A Missouri pastor has taken a leave of absence after delivering a sermon that urged wives to lose weight and be more attractive.
Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark of First General Baptist in Malden, Mo., preached the sermon Feb. 21, telling the congregation that too many women “let themselves go” after they get married. At one point during the sermon, a photo of Melania Trump appeared on a screen as he said, “Most women can’t be trophy wives, but you know ... maybe you’re a participation trophy.”
A statement on the church’s website says Clark has “taken a leave of absence and is seeking professional counseling.”
The church is associated with the General Association of General Baptists. The Executive Committee of the General Baptist Council of Associations released a statement saying the sermon “included comments that are not consistent with the positions and values of General Baptists.” Clark was scheduled to be moderator of the General Association of General Baptist meeting in July 2022. He resigned from that position.
“General Baptists believe that every woman was created in the image of God, and they should be valued for that reason,” the Executive Committee statement said. “Furthermore, we believe that all individuals regardless of any other factors are so loved by God that Christ died for them. Each General Baptist church has autonomy from the national organization, and as a result General Baptist Ministries does not have authority related to the employment of any pastor or church leader in a local congregation.”
Clark told the congregation, “Your man needs an attractive wife.” He made a joke about a hockey player as saying, “I married a trophy wife but now she looks like the Stanley Cup.”
With a photo on the screen of a young man looking at another woman, Clark said, “Don’t give him a reason to be like this distracted boyfriend. … Don’t give him a reason to be looking around.”
“I really don’t believe women understand how visual men are,” he said. “… To him, you should be the most beautiful woman in the room.”
Clark asked: “Why is it so many times that women after they get married let themselves go? Why is that? Why do they do that?”
Clark further encouraged wives to wear makeup and have a hairstyle and wear clothes their husbands like.
“Men have a need for their women to look like women,” Clark said. “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.”
One key to maintaining a husband’s attention, he said, is “weight control.”
Clark also said, “I have a friend. He has put a ‘divorce weight’ on his wife. That’s how important this is. … Men want their wives to look good.”
“Men are going to look. He [God] made us to look,” Clark told women. “You want him to be looking at you.”
Clark also urged wives to tend to what’s in their heart. Referencing Proverbs 31:30, he said, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is greatly to be praised. … Make sure you have something in here, in your heart.”
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Ben White
Video courtesy: Reagan Williams
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.