“Are you uncovered like the majority of Black women?”
The quote above was said to me (in a discussion on Facebook) by a professing Christian Black man who claims to be a minister of Jesus Christ.
Over the past 14 years that I’ve been on social media, I’ve noticed an uptick in ungodly, unbiblical, unhistorical, misogynoir rhetoric aimed at Black women (especially single Black women and single Black mothers).
The term “misogynoir” is a combination of two words: “misogyny” (meaning a hatred, dislike, distrust, prejudice, and contempt for women) and the word “noir” (meaning Black). In short, misogynoir is defined as a specific type of misogyny which is aimed at Black women and propagates anti-Black misogynistic ideas about Black women.
Although some Black men harbor misogynoir attitudes and beliefs about Black women, misogynoir isn’t exclusive to Black men. Some Black women can and do have internalized misogynoir towards themselves and other Black women, and non-Black people can hold misogynoir attitudes and beliefs towards Black women as well.
It is especially disappointing and disturbing to see professing Christians, especially those who claim to be religious leaders and Christian apologists, demonstrating misogynoir attitudes and propagating misogynoir beliefs on public platforms.
This isn’t a subject that I ever thought that I would have to publicly address in the professing Christian community. However, the unchecked cancer of misogynoir among both women and men who profess Christ and claim to be religious leaders, Christian apologists, and women’s mentors (all of whom should know better) makes me feel compelled to formally and publicly address it on this website.
On a daily basis, professing Christians regurgitate misogynoir beliefs and propaganda (intermingled with various proof-texts from Scripture) on social media, on their personal profiles and ministry platforms. This is unacceptable conduct for believers in Jesus Christ and it should never be tolerated, minimized, or casually brushed off as harmless behavior.
Misogynoir beliefs and propaganda are normally promoted under the guise of reproving and rebuking Black women, rebuking and refuting the evils of feminism, encouraging Black women (and Black men) to ascribe to patriarchal gender roles (i.e., “Biblical womanhood/femininity” and “Biblical manhood/masculinity”), promoting traditional marriage for Black people, and protecting and promoting the traditional/nuclear family model for Black people.
At the risk of being falsely accused of being a feminist or a liberal, I plan on addressing misogynoir (as I find the time) on this website. Many feminists and liberals may agree with some of the points that I make in my writings against misogynoir, misogyny, and patriarchy. However, that doesn’t make me a feminist or a liberal anymore than it makes a Reformed Christian a “Roman Catholic” just because they so happen to share the doctrines of the Trinity and the Deity of Christ in common with Roman Catholics.
The fact that some feminists and liberals may agree with some of the points that I make here simply demonstrates that there are certain facts that people of differing worldviews agree with because we are all made in God’s image (having intellect and a sense of right and wrong), and so we are all going to agree on certain things. However, that doesn’t make me a feminist or a liberal, nor does it make anyone who agrees with some of the points that I make a believer in Jesus Christ.
Politically, I’m independent and I lean to the right. I’m not a liberal and I never have been. Spiritually, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ (you can read “What I Believe” here).
In terms of my position on feminism, based on what I have studied (from feminist content, not anti-feminist content) and based on what I have observed over the course of my life, feminism is a mixed bag of truth (ideas, aims, actions and achievements that align with the full counsel of Scripture, glorify God, and lead to human flourishing) and serious falsehoods (ideas, aims, actions and achievements that oppose the full counsel of Scripture, dishonor God, and lead to the destruction of human life).
Although, some religious people identify as feminists, feminism isn’t inherently religious and doesn’t have at its center, or as its foundation, a theistic worldview, more specifically the true and living God of the Old and New Testament, His eternal attributes, His will for human beings, His objective moral standards, His plan of salvation, the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the Gospel message, or the New Covenant.
Much of feminist theory doesn’t take critical truths into consideration, such as the Divine creation of human beings, the fall of the first human beings, the spiritual effects of the fall (on the human condition, interpersonal relationships, and organized systems), the sinful condition of the human heart (and that sin is transgression against the laws of God), or the Divine origins of morality, fairness, equality, justice, respect, dignity, and individual liberty.
For the most part, feminist analysis of patriarchy, sexist oppression and discrimination, misogyny, male supremacy, and male dominance are filtered through the lens of a non-religious worldview. A worldview in which human beings are reduced to mere animals, morality is relative, and the highest authority that we can appeal to for equality and liberation is the State.
While I’m not someone who sits online bashing feminism, dehumanizing and othering feminists, using the word “feminist” as a pejorative towards other women, denying the existence of patriarchy and sexist oppression, pushing patriarchy and getting women “back in line” using the Bible, or posting videos and think-pieces ignorantly declaring all of the reasons why “I don’t need feminism“…nor do I identify myself as a feminist. I’m a believer in Jesus Christ and that’s good enough for me.
Yes, Jesus is in favor of equality between women and men, women and girls being liberated from patriarchy and sexist oppression, and women and girls being treated with fairness, dignity, respect, and compassion. However, it must be said that the basis upon which Christ is in favor of these things is not an atheistic, secular, humanist, New Age, or pagan religious worldview or philosophy.
Christ is in favor of these things because God is holy, righteous, true, fair, just, compassionate, and created both women and men in His image possessing immeasurable worth, value, and dignity. Christ is in favor of these things because God’s will is for human beings to love one another, treat one another with respect, kindness, and impartiality, and be set free from oppression.
Jesus isn’t looking at the history of patriarchy and sexist oppression from an earthly perspective, but from a heavenly perspective which is inseparable from the holiness and righteousness of God. Looking at the treatment of women and girls through the eyes of non-religious feminist analysis or through the eyes of Jesus, are two distinctly different viewpoints.
While feminist theory offers some accurate analysis, historical knowledge, and insight, Jesus Christ is the true light who comes from heaven, and it is His light that enlightens the eyes of our spiritual understanding and shines into darkness and exposes the evils of patriarchy, sexist oppression and discrimination, misogyny, male supremacy and male domination.
I believe that the true and living God and His word, is the only solid, objective, morally consistent foundation upon which to advocate for women’s equality, women’s rights, and the liberation of both women and men from patriarchy and sexist oppression. Working to mitigate oppression and discrimination against women isn’t the sole territory of feminists, liberals, or somehow in contradiction to God and the teaching of Scripture. Rather, it is consistent with the character of God, the will of God, and the word of God.
So let me make it very clear that anyone who spreads the lie that I’m a feminist, a liberal, or a closet feminist/liberal, is leveling a blatant false accusation and engaging in slander. I take the position that I do, not because of feminist theory, but because of the true and living God, His word, His will, and the living example of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.
Now, finally, let’s dive into the subject of this article.
A professing Christian Black man said to me, “Are you uncovered like the majority of Black women?”
By the time this statement was made, I had already identified quite a few patriarchal false narratives in his comments. For example, the false narrative that women are being mistreated by their husbands because “single Black mothers are raising their daughters to be masculine and their sons to be feminine.”
In patriarchal ideology, men aren’t responsible for their own behavior. Somehow, their sinful behavior can always be blamed on a woman, whether that woman is their wife, girlfriend, mother, or a random woman.
In the Black American collective, a popular false narrative (among Black patriarchalists, both women and men) is that Black men think and behave in sinful ways because they were raised by single Black mothers. This pattern of absolving men of responsibility for their own sinful thinking and behavior and blaming it on women is called “woman-blame,” and it traces back to the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden when he used Eve as a scapegoat for his own disobedience against God (Genesis 3:12).
The sin of woman-blame is one of the spiritual consequences of the fall of man, and it has been passed down from generation to generation. Woman-blame isn’t exclusive to men. Women have also inherited the sinful tendency to absolve men of full responsibility for their thinking and behavior and blame it on women. This is why you will see both women and men blaming women (and girls) for being abused, raped, molested, sexually harassed, abducted, prostituted, murdered, physically assaulted, and mistreated by men in romantic relationships. It is an ancient sin with a spiritual origin.
It’s very strange to see someone who claims to be a Christian ‘minister’ and claims to support ‘manhood’ and ‘masculinity’ placing the culpability for an adult male’s behavior on his mother. Nowhere in Scripture does any passage place the blame for a man’s sinful thinking and behavior on his mother. And it seems to me that blaming a mother for her adult son’s behavior towards his wife is an emasculating belief, because it undermines the agency of men (agency means taking responsibility for your life and having a sense of power and control over your actions).
Scapegoating and assigning blame onto others for your own behavior, or the behavior of other adults, is a sign of immaturity. It is childish thinking. As men (and women) grow older, we are supposed to reach certain cognitive and emotional milestones of adulthood, one of which is realizing that we have agency and we are responsible for our own behavior.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)
One of the pitfalls of patriarchy is that some men never reach the cognitive and emotional milestone of adulthood, in which they realize that they have agency and are responsible for their own actions. On a bigger scale, it creates cultures in which women are made responsible for the thinking and behavior of men, and men do not have to take accountability for their actions. This is a sinful, unbiblical dynamic, and it shouldn’t be found or tolerated among professing Christians.
The obvious benefit of woman-blame is that men can shift the shame, blame, guilt, and responsibility for their behavior onto someone else. They don’t have to do any introspection, self-examination, or repent and reform. But the less obvious drawback is that men are emasculated (weakened) and kept in a cognitive and emotionally stagnated state of childish immaturity.
For all of their talk about “manhood” “masculinity” “accountability” and “men being leaders,” patriarchalists undermine all of these things through the sin of woman-blame.
Another thing that I notice. Patriarchalists are opposed to Marxist ideology, however, ironically, both patriarchalists and Marxists deny the spiritual truth that men have an individual self that is separate from their environment and blame the sinful thinking and behavior of men on their environment.
For Marxists, that environment is the influence and structures of Capitalism, Western imperialism, systemic racism, White supremacy, White patriarchy, right-wing ideology, and religion (Western Christianity specifically). For patriarchalists, that environment is the influence of women broadly, single mothers specifically, feminists and feminism (aka women’s rights, women’s empowerment, women’s equality, and women’s liberation), egalitarianism, and left-wing ideology.
Both Marxism and patriarchy contain glimmers of truth, but they also give a false diagnosis of the root cause of man’s thinking and behavior (their environment), and a false diagnosis leads to a false solution.
For patriarchy, the false solution is that both women and men need to conform to patriarchal gender roles, all children must be raised in nuclear families, and women need to subordinate themselves to men and adhere to patriarchal ideology in every aspect of life (the family unit, marriage, child-rearing, sex and reproduction, work, politics, etc.).
For Marxism, the false solution is radical revolution (using ideological subversion and violence) in order to dismantle entire structures and systems of oppression and inequality, establishing ideological conformity to Marxism, and suppressing opposing ideologies even if that means punishing, imprisoning, or killing individuals and entire categories of people who hold opposing ideas.
Marxism nor patriarchy (nor feminist theory for that matter) acknowledge the truth about sin and that human beings have an individual self that is separate from their environment. This individual self, as Scripture states, has a sinful condition, an unregenerate heart, a carnal mind, carnal desires which oppose the desires of the Holy Spirit, and is ultimately dead in sin and separated from God.
The truth about human beings is that we don’t need a sinful environment to cause us to think and behave sinfully or mistreat others. Although a sinful environment can exacerbate a person’s carnal thought-process and fleshly desires, the desire to do wrong is already within them…which is why Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’” (John 3:5-7)
Whether you are talking to a Marxist or a patriarchalist, you won’t hear them point to Jesus Christ and offer the solution that men need to believe the Gospel and be born from above, submit to God and obey Him, love one another, be transformed by the renewing of their mind, or walk in the Spirit and deny the lusts of their flesh.
Marxists will say that men need to dismantle structures and systems, and patriarchalists will say that women (and men) need to conform to patriarchal gender roles. Both groups will blame sinful thinking and behavior on external forces (environment), ignore the existence of the individual self, and negate the influence of a person’s own sinful condition.
Bringing this back to the discussion that I had with the professing Christian ‘minister,’ if the sinful thinking and behavior of ungodly Black husbands can be attributed to them being raised by single Black mothers (a false diagnosis), then the false solution is that we just need to rebuke single motherhood, disapprove of and devalue Black single mothers and Black female singleness (in order to shame Black women who are single, whether they have children or are child-free), and encourage Black women specifically, to conform to patriarchal standards of femininity and womanhood (in order to make themselves “more attractive” to Black men), and get married (and stay married) so that their sons and daughters are raised in two-parent nuclear families.
People who follow this warped line of reasoning are almost entirely ignoring that ungodly Black husbands have an individual self and are acting upon their own sinful thoughts and fleshly desires independent of how their mothers raised them (the fact that patriarchalists automatically take the position that Black mothers of ungodly Black men “raised them wrong” is another form of woman-blame, and would require a separate blog article).
If men loving their wives as Christ loves the ekklesia was solely contingent upon boys being raised in two-parent nuclear families, then there would have been no need for the apostles to instruct husbands (who were raised in two-parent nuclear families, in patriarchal cultures) to be subject to their wives out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21), to love their wives as Christ loves the ekklesia and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25), to love their wives as they do their own bodies (Ephesians 5:28), and to treat their wives with honor and understanding, as equal heirs of God’s gift of eternal life so that their prayers will not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).
Not to mention all of the passages of Scripture that warn against the sin of adultery, mistreating the wife of your youth, and instructing husbands to properly provide for their wives and not to neglect them. None of these Scriptures should have been necessary because they were all written to people who were raised up in two-parent nuclear families and patriarchal cultures.
Yet God saw it necessary to instruct men who were raised in two-parent nuclear families and patriarchal cultures to love, respect, provide for, and submit to their wives. Why? Because they were sinful and they needed to know God’s glorious standard for marriage.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
As for the statement, “are you uncovered like the majority of Black women?” The term “uncovered” in patriarchal ideology doesn’t mean the same thing that Scripture means when it uses the word “uncovered.”
In Scripture, the term “uncovered” has a number of meanings. It can mean to uncover someone’s nakedness (to expose nudity or the private parts of the body), to exile (captives being stripped), to reveal or publicize something, to tell something, or to make something clear or plain. Nowhere in Scripture are the Hebrew and Koine Greek terms translated as “uncovered” defined to mean “unmarried.”
So we see one of the problems of patriarchal ideology, more specifically, ‘Christian’ patriarchy, is that it uses terms from the Bible but ascribes non-Biblical meanings to these terms and then applies these terms to women and men in order to imply that they are inadequate, incomplete, in sin, or that there is something wrong with them.
In this situation, the professing Christian ‘minister’ is applying a patriarchal non-Biblical definition of “uncovered” to single Black women in order to imply that they are inferior, undesirable, “operating outside of God’s creation order,” and of lesser status and value because they are unmarried. However, he is the one who is operating outside of God’s order by applying a cult ideology to single Black women, and then claiming that Scripture governs his life, not the culture. His thought-process might not be governed by Progressive/left-wing sexual ethics and radical feminism. But it is very much governed by the pagan ideology of patriarchy and the Cult of True Womanhood/Domesticity of the 19th-century.
Back to the term “uncovered.” The professing Christian ‘minister’ said that the majority of Black women are “uncovered” meaning unmarried. However, recent data says that around 48% of Black women have never been married. 48% isn’t “the majority.” It’s just less than half (50%). Furthermore, recent data says that 52% of Black men have never been married. 52% is a larger number than 48%, which means that there are more marriage-age Black men who are “uncovered” (according to patriarchal ideology) than there are marriage-age Black women who are “uncovered.”
If there are more unmarried Black men than unmarried Black women, then why is there such an inordinate focus and obsessive fixation on single Black women, and all of the alleged reasons why “so many Black women are single”? It’s because of the ancient sin of woman-blame, as well as the influence of patriarchy, sexism, and misogynoir.
It’s easier to focus on “what is wrong with women,” how they can make themselves more attractive for men, how to be more marriageable, how to be better wives, how to be feminine, how to be more submissive, and “how to keep a man” than it is to shine the impartial light of Scripture on both parties in order to bring accountability, repentance, true reconciliation, healing, restoration, liberation and salvation. It’s easier to keep things the way they are and scapegoat, deflect, deny, and gaslight so that one doesn’t have to change.
The patriarchal ideology that a woman is “uncovered” if she is unmarried doesn’t come from Scripture. It comes from a cult leader named Bill Gothard. Bill Gothard is the founder of a ‘Christian’ patriarchy institution called “The Institute in Basic Life Principles.” He invented an unbiblical heretical concept called the “umbrella of protection.”
Taken from the official website for The Institute in Basic Life Principles, the umbrella of protection concept teaches: “God-given authorities can be considered “umbrellas of protection.” By honoring and submitting to authorities, you will receive the privileges of their protection, direction, and accountability. If you resist their instructions and move out from their jurisdictional care, you forfeit your place under their protection and face life’s challenges and temptations on your own.”
The IBLP website goes on to say that God is the ultimate and overarching umbrella of protection. Then there are additional umbrellas of protection beneath God’s umbrella, such as husbands and parents, church leaders, government leaders, and employers.
The obvious problem with the umbrella of protection concept is that if God is the ultimate umbrella of protection (which He is, according to Scripture), then you don’t need any additional umbrellas to cover you. To understand what I mean, let’s go along with Bill Gothard’s metaphor that spiritual protection is an umbrella.
God would be the largest umbrella covering your entire being. His umbrella of protection is omnipresent (ever-present, everywhere that you go), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and transcends time and space. If God is your umbrella, then do you really need another umbrella that is smaller, weaker, and spiritually-inferior?
If you are standing outside in the rain and you are protected from the elements by a large strong umbrella that can cover multiple people, do you also need smaller weaker umbrellas that would break and blow inside out by a strong wind? Of course not. If you’re already covered by the best umbrella in existence, then you don’t need additional umbrellas. So Gothard’s umbrella of protection concept falls flat. It fails the test of Scripture and logic.
Bill Gothard’s umbrella of protection concept is a variation of the “spiritual covering” heresy from the Shepherding/Discipleship movement of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Both concepts (the umbrella of protection and the spiritual covering doctrine) resulted in spiritual abuse, lack of mutual accountability for moral failures in leadership, subservience and subjugation (unbiblical submission), control and manipulation, and spiritual arrested development due to the micromanagement of leaders.
While I do believe that a husband is the head of his wife, married couples are to submit to one another, protect one another, pray for one another, give one another guidance and wisdom, and be accountable to one another–in no way, shape, or form does this elevate a husband to the same level as God as his wife’s covering.
According to the consistent teaching of Scripture throughout the Old and New Testament, the spiritual function and role of serving as a spiritual covering is reserved for God alone. God is sufficient as the spiritual covering of both women and men, single or married, and He does not need any additional help from husbands or religious leaders.
“Let me abide in your tent forever, find refuge under the shelter of your wings.” (Psalm 61:4)
Psalm 91 is too long to post here. But the entire chapter teaches that God is our spiritual covering.
“Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” (Psalm 32:1-2)
“I passed by you again and looked on you; you were at the age for love. I spread the edge of my cloak over you, and covered your nakedness: I pledged myself to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine.” (Ezekiel 16:8)
“then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.” (Isaiah 4:5-6)
“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:” (Isaiah 30:1)
“May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!” (Ruth 2:12)
“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 36:7)
There are many more Scriptures that teach God is our spiritual covering.
Any concept (the umbrella of protection or “spiritual covering”) that exalts a human being to the place of God over believers (woman, man, or child, single or married) is anti-Christ, blasphemous, and idolatry. It’s in violation of the first commandment which says, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2-3)
None of the responsibilities of a husband elevate him as the “spiritual covering” of his wife. Loving your wife as Christ loves the ekklesia, praying for her, providing for her, giving her guidance and wisdom, and protecting her doesn’t make you her “spiritual covering.” God is her spiritual covering if she is a believer.
Christian women who are single aren’t “uncovered,” and the very idea is insulting to single Christian women and irreverent towards God. Calling single Christian women “uncovered” ignores every passage of Scripture which says that God is the covering, refuge, shelter, and protection of His people. It’s a denial of Scripture and very sexist.
Directing this kind of pagan heresy at single Black women is what makes it misogynoir, and professing Christians who propagate such ideas, beliefs, and propaganda shouldn’t be in positions of leadership and need to be reproved so that they might be sound in the faith.