Pastor on Leave After Shaming Wives Who ‘Let Themselves Go,' Calling Melania Trump 'Epic Trophy'

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A pastor in southeast Missouri is on leave from his church after receiving widespread backlash for a sexist sermon he gave to congregants that "thanked God" for makeup and criticized married women who "let themselves go," according to the Associated Press.

Videos circulated on Facebook and Twitter show Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark delivering the sermon from a brightly lit stage at 1st General Baptist Church in Malden, Missouri. It's unclear when Clark originally delivered the sermon.

"Your man needs an attractive wife. Ladies, don't give him a reason to be like this distracted boyfriend," Clark says in the video. "You hear me? Don't give him a reason to be looking around."

He continues: "I really don't think women understand how important it is for a man to have a beautiful woman on his arm … it's really important to a man."

In the video, the crowd mostly remains silent through Clark's animated speech, which is only punctuated by the occasional clap or "Amen!"

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Clark also warns that women must "look good" if they want their husbands to remain faithful and happy in a relationship.

"Why is it so many times that women after they get married let themselves go?" he asks.

"I'm not saying every woman can be the epic, the epic trophy wife of all time, like Melania Trump," Clark says, adding, "Maybe you're a participation trophy."

He discouraged women from wearing sweatpants and flip-flops, adding: "That ain't going to work. Ain't nothing attractive about that."

The pastor also "thanked God" for makeup and advised women to consult their husbands on what looks good.

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"It's important that he thinks you're hot! It's important because he's going to look, and you want him looking at you," he says. "God made men to be drawn to beautiful women. We are made this way. We can't help ourselves."

Clark wrapped up his sermon by referencing a quote from the Corinthians.

"The wife has no longer all the rights over her body, but she shares them with her husband," he says.

"So," Clark adds, "whenever she's not in the mood, take out your Bible."

The 1st General Baptist Church posted a brief statement on its website in response to the incident.

"As of March 2, 2021, Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark has taken a leave of absence and is seeking professional counseling," it said.

The General Baptist Council of Associations, with which Clark's church is affiliated, shared their own statement on Facebook on March 1, saying that his sermon "included comments that are not consistent with the positions and values of General Baptists."

The statement added: "General Baptists believe that every woman was created in the image of God, and they should be valued for that reason."

Clark did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.