American pastor Stewart-Allen Clark based in Missouri has taken a leave of absence from his church, after sparking outrage over his suggestion that women look trim like former US First Lady Melania Trump.
Clark is now seeking “professional counselling,” according to local station KCTV.
Clark, of the Malden First General Baptist Church, sparked outrage following a sermon he gave that many are calling sexist and misogynistic, reports thehill.com
He said in his Sunday sermon that women should look to maintain their figures and lose weight in order to keep their husband’s attention.
He also used a photo of Melania Trump as an example of what women should aspire to.
“Now look, I’m not saying every woman can be the epic, epic trophy wife of all time like Melania Trump. I’m not saying that at all,” Clark said as a photo of Trump was displayed on screen.
“Most women can’t be trophy wives, but you know, maybe you’re a participation trophy. 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.”
Clark also implored the congregation to understand that a man needs to have a beautiful wife at his side.
“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,” Clark said.
One of the outraged members of the church later shared a video of the sermon to Facebook with the caption: “On this lovely Sunday morning I spent my time getting ready listening to a head pastor in Malden who so nonchalantly decided to exercise pastoral abuse towards women.”
“He fails to use Bible verses to back up his nonsense,” she wrote. “He objectifies women, antagonizes them, and practices sexism, all while acting like it’s hip or cool.”
Williams’s post garnered 3,000 comments with many condemning the sermon as offensive and inappropriate.
General Baptist Ministries responded to the criticism in a Facebook post.
“General Baptists believe that every woman was created in the image of God, and they should be valued for that reason. Furthermore, we believe that all individuals regardless of any other factors are so loved by God that Christ died for them,” the post read.
The post also noted that Clark has stepped down from his position as a moderator for an upcoming meeting for the General Association of General Baptist.