Two women had won the raffle for a fishing trip but the guest pastor said they couldn't go and settled for the first man's name out.
A woman who won a raffle to go on a fishing trip had her ticket cancelled by a pastor at Bethel Baptist Church for the fear of “sexual scandals and accusations” that may arise. Emmy Smaniotto, a woman from Fayette County, was told that having her go on a fishing trip would "bring a multitude of problems." Smaniotto had won the raffle at a "men-only fishing trip," which she thought was a crude joke until her name was pulled out of the fishing-trip bag. The guest pastor discarded her name because she was a woman and that's when she realized those were the actual rules. The Bethel Baptist Church was holding a men-only trip and asked the women to stay at home.
Smaniotto, who loves the outdoors and fishing, threw in a couple of $10 tickets into various raffle bags. For Smaniotto, the wild-game dinner at Bethel Baptist Church in Uniontown was a tradition with her father. “The guest pastor had mentioned that there would be guys-only fishing trips to take a chance on winning stating ‘make sure you leave those wives at home.’ Ok I thought — is this a joke or?” wrote Smaniotto in a Facebook post, that isn't visible anymore. It has been either deleted or restricted.
Smaniotto said she dropped her name in the raffle bags after seeing another woman do it as well. The first name pulled out was that of the other woman, which was cast aside before they pulled another ticket with Smaniotto's name on it. Her name was also tossed aside as the pastor at the Bethel Baptist Church continued his search for a man. “I have hunted and fished with many men in my lifetime and have been treated with respect while in the field – would this not be the same case if I attended the ‘church’ fishing event?” asked Smaniotto in a Facebook post. It would appear men can't go fishing without creating a sexual scandal. Reverend Bryan Kelley defended the misogynistic event. Kelley said women knew the rules of the raffle organized by a third party.
“Living in the days of sexual scandals and accusations many pastors including myself, take the personal position that we will not put ourselves in a position that could bring about a false accusation and thus bring a multitude of problems, hence why he personally offered them for men only. It was a matter of personal standards and protection and there was no intent of discrimination,” wrote Kelley on the church’s Facebook page. The post has since been deleted. Kelley said he tried to reach out to Smaniotto, after learning she was “offended.” He added that the man offering the prize was willing to take Smaniotto and her father on a trip.
“The church highly respects all women and would by no means do anything intentionally to make one feel they were discriminated against and once again express our deepest apologies to the young lady and will exercise greater caution moving forward,” he wrote. You have to wonder one can organize a men-only fishing trip without intention. While some defended the church on Facebook, others branded the church as misogynistic.
Smaniotto confirmed that no one had attempted to "reach out" to her despite Kelley claiming so. "I mean clearly I’m easy to locate on Facebook and Instagram, it shouldn’t have been an issue if they truly wanted to get a hold of me. I have not received one phone call, voicemail or message,” she told Scary Mommy. She added that it was imperative to push for change. "If we as women don’t continue to speak up for equality, we will never achieve our goal.”