A Missouri-based Pastor has stepped down from his post after making inappropriate comments about former United States First Lady Melania Trump while suggesting women should adopt her as a role model.

Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark made a number of controversial and sexist comments in a 22-minute sermon to his congregation at First General Baptist Church in Malden last month. "I'm not saying every woman can be the epic trophy wife of all time like Melania Trump," he said as an image of the former FLOTUS appeared on a large screen behind him.

The Baptist pastor said that most women can't be trophy wives, but they can be a "participation trophy," and went on to dictate what he believes are the appropriate fashion choices for wives.

"Men have a need for their women to look like women. Sweatpants don't cut it all the time. Wearing flip flops and pajamas to Walmart – that ain't going to work. Ain't nothing attractive about that. It' ain't. And men want their wives to look good at home and in public, can I get an Amen!," Clark said in his sermon.

"Why is it so many times that women, after they get married, let themselves go?" he said at another point. Allen-Clark also made an apparent racist joke in his sermon asking: "If beautiful women from the south are called 'southern belles,' does that mean beautiful women from Mexico are called 'Taco Belles?'"

Parts of his address went viral on social media, with users criticising him for making derogatory and inappropriate comments at a religious sermon. "Good morning to everyone who does NOT look like Melania Trump and doesn't feel the need to look like her because some ja****s Missouri pastor said so," a user tweeted. Some also made a reference to Melania's former modelling career and the controversies during her husband Donald Trump's presidency.

General Baptist Ministries, which includes Allen Clark's church as well, slammed the minister's comments as "not consistent with the positions and values of General Baptists," who "believe that every woman was created in the image of God and they should be valued for that reason."

The statement that was put out by the General Baptist Ministries on Facebook also recommended the Council of Associations and the MoArk Presbytery to research Allen Clark's comments and take "appropriate action." It also announced that the pastor was supposed to be the moderator of the General Association of General Baptist meeting in July 2022 but has resigned from that position, while noting that the organisation does not have authority related to the employment of any pastor or church leader in a local congregation.

However, Allen-Clark himself took a leave of absence from the church afterwards and is now seeking "professional counselling," according to a statement posted on the church's website last Tuesday.

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Former US President Donald Trump and Former First Lady Melania Trump attended a ceremony commemorating the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. AFP / Brendan Smialowski