Yesterday, I posted clips from a disturbing recent sermon delivered by Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark of First General Baptist Church in Malden, Missouri.
Clark said, among other things, that women needed to lose weight to prevent their husbands from straying, that they should emulate Melania Trump, that women “don’t need to look like a butch,” and that a friend of his “has put a ‘divorce weight’ on his wife.”
A lot of things have happened in the past 24 hours.
- First General Baptist Church has taken down its Facebook page.
- Clark has also taken down his Facebook page.
- The church took down its video archives on YouTube and Vimeo.
- The church’s contact page has been removed.
- General Baptist Ministries, the umbrella organization overseeing this church, issued a statement saying the Council of Associations and the MoArk Presbytery will “research the statements and take appropriate action.” (What’s there to research? Who knows.) They added that Clark, who was scheduled to moderate the General Association of General Baptist meeting in July of 2022, won’t be doing that anymore. I’m including a screenshot below because these cowards delete everything.
- Newsweek has published a piece about the controversy, generating even more backlash against this Christian message of misogyny.
Not every sermon of Clark’s has been removed though. For example, here’s another one making the rounds, allegedly from Mother’s Day, 2019, though I can’t verify that because the church’s archives have temporarily disappeared.
In that video, Clark takes the cringe to new levels:
- He says he’d love to be a “hot” woman and “arm candy.”
- He “jokes” about how, if beautiful Southern women are called “Southern Belles,” then beautiful Mexican women must be “Taco Bells.”
- He says that “physical beauty is within the reach of every woman.” (His description of physical beauty, as we all know by now, is extremely narrow.) That comment is followed by an picture of the backside of a woman he implies is unattractive.
- He points to a graphic saying that women “should not look like butch” [sic].
- He offers a beauty tip to women: Look more feminine.
- He tells women to stop cutting their hair shorter.
In a separate clip at the beginning of that sermon, Clark walks on stage in high heels, explaining that he’s doing it in the “spirit of trying to identify as a woman.” Because right-wing bigots only know one joke.
All of that is to say this guy’s been doing the same schtick for years. It wasn’t a one-off mistake. It’s his whole thing. Everyone who remains a part of his church is just as guilty of perpetuating this kind of sexist rhetoric as he is. And if General Baptist Ministries isn’t going to pressure the church to get rid of him — which you know they have the means to do if they wanted to — then we should safely assume every Christian there shares his disgusting beliefs as well.