The Seventh-day Adventist Church announced it has parted ways with a pastor who controversially appeared to approve spousal rape during a sermon.
According to Religion News Service, Burnett Robinson, who was a senior pastor at New York City’s Grand Concourse Seventh-day Adventist Church, made those comments while delivering a sermon that focused on wives submitting to their husbands. A snippet of the November 13 sermon was shared on YouTube.
In the video in question, Robinson says, “In this matter of submission, I want you to know upfront, ladies, that once you get married, you are no longer your own. You are your husband’s. You understand what I’m saying? I emphasize that because I saw in court the other day on TV where a lady sued her husband for rape. And I would say to you, gentlemen, the best person to rape is your wife. But then it has become legalized.”
Robinson’s comments drew outrage, and a petition demanding his resignation was subsequently launched. Robinson was later placed on administrative leave, and his resignation was announced on November 24. Robinson had been a senior pastor at the church for nine years.
“The Greater New York Conference of Seventh-day Adventists recognizes many have been deeply harmed by the sentiments expressed by Robinson,” a statement said. “The views he expressed are wrong and not accepted by our church. Rape and sexual assault of women are crimes and should always be treated as such. We will continue to educate and counsel all pastors, seminary students, and staff to fully understand that this type of rhetoric is abhorrent and unequivocally unacceptable.”
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the conservative evangelical movement has reportedly come under scrutiny with regards to matters pertaining to women, gender, and sexuality. In 2018, a Southern Baptist Convention leader, Paige Patterson, was called out after he suggested wives who have been abused by their husbands should channel their energies on praying – not seeking a divorce, Religion News Service reported.
Patterson, who was then the president of Fort Worth’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was later fired after he was accused of lying about student rape complaints and not properly handling such cases.