A Baptist preacher in the US state of Missouri is taking a long period off to reflect on the backlash he received after making comments about women and their looks in a viral video of a sermon he preached to his flock.
Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark has been sent on leave after he exhorted women to be more like former first lady Melania Trump and not let themselves go.
He also made racist and homophobic comments, according to the New York Daily News.
Clark was savaged on social media for the sermon, in which he gave advice to wives on how to stop their husbands becoming “distracted” by other women.
He told churchgoers that it is “really important” for men to have a beautiful woman on their arm, asking the crowd: “Why is it so many times that women, after they get married, let themselves go?”
Generously, he accepted that most women, try as they might, will never be able to fully match up to Melania.
“I’m not saying every woman can be the epic trophy wife of all time like Melania Trump,” he said as he stood in front of a giant image of her projected onto a large screen.
The goal, the pastor preached, is simply for women to please their husbands, especially in how they look.
He criticised women for wearing casual clothes, before turning his thoughts, unfortunately voiced aloud, to “weight control”, referring to one woman as “a sumo wrestler”.
“Don’t ever forget this, God made men to look at women and you want them to look at you – not some hottie out there or someone on a computer screen,” he is seen telling his parishioners, who receive his advice in unusual silence, without even an amen when he asked for one.
The pastor’s helpful marital advice then turns to make-up, hairstyles, fashion tips and sexual intimacy.
“Men have a need for their women to look like women. Sweatpants don’t cut it all the time,” said Clark, sporting an untucked button-down shirt. “Wearing flip-flops and pajamas to the mall – that ain’t going to work.”
A disgruntled woman posted the video online and thousands of people then weighed in, accusing Clark of sexism and misogyny.
The 55-year-old pastor’s church authorities told KCTV that the preacher is now on leave and in professional counselling.
Far from espousing Clark’s sentiments, the church backed women.
“Baptists believe that every woman was created in the image of God, and they should be valued for that reason,” the church said.