Pastor apologizes for ‘sinful comment’ he made in sermon about women’s attire and rape

News & Politics

A North Carolina pastor apologized after he was lambasted over comments he made about women’s attire and rape.

Pastor Bobby Leonard made the comments in a sermon from the pulpit at Bible Baptist Tabernacle in Monroe. Leonard was lamenting that far more women at Pigeon Forge, a vacation spot in Tennessee, wore shorts than those who wore dresses and pants.

“You know I used to say this. I haven’t said this [in a] long time, you ready? I said if you dress like that and you get raped and I’m on the jury, he’s gonna go free,” Leonard said in the comments originally from August.

“I can’t help if you don’t like it. I’m right. A man’s a man,” he added.

A video of the comment was posted to Instagram and eventually made headlines after garnering millions of views on social media. Many people reacted with anger and fury against the pastor’s comments.

“Yes, a man is a man–not an animal. And HE is responsible for controlling himself. This pastor needs to resign,” responded Christian investigative reporter Julie Roys.

One man organized a protest outside of the church during their service on Wednesday.

“We don’t let people stand around in Union County in the pulpits and say something like this. That is wrong,” said Jason King. ”You can’t stand there and teach the word of God and claim that you believe it’s OK for people to go around raping people for what they wear.”

On Thursday, the pastor left a statement of apology on the church message board.

“I am sorry for any hurt, I was wrong,” read the sign along with the pastor’s name.

He elaborated in a longer statement obtained by WJZY-TV.

“I am only beginning to understand the hurt and offense caused, and I take full responsibility for my words,” Leonard wrote.

“As a pastor, I failed to uphold the biblical values of love and compassion. I apologize for the pain caused and commit to learning from making this foolish and sinful statement.”

Leonard has been the pastor of the Bible Baptist Tabernacle church for 40 years, according to the church’s website. The church shut down its social media accounts after the controversy.

Here’s more about the controversial comment:

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