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Sussex pastor condemning “breasties” on Facebook sparks backlash

Above watch: Reverend Philip Hutchings is facing criticism after posting a message to Facebook condemning women who show cleavage in selfies as insecure. Alex Abdelwahab reports.

SUSSEX, N.B. – A pastor in Sussex is facing a tide of backlash after he wrote a Facebook post condemning women who take photos of themselves and include their cleavage.

“Dear Insecure Women, please stop conveniently including your chest in your selfies,” Rev. Philip Hutchings wrote. “Don’t need your weird aerial views. We’re 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.”

Hutchings added that he was against “breasties”, which he called “selfies” with breasts and said “Please share. Let’s save lives.”

Rev. Philip Hutchings is the founder and lead pastor of Higher Life Christian Centre in Sussex.

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Aaron Stapleford was angered by the post, so in protest, she convinced her colleagues at Oceans of Ink tattoo, Jesse-Lynn Jenkins and Kathy Jenkins, to take a group selfie.

They took one with their breasts in it, in front of the pastor’s Main Street church.

“I have a daughter and I want her to grow up loving her body and being proud of her body,” Stapleford told Global News.

“He’s not talking about overly provocative shots here,” she said. “He’s talking about your run-of-the-mill taking your picture up here and having your chest in it.”

“In my opinion, when you’re teaching or spreading the word of God, or of Jesus, the message should be love,” Jesse-Lynn said.

Jesse-Lynn said since they posted the “breastie” on Facebook, they received calls and messages of support.

Kathy said the picture in front of the church was her first-ever selfie, but she felt it was important to support her daughter, Jesse-Lynn, and her colleague.

“I just feel that you know, he was pointing out maybe some of these girls had insecurities,” she said. “I think maybe he has a lot of insecurities, as we all do. Maybe he could benefit a little bit from our love and acceptance, if he was willing to listen to it.”

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The three women say they weren’t trying to shame the pastor, but didn’t think his post was appropriate.

Rev. Hutchings has since taken it down. He is currently out-of-town and did not return several calls for comment. No one at the church wished to speak on his behalf Thursday.

He had previously told Sussex newspaper, the Kings County Record, that the post was meant as sarcastic humour and he’s learned that in life “haters hate.”

His Facebook page does include other controversial statements, such as one he wrote in February that said “Marriage 101: Dear Married Couples, if you use the sex act as a bargaining chip, that makes you a prostitute.”

As for the three women, they say they would be happy to speak with the pastor about their issue if he was willing.

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