment to the black church that is keeping black women like Davis -- single and lonely."If they feel like they have to compete, you are not going to be interesting because you're not feeding his ego in the way it needs to be fed." Mark K.Forston, son of a black preacher in Forest Park, Georgia, says some black women "put their pastor on this pedestal and have a large amount of faith in him because he is a living source of salvation." Sometimes women even focus their romantic feelings on the pastor, says Forston.Boyce Watkins, a professor at Syracuse University and advocate for African-American issues, responded to Cooper's article online.Though he applauded Cooper's courage to voice her opinion , he agreed -- and disagreed -- with her.They want a man to which they are 'equally yoked' -- a man that goes to church five times a week and every Sunday just like they do," Cooper said in a recent interview.