NSS refers Christian charity to regulator over misogyny

Posted: Thu, 27th Oct 2022

Pastor Donald Clough

A Christian charity is under investigation after the National Secular Society reported it for a sermon saying housework is the "primary function" of women.

The NSS raised concerns with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) after it found a sermon which said a woman's role is to cook and clean.

The sermon, entitled "The Conduct of Christian Women", was published on the website of Moray Coast Baptist Church, which registered as a charity in August.

It was delivered by Pastor Donald Clough (pictured), originally an assistant pastor at the New Testament Baptist Church in Minnesota, USA.

Moray Coast Baptist Church is registered under the charitable purpose of "the advancement of religion" and says its object is to "proclaim and propagate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Baptist faith through the ministry and through a program of Christian education". It believes that "the Bible is the inspired Word of God" and "that it is without error and will never lead us astray".

The church holds a Sunday School, run by Donald's wife Tabitha, for children aged 4-10 to "learn valuable life lessons from the Holy Bible".

Pastor Clough: "Society would be a lot better if women would submit to their husbands"

In the sermon, dated October last year, Pastor Clough said "it's not fitting or proper for a woman to exercise authority over men" because the Bible says man was created first and women were created "to be a helper for man".

He said: "As a woman, your role in the home is to submit to the authority and leadership of your husband, and to bring up godly children.

"And in the church your role is to submit to your pastor and the leadership of the men in the church".

He also said women "tend to be a little more easily deceived than men" in spiritual matters but that they save themselves "by focusing on the role that God has given to them".

He said the "primary function" of a woman is "to be married, to have children, and to tend to household affairs – the cooking, the cleaning, the washing up, the preparing of meals".

He added that today women "have a very different focus than what God intended", because many are "very career-minded".

He said: "Society would be a lot better if women would submit to their husbands and tend to their children and take care of their home.

"The world wouldn't be in the mess that it is in today if that were the case."

'I only want my wife to look sensual when she's around me'

Clough said men "tend to struggle" with "seeing a woman and having a desire for her", but that women can "greatly help" by "not dressing in an immodest or a sensual way".

He gave the example of his own wife, saying: "I wouldn't want my wife going around looking like something the cat dragged in, as they say, or like she was wearing a sack or something like that, I want her to look nice. And I want other people to see how nice she looks.

"But I don't want her to look sensual, only when she's around me, but I don't want her looking that way around other people and I don't want her drawing attention to herself in a sensual way.

"And I don't want her looking ugly but I don't want her being extravagant to the point of excess."

"Far too many women are controlled by their emotions"

Clough said a woman shouldn't be "forward, or flirtatious, or attention-seeking", adding: "I think we've all known women that behave themselves that way."

He said "far too many women are controlled by their emotions" and that God wants women to have "meek and quiet spirit" and "a humble and submissive disposition".

Concluding his sermon, Clough said that a woman "usually gets upset by hearing these things" when she is "not spiritually mature enough to accept them".

NSS: Sermon is "a masterclass in misogyny"

OSCR has confirmed the charity is "being examined".

OSCR guidance says registered charities "must actively provide benefit". Furthermore, an organisation may fail the charity test if it causes "actual or likely detriment or harm".

But in June OSCR failed to intervene on another Christian charity which promoted anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and homophobia on Facebook because the views expressed by the charity "are in accordance with their religious beliefs".

NSS head of campaigns Megan Manson called the sermon "a masterclass in misogyny".

She said: "It's shocking to think these sexist, patriarchal attitudes still exist in Scotland.

"It's even more shocking to think that a leader in a registered charity which runs a children's Sunday School would promote the subjugation of women.

"In return for generous tax breaks, charities are meant to provide a public benefit and not cause likely detriment or harm. Promoting female subordination clearly doesn't benefit the public – it merely fuels the misogyny underpinning discrimination, abuse and coercive control of women that the Scottish government says it is committed to ending.

"Unfortunately, OSCR's hands may be tied, as it appears unwilling to act against charities promoting harmful ideas as long as those ideas are religious.

"If 'the advancement of religion' charitable purpose enables charities to promote misogyny with impunity, it must be removed from the register of charitable purposes."

Image: Moray Coast Baptist Church website (cropped)

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Tags: Charity