#againstbreasties Facebook rant by Sussex preacher sparks #breastiesstrong campaign

Women who were offended by a New Brunswick preacher's rant against taking selfies with too much chest, are fighting back with #breastiesstrong campaign.

Pastor Philip Hutchings has removed post that offended some women

Jesse-Lynn Jenkins says Pastor Philip Hutchings about women who post selfies showing their chests were hurtful and disappointing. (CBC)

A preacher in New Brunswick has taken down a Facebook rant that called on "insecure women" to stop showing their chests in selfies, but not before his message caused much offence.

"Dear insecure women … please stop conveniently including your chest in your selfies," wrote Pastor Philip Hutchings, founder of the Higher Life Christian Centre in Sussex.

"Don't need your weird aerial views. We are embarrassed for you ... no ... really ... we are.

"I know you're trying to make up for other losses ... but let's be honest ... the whole pic is a loss. #AgainstBreasties (Breast + Selfies) Please share ... let's save lives!"

Jesse-Lynn Jenkins says the words were hurtful and disappointing, coming from a person who presents himself as a community leader. 

"There's a way to inspire people and help people," said Jenkins. "And if shame and guilt is in that, it's just not productive. It's the opposite of what Jesus was trying to teach."

At the church's storefront on Main Street on Friday, Associate Pastor Cody Butler said Hutchings was out of the country and noone else inside the church could comment in his place.

Mixed reactions in community

Out on the sidewalk, Mary Thompson introduced herself as a member of the congregation who wanted to come to Hutchings' defence.

She said her pastor has a point about showing too much skin.

"If it's okay for cleavage to be put all over Facebook, then what's it going to be like in 10 years?" asked the mother of three young children.

"Are my boys not going to be able to go on Facebook without seeing full breasts or full butt shots?"

Thompson said Hutchings might have got the tone wrong, causing him to be misunderstood. 

But some, like Ainslie McAllisster, say Hutchings has posted hurtful messages before.

McAllister saved screenshots of previous postings that caused discomfort to her and her friends.

Bodies are beautiful

One was a link to rightwingnews.com, a sight that features columnists such as Anne Coulter and David Limbaugh, brother of American radio commentator Rush Limbaugh.

Hutchings had linked to an article there, entitled "I am not going to your gay wedding."

In another posting, Hutchings wrote: "Is it just me ... or is it going to be against the law to be 'straight' soon.  #WhosReallyGettingBullied?"

McAllister says the postings make her angry.

But in the case of the cleavage sermon, she and her friends decided to push back with humour.

They came up with the hashtag #breastiesstrong and encouraged people to send in photos showing some chest.

McAllister, a fitness teacher, says bodies are beautiful and if people feel good about the pictures they put on social media, others shouldn't judge.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.