The Black Church and Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Faith and religion has been at the forefront of many of the world’s and our nation’s social movements. From Catholics employing Liberation Theology in Latin America to the work of Christians addressing the underlying causes of hunger and poverty, the role of religion in the lives of individuals cannot be questioned. Nowhere is this truer than as it relates to role of the varied denominations commonly referred to as the Black Church in the lives and social movements of African Americans.
The National Campaign recognizes this and in February partnered with Values Partnerships to host a powerful discussion on the Black Church and teen and unplanned pregnancy. Leading African American clergy and lay leaders from around the country and from different denominations shared their insights about these topics from their perspectives.
For three hours the Campaign’s conference room was crammed full of engaging, lively, and frank conversation about the role of Black church leaders in dealing with complicated issues related to teen and unplanned pregnancy. Participants discussed how these issues intersect with churches and local communities and how to best equip churches with the tools they need to work towards healthy outcomes for families and children.
There were a number of important messages from the day, and many more to be explored in the future. But the key message was that there is a role for the Black Church and clergy to engage in these topics. While there is much work to be done, here is just a bit of what they shared with us.
- Strong Families: The Black Church has been at the vanguard of promoting strong family life, and teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention should be framed as such.
- Trusted Messengers: Even if the teens and young adults we ultimately need to reach are not in the church, their mothers, grandmothers, and trusted messengers are. We need to develop messages to reach them.
- Forgiveness: We need to make grace and mercy real for teens and young adults.
- Safe Space: The church should be a safe space for conversations about teen and unplanned pregnancy.
Over the next few months, The National Campaign will continue to work with these leaders to develop resources which take into account the uniqueness of the role of the church in the lives of African Americans to address teen and unplanned pregnancy. In the meantime, we invite you to visit the Religion and Values page on our website for resources focused on faith communities.