May 30, 2012

OAKLAND, CA — Author and blogger Deborrah Cooper examines how women are treated in black churches by men waging war on them using God as a weapon of mass destruction. In a controversial new book entitled The Black Church: Where Women Pray and Men Prey, Cooper outlines how black women are indoctrinated into becoming servants of God, of men, and of their communities often to their own detriment.

Black women, says Cooper, are brainwashed into living a dormant existence where they sit passively, trusting in God and waiting for Him to intervene in their lives and make things happen. “Living a life of inaction cripples black women, and is inextricably linked to a slave mentality – a condition of learned helplessness.” She notes that black women are shockingly passive in the face of neglect and abuse, having been primed by church doctrines to be submissive and docile. “Black women seem to just cope with life… to be afraid of having big dreams, of agitating on their own behalf, and of demanding change and respect. This leads to normalization of pain and acceptance of disrespect in myriad forms as they soldier on, praying for a blessing to give them relief instead of making change themselves.”

No stranger to controversy concerning the black church, Ms. Cooper sparked a heated debate on websites and social media sites in 2010 with an article entitled The Black Church – How the Black Church Keeps African American Women Single and Lonely Cooper accused traditional African American churches of being responsible for the high numbers of single black women in the U.S. The author focused a critical eye on the conservative, outdated policies and behaviors mandated for women by black spiritual leaders that limit women’s options and keep them focused on serving the church instead of serving themselves. Scheduled for release in May 2012, The Black Church: Where Women Pray and Men Prey expands on her original claims with a more comprehensive analysis of church policies.

In the book Cooper explains that the long-term survival of civilized societies has always been predicated upon establishing structures which provide for the protection and care of women and children (with men providing such protection); however, African American societal roles are instead structured to protect and care for the men, with the welfare of the women and children sacrificed in the process. She believes that at the center of this societal breakdown are the black church and its traditional structure which emphasizes male-dominance and Pastor worship, while simultaneously mandating female subjugation and submission. Should evolved black women separate from the black church?

Deborrah stated “it’s a realistic option that black women should consider. I believe black churches intentionally keep women single… after all, churches would suffer if more women got married or devoted their time and money to themselves or their children. I also think many church leaders take advantage of black women through prosperity doctrines, tithing and other such nonsense that is not theologically based. If you cannot teach prosperity gospel in Romania, South Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa because their economy is stagnant, then you cannot rightly promote that doctrine anywhere. It’s not biblical. Black pastors are becoming millionaires from pimping black women in the last legal con game that there is – church. The women may not be on the corner, but these guys are pimping them just the same. How the church pimp game is run is detailed in what I call ‘the 10 Step Plan to Turning a Woman Out.’

The chapter entitled “Pray, Pay & Obey” examines the black church’s historical role of representing ‘community interests’ which Cooper says really means that black churches harness women’s energy, money, talents and bodies for male-centered interests. “The concept of female submission is very dangerous to black women” Ms. Cooper added. “Men feel entitled by misquoted scriptures to demean, degrade and use women in any way they please. When a woman feels defeated, weak and insignificant, she also feels helpless – incapable of defending either herself or her children against men lest she go against the word of God. When a woman turns over her power to a man, his quest for even greater dominance may result in his use of religion to justify emotional, verbal, physical and even sexual abuse. Sadly, such behaviors are very common in black churches.”

Cooper continued “I am regularly stunned at how many of my very accomplished and educated female friends repeat line and verse how women should be subservient, quiet, and “below” a man because that’s how God intended it. They hang onto their Pastor’s words as if they were straight from the lips of God, rather than rely on their own judgment and common sense. Words spoken have great power… the power to heal or harm, empower or invalidate, enlighten or deceive. Fear is one of the most powerful ways of controlling people. False prophets calling themselves Pastors twist “facts” to fit their agenda, thereby preying on the fears of African American women across the country. Such behavior must stop. When black women hurt, the black family suffers.”

THE BLACK CHURCH WHERE WOMEN PRAY AND MEN PREY is now available for purchase .

TITLE: The Black Church – Where Women Pray and Men Prey
GENRE: African American Culture, Women’s Issues
PRICE: Paperback: $18.99
AUTHOR: Deborrah Cooper
ISBN: 978-1-105-63687-5
PAGES: 202

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