For Black Women, the Lord Is Their Strength and Religion Is An Every Day Experience

When Judy Mays needs to replenish her strength, when she must find a way to cope with life's challenges and rejoice in its blessings, when friends and family ask her for advice, support or help, she heads to one place.

To the Lord.

"My faith is the difference between living a God-destined life compared to just surviving," she said. "It makes me learn something about myself ... it further establishes me in who I am as a person. God has seen me through every situation in life and I know (God) will always be there. Without that faith ... I don't know."

Mays, an associate pastor at Union Missionary Baptist Church in Muncie, an historically black church in the city, identifies herself as a Christian, a Baptist, if you want to be more precise.

For her, religion is not a Sunday-only affair. It is not about getting dressed up and heading to the large building on Macedonia Avenue, although that fellowship is part of her celebration.

Religion is an every day experience for Mays. And she's not alone.

Black women reported as most religious group
Many Americans cope with their stresses and joys by relying on their faith. But black women have a different experience.

This summer, the Kaiser Family Foundation along with the Washington Post released its annual report on religion in America, describing black women in the nation as the most religious population.

Nearly 75 percent of black women said "living a religious life" -- however they defined this -- is very important to them, compared to 57 percent of white women.

Women across all racial and ethnic categories answered the question in higher numbers than men in the same racial or ethnic category, a pattern that has existed for decades.

During "tough times" -- daily stressful occurrences, life-threatening events, overwhelming experiences -- black women are more likely to rely on their faith to get through these periods.

Nearly nine out of 10 black women -- 87 percent -- said their faith was even more essential to them during times of turmoil.

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SOURCE: The Star Press
Ivy Farguheson
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