A Missouri pastor is on leave after delivering a sermon telling women to lose weight and submit to the sexual desires of their husbands to keep them from straying.
Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark took a leave of absence Tuesday from First General Baptist in Malden after widespread criticism of his sexist sermon in late February. Besides weight loss and sex, Clark told wives to wear makeup, dress nicely, choose appropriate hairstyles and appear less “butch.”
Although the church in southeastern Missouri deleted videos from its website, a recording of the sermon appears on Facebook.
“Now look, I’m not saying every woman can be the epic — the epic – trophy wife of all time like Melania Trump. I’m not saying that at all. Most women can’t be trophy wives, but you know ... maybe you’re a participation trophy,” Clark said as a photo of the former first lady appeared on screen. “I don’t know, but all I can say is not everybody looks like that. Amen! Not everybody looks like that. But you don’t need to look like a butch either.”
First General Baptist is a church in the General Baptist denomination, which released a statement Monday saying Clark’s sermon was “not consistent with the positions and values” of the organization.
“General Baptists believe that every woman was created in the image of God, and they should be valued for that reason,” General Baptist Ministries posted on Facebook. “Furthermore, we believe that all individuals regardless of any other factors are so loved by God that Christ died for them.”
Reagan Williams, who posted a video of the sermon, blasted Clark’s message in a Facebook post.
“He goes on to blame women for the actions of men and says it is of God and it should be accepted as normal,” Williams posted. “Instead of teaching men and boys to take accountability for their actions and control themselves, he degrades women, victim blames, and points the finger at their mere existence. He fails to use Bible verses to back up his nonsense.”
Clark includes one Bible verse in the sermon — which he told husbands in the congregation to display on the headboard of their beds.
“The wife has no longer all the rights over her body, but shares them with her husband,” he said, quoting the verse. “So whenever she’s not in the mood, dig out your Bible.”
Clark only briefly mentioned the second part of the verse, which says “in the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.”
According to Clark’s church, he’s now “seeking professional counseling.”
Here are a few more quotes from Clark’s sermon:
• “Why is it so many times that women after they get married let themselves go? Why is that? Why do they do that?
• “Men have a need for their women to look like women. Sweatpants don’t cut it all the time. Wearing flip flops and pajamas to Walmart – that ain’t going to work. Ain’t nothing attractive about that. It’ ain’t. And men want their wives to look good at home and in public, can I get an Amen!”
• “Ladies, it’s the way God made us. It’s the way we are. Men are going to look. He made us to look. You want them to be looking at you. Don’t let yourself go.”
• “Let me tell you something. I have a friend. He has put a ‘divorce weight’ on his wife. That’s how important this is.”
• “Listen ladies, we are not lust monsters. We’re not that lust monster that chases you around the bed every night. We can’t help ourselves. God made us this way. He made us this way. Listen can I just tell you this? This may never pass your mind when you’re saying ‘I do,’ but I’m going to tell you it does his. It’s the main reason he married you.”