Family and Church Essay

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Family and Church: Enduring Institutions I.     General Family Life As a result of myths of white family life, there has been much confusion over the nature of black families. One of the myths of the nineteenth century entails the close- knit white family, which was parallel to that of the European family. Also, as a result of these myths, scholars often ignored the differences of American and European life. For example, women in frontier areas had a much stronger voice in family affairs than most scholars realized, simply because of the shortage of women. Therefore, women exercised a large percentage of authority in the family. In the cities where family was of little importance as an economic unit and the…show more content…
American societies generally forbade extramarital sex yet regarded sexual intercourse as a healthy, natural act unconnected with sin. The enslavement of the African resulted in the evolution of new family practices. Men were forced to share authority with women and parents no longer completely shaped the destiny of their children. II.     White Church Support for the Slave Family The slave family received its primary institutional support from southern white churches. In some sermons prepared only for slaves, ministers stressed biblical prohibitions against premarital sexual intercourse, adultery, fornication and the separation of mates.      Southern clergymen considered the family second only to the church as a force that insured morality abandoned attempts to abolish slavery in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Clergymen were forced to determine the relationship between bondage, marriage, property, and Christianity.      Due to their concern with morality, the churches began in the 1740’s to insist that the slaves be married in Christian ceremonies. Many denominations required ministers to perform slave weddings. The churches frequently investigated charges of adultery and fornication and tried to promote the development of Christian family practices in the
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