Pastor Who Called on Husbands to Rape Their Wives Is Placed on Leave
(RNS) — The pastor of a New York City Seventh-
day Adventist church who said in a sermon earlier
this month that husbands may rape their wives
has been placed on administrative leave.
Burnett Robinson, senior pastor of Grand
Concourse Seventh-day Adventist, a church
located in the Bronx borough, was preaching on
Nov. 13 about wives submitting to their
husbands’ leadership, when he said, “Gentlemen,
the best person to rape is your wife.”
Now the Greater New York Conference of the
Seventh-day Adventist Church said it has placed
Robinson on administrative leave.
“Pastor Robinson deeply regrets the statement
and knows it caused injury and has given an
unqualified apology,” a statement from the New
York Conference said.
In addition, the North American Division of the
Seventh-day Adventist Church issued a statement
saying: “We wholeheartedly condemn any form of
behavior or rhetoric that perpetrates any type of
violence against women — or any person. This is
not what the Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has 1.2 million
members in the U.S. 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 failed to occur, Miller’s
followers split into smaller groups, one of which
eventually became the Seventh-day Adventist
Seventh-day Adventists are best known for
observing Saturday as their Sabbath.
In his Saturday sermon, a short portion of which is
captured in a YouTube video, Robinson appears
to be preaching from a passage from the New
Testament’s Letter to the Ephesians, in which the
Apostle Paul says, “Wives, submit to your own
husbands, as to the Lord.”
In his sermon, 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.”
Issues of women and gender and sexuality
continue to trouble segments of the conservative
evangelical movement, especially in light of the Me too movement, which attempted to break the
silence on sexual abuse and harassment.
A Change.org petition calling for Robinson’s
resignation had more than 1,200 signatures as of
midday Tuesday (Nov. 23).
Efforts to reach Robinson for comment were
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