“Best Person To Rape Is Your Wife,” Says Bronx Pastor

(RNS) – In a sermon on wife submission, the pastor of a New York Seventh-day Adventist church went on to suggest that husbands can rape their wives.

“I would tell you gentlemen that the best person to rape is your wife,” said Burnett Robinson, senior pastor of Grand Concourse Seventh-day Adventist, a church in the Bronx neighborhood.

The words of the pastor, captured in 1 minute and 21 seconds video clip, were apparently preached on November 13. They generated a Change.org petition calling for Robinson’s resignation. As of Monday (November 22), the petition had 355 signatures.

In his sermon, Robinson said, “In this matter of submission, I want you to know up front, ladies, that once you are married you are no longer your own. You belong to your husband. Do you understand what I’m saying? I insist on this because I saw in court the other day on television where a lady sued her husband for rape. And I would tell you gentlemen, the best person to rape is your wife. But then it became legalized.

Robinson was apparently preaching from a passage in the New Testament Letter to the Ephesians, in which the apostle Paul said, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as to the Lord.

The passage made headlines in 1998, when the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the country, amended its statement of faith to include a statement that a woman should “submit graciously” to the leadership of her. husband.

Issues of women, gender and sexuality divide much of the conservative evangelical movement, especially in light of the #MeToo movement, which has attempted to break the silence on sexual abuse and harassment.

In 2018, one of the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention came under heavy criticism after suggesting that women abused by their husbands should focus on prayer and not file for divorce. That leader, Paige Patterson, was later fired from his post as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, for allegedly lying and mistreating student rape complaints.

RELATED: The ‘Splainer: Paige Patterson and the SBC’s Position on Wife Submission

The Seventh-day Adventist denomination is much smaller, with approximately 1.2 million members in the United States and Canada and more abroad. It traces its origin to William Miller, who predicted that the world would end in the mid-1840s based on his reading of the Book of Daniel. When that didn’t happen, Miller’s supporters split into smaller groups, one of which eventually became the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Seventh-day Adventists are best known for keeping Saturday as their Sabbath.

Neither Robinson nor a spokesperson for the Seventh-day Adventist Church were available to return phone calls.

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