Church Leader Body-Shames 19-Year-Old Girl: “Fat Girls Don’t Wear Shorts” July 3, 2019

Church Leader Body-Shames 19-Year-Old Girl: “Fat Girls Don’t Wear Shorts”

A 19-year-old member of the choir at Swansboro United Methodist Church in North Carolina was fat-shamed by a church leader who told her she shouldn’t be wearing jean shorts with her body.

Over the weekend, the singer, Jenna, went into the church’s bathroom to check her phone because a family member was in the hospital. She was confronted by Bonnie Sue Bihary, who immediately began to shame her by talking about how another “chubby” girl in the church wears an appropriate dress that comes to her knees, and why aren’t you doing that?

Jenna got it all on video:

“So you’re sitting here calling me fat?” Jenna asked her off camera, her voice thick with tears.

The woman put her hands on her hips and asked her: “Oh. You don’t think you are?”

“No,” Jenna responded. “Because I f***ing love who I am. Get the f*** out of my face.”

“I don’t have to,” the woman said, before pointing a finger at her. “And don’t swear at me like that again,” before going on to demand, “Don’t come back on that stage with those shorts. I’m warning you.”

Christianity: Where swearing is a no-no, but body-shaming gets a thumbs-up from Jesus.

Bihary isn’t on the church’s staff, but she is a volunteer who frequently represents the church at various Methodist conferences. Since the video went viral, the church has released multiple statements from Pastor G. Kevin Baker — who just took over as senior pastor over the weekend — including one that says Bihary will no longer be representing the church at conferences nor will she be allowed to have any leadership role in the church’s committees.

To her credit, Jenna posted a video (that the church has reposted on its Facebook page) urging people not to harass Bihary even if what she did was wrong.

With the exception of Bihary, everyone seems to be handling this as well as anyone could expect. The church took swift action, Jenna has been outspoken in all the right ways, and Bihary hasn’t said anything at all. An apology from her would be nice, though silence comes in a close second.

The whole ordeal is a reminder that women are constantly judged in churches for what they wear or what they do, and not nearly enough on what they believe. You would think only that last one matters.

(Thanks to Nicholas for the link)

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