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Mo Ivory: Churches – Please Don’t Turn Your Back On Single Moms

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(Credit: Sonia Murray/CBS Local)

(Credit: Sonia Murray/CBS Local)

Mo Ivory
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Pastor Marvin Winans (of the famous Winans Family) is the head of Perfecting Church in Detroit, Michigan.

Charity Grace is a single mom living in Detroit and attends Perfecting Church. Her son Joshua, is two-years-old.

She wants to have Joshua blessed in the church so that she can instill values and morals in him based on God’s word. And Pastor Winans – who also eulogized Whitney Houston – has refused to allow Joshua to participate in the special blessing.

His policy is that he does not bless children of unwed mothers in front of his congregation.

So should Charity bring Joshua to church one evening alone and have him blessed in a secret office location?

Single motherhood is very common in the United States and frankly, part of the norm. In 2012, out of 12.2 million single-parent families, more than 80% were headed by single mothers – including mine.

Single mothers are no different than any other special-interest group like LGBT, immigrants or minorities and require laws that support their needs, local community services, guidance and protection in their neighborhoods and church homes.

Charity Grace and Joshua deserve that support and guidance from Pastor Marvin Winans, not the discrimination and judgment that comes with denying her the right to have her son blessed before the congregation.

Pastor Winans has refused to comment on the matter.

This bothers me – on several levels.

A child should never be punished for the actions or life circumstances of its mother or father. If a mother is on drugs, should their child be banned from going to school? Should they be excluded from after-school activities that other children of married parents participate in?

Of course not.

In fact, many times these children are given special attention, offered economic and social services to make sure they are getting what their inept parent(s) are not providing.

I am not saying it always turns out well; but these are the very children that need more of a “village” upbringing.

Where do you most frequently find the “village” in the black community?

At church. A place where single moms can go and join a support group, be specifically prayed over and join the singles ministry in hopes of finding a righteous man for a husband.

Church is a place where she can feel safe that her children are learning the word of God and being taught to live in a respectable manner.

Should this be the place where the head of the church judges a mother for not having a husband?

If the Pope of the Catholic Church – modern Pope that he is – can be flexible in his thoughts about unwed mothers, then I believe it is time for all church leaders to evaluate their application of the word of God and the policies they are living by in their community pulpits.

- Mo Ivory, CBS Local

What do you think?

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