At what point is it acceptable for black pastors to call women “hoes?” during their Sunday sermons?

Today, in some black churches, there is an alarming trend of black ministers believing it’s appropriate to call women “hoes.” Last week, for example, Pastor Jamal Bryant took heavy criticism for his remarks from the pulpit, blurting out “these hoes ain’t loyal” during his sermon. Bryant used a clip from Chris Brown’s hit record “Loyal” to make a point about relationships.

“Every brother would you tap another brother and say I should have listened to her. God help me, all saints here forgive me but I gotta tell you these hoes ain’t loyal!” Bryant shouted.

The “hoes” Bryant was referring to were the women who cheated with unfaithful black men. Some black folks criticized Bryant for using “secular music” as an example in his sermon while others said Bryant should use examples from musicians like gospel duo Mary Mary. It seems lately that the word “hoes” has become an acceptable term in the black church – at least for some pastors.

Last month, I criticized Pastor Andy Thompson, founder of the World Overcomers Christian Church, in Durham, North Carolina, for referring to women as “hoes.” Thompson, an African-American pastor who was trying to shake up his congregation, allegedly in the name of Jesus, instructed married women in his flock to “shine it up” so their husbands will remain faithful instead of letting the “hoes” they encounter lure them away.

Here’s what Thompson tweeted to his 10,000 member congregation: “Ladies if you want to be the only woman your man looks at Shine It Up! Don’t let the hoes he comes across outshine you.”

How is using a derogatory term like “hoes” to characterize women a Christian message? And what does this say about how Thompson views black women – and women in general?  Pastor Leslie Callahan of St. Paul’s Baptist Church, told The Huffington Post that Bryant crossed the line.

“The issue for me is that when you take risks [in a sermon], two things are required,” Callahan says. “The first thing is the risk should be in service of some message…The second thing is when you take those risks you have to be open to the reality that what you’re trying to do might not actually work.”

I understand that black pastors are trying to shake up their congregations. Bryant and Thompson consider themselves New Age ministers who deliver shock-and-awe sermons to motivate their flocks on Sundays. I get that. But I won’t attend a church where the Senior Pastor disrespectfully refers to women as “hoes.”

There is no room in the church for that kind of language or that characterization of women. As I sat in church Sunday listening to my pastor deliver appropriate messages to the congregation, I reflected on a troubling trend: With all the words available in the English language, why do some young and over-the-top black pastors feel the need to use the word “hoes” to describe women – and in some cases black women?

Why use the word “hoes” at all? Why not just call them “women?”

What do you think?

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