Stewart-Allen Clark, a Baptist pastor in Missouri, went viral in recent days because of a sermon he gave in February in which he lectured married women about not “letting themselves go.” In the sermon, he advised women not to give their husbands a “reason to look around,” and encouraged more women to be like “the most epic trophy wife of all time, Melania Trump.”
“Most women can’t be trophy wives, but you know … maybe you’re a participation trophy.”
“Ladies, it’s the way God made us. It’s the way we are. Men are going to look. He made us to look. We can’t help ourselves. We are like that. That’s how God made us.”
The Melania Trump call-out is getting all the attention, but that obscures all the fat-shaming. Here is a good summation of some of the other moments in that sermon from the Kansas City Star:
They laughed when he explained the difference between a wife and a girlfriend. (“About 60 pounds.”) And seemed delighted when he mocked a photo of an older woman in a bandeau. (“Not a man under 99” finds her attractive in such skimpy attire, he said.)
The story about that time he’d been counseling a skinny man and his wife who “looked like a sumo wrestler,” was a hit with his congregation, too.
“I’m trying to keep a straight face,” he said, while asking what the trouble in the bedroom seemed to be. “He said, ‘because she’s a fat beep,’” and she “came over the table and started beating the crap out of him.”
You can watch a segment of the sermon here, although I would not advise it. I will, however, remind you that Stewart-Allen Clark — whose own weight we will leave out of his discussion notwithstanding the hypocrisy — is a man of God.
Pastor Stewart Allen-Clark tells congregation that women need to work harder to look good for men. “I’m not saying every woman can be the epic trophy wife of all time like Melania Trump. Most women can’t be trophy wives, but you know … maybe you’re a participation trophy.” pic.twitter.com/5GfyqIeQZw— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) March 6, 2021
“You don’t need to look like a butch,” the pastor concluded.
The sermon is not that dissimilar to the sermons occasionally devoted to the same topic that I sometimes heard in Baptist churches growing up. Sermons like these condition some Christian women to believe that, if their husband cheats, they are in part to blame. It’s a form of religious gaslighting, and if you don’t think it’s effective, look no further than Anna Duggar, who blamed herself for her husband Josh Duggar’s frequent infidelities.
The Duggars live not so far from where this Baptist pastor preaches, and I also recall Michelle Duggar reinforcing a line often heard in church growing up, about how women should say “yes” to sex whenever their husbands ask for it. It comes from the same line of thinking pushed by our former President, who believed that husbands could not legally rape their wives. It’s religious institutions like the one that Stewart-Allen Clark belongs to that continue to push these narratives — this guy is not a rando, tent preacher, either. He moderated a discussion in last summer’s General Association of General Baptists.
Were it not for one person who caught the sermon and posted it to Facebook, it’s likely that Stewart-Allen Clark — who says he’s been giving this same sermon for years — would’ve continued giving it. However, after it went viral, the pastor was pressured to take a leave of absence so that he could seek counseling. Anna Duggar, meanwhile, is still married to Josh, despite the fact that he molested 5 women and cheated on her repeatedly using two Ashley Madison accounts. They had their sixth child in 2019.
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