Posts Tagged “Bishop Eddie Long”

The young men are members of Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. They say Long abused his spiritual authority to seduce them with cars, money, clothes, jewelry, international trips and access to celebrities. Credit: CBS/The Early Show. Read more:’ve blogged before about “Bishop” Eddie Long, the head of a megachurch in suburban Atlanta who recently settled several child sex-abuse cases. Therefore, perhaps not surprisingly, WXIA-TV in Atlanta reports via USA Today that he’s taking a leave of absence (WebCite cached article):

The senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Bishop Eddie Long, announced to his congregation Sunday morning that he is taking time off to be with his family.

Long, who was accused last year of sexually abusing several men in Atlanta, built his 150-member congregation into a following of 25,000 people and a televangelist empire.

His church pointed out rather sternly that Long is not resigning from his position, conceding only that he’s taking time off, probably because an outright resignation would amount to an admission of guilt on his part, something he’s avoided in spite of the settlements (which are confidential).

But what’s strange is that he claims to be taking time off to be with his family, just at the moment when his wife is divorcing him:

On Thursday, Vanessa Long filed for divorce from her husband of 21-years. By Friday Mrs. Long had reversed direction and had decided not to dissolve her marriage. However, Friday evening she recanted and moved forward with the divorce proceeding.

So pardon me if I don’t swallow this particular line.

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: CBS News.

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A service at True Light Pentecostal Church, Spartanburg, SCIt’s possible to want to do the right thing, but to cite an invalid or poor reason for doing so. An example of just this phenomenon can be seen in a South Carolina pastor who’s calling for the resignation of “bishop” Eddie Long of Atlanta, as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution via CBS News (WebCite cached article):

Many of Bishop Eddie Long’s followers have remained loyal to the Atlanta megachurch pastor despite the allegations that he lured four young men into sexual relationships, but the pastor of a small South Carolina church is calling for Long to step down.

Bishop Prophet H. Walker of True Light Pentecost Church in Spartanburg, S.C. plans to rally at Georgia’s state capital to call for Long’s resignation, claiming that the accused pastor is a “bad influence on the Christian church and future generations,” reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

One would think that Walker’s call for Long to resign is because he’s been accused of having seduced teens in his care. But that isn’t entirely his objection to Long continuing behind his pulpit:

Walker, who claims his church is opposed to homosexuality, intends to “support the integrity and character of the Christian faith,” on Oct. 31, but refused to say exactly how many members of his church would follow suit, reports the paper.

Thus, Walker’s desire for Long to resign, is not because Long has been accused of any wrongdoing, it’s because this scandal has revealed him as gay or bisexual. That’s right, folks: In Walker’s mind, wrongdoing is not enough to oust a Christian pastor, but being gay or bisexual, is. One can only surmise that, had Long been accused of seducing female teens, Walker would have no objections. Nice, huh?

P.S. What is it with these wingnut Southern pastors using Halloween to stage their freakish protests?

Photo credit: True Light Pentecostal Church Web site.

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Bishop Eddie Long from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, GA declared the word of the Lord into our hearts and lives.Over the past few months I’ve blogged many times on the Roman Catholic clerical child-abuse scandal and that Church’s dismal failure to handle it in anything approaching a mature and morally-upright fashion. But no one should be fooled into thinking scandals of this sort are limited only to Catholicism. Evangelical Protestants such as Ted Haggard and George Alan Rekers have been caught up in sex scandals over the last few years (albeit with adults). And before them, of course, there were Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker.

More recently, yet another evangelical has found himself facing a sex scandal of his own, and this time the accusations involve somewhat younger victims. The CBS News Crimesider reports on the expanding case of Atlanta megachurch pastor Bishop Eddie Long (WebCite cached article):

New pictures [cached] have surfaced of Bishop Eddie Long, prominent pastor of a 25,000-member megachurch outside Atlanta, as a third man has come forward accusing the anti-gay advocate of coercing him into sex.

CBS News’ Erica Hill reports the pastor allegedly sent his accusers numerous photos [cached] of himself including at least several of him wearing spandex and workout clothes.

It’s not known precisely how the photos surfaced.

This scandal has been brewing for a week or so, and has reached the point where Long can no longer ignore it, even if — perhaps — he’d first thought he could deflect it:

Long canceled an interview with the Tom Joyner Morning Show Thursday, opting instead to make his first public response to the sex allegations during a service at his Atlanta-area church on Sunday, according to his lawyer, who appeared on the nationally syndicated radio show in Long’s absence.

This article goes into some of the allegations, and also explains Long’s pedigree as a prominent evangelical:

In lawsuits filed this week, three men who were members of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church claimed Long coerced them into sexual relations with gifts including cars, cash and travel when they were 17 or 18 years old. The sprawling church in Lithonia, Ga., about 18 miles outside of Atlanta, counts politicians, celebrities and the county sheriff among its members and hosted four U.S. presidents during the 2006 funeral of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King.

One of the claims in the lawsuits is that Long had sexual contact with the young men, who were enrolled in New Birth’s ministry for teen boys, during trips he took them on in the U.S. and abroad. Gillen said the travel was part of a mentoring program that other young men also participated in.

The problem for Long is not merely that he’s a pastor who knows better than to engage in such behavior, but that he’s an outright hypocrite, since he’s been something of an anti-gay crusader:

Long has called for a national ban on same-sex marriage and his church counsels gay members to become straight. In 2004, he led a march with Bernice King to her father’s Atlanta grave to support a national constitutional amendment to protect marriage “between one man and one woman.”

Bishop Long appears to have forgotten that his own Jesus explicitly, clearly, and unambiguously ordered his followers never, ever to be hypocritical.

It remains to be seen what he will say when he addresses his congregation on Sunday. Some news reports suggest he may be resigning pending the outcome of these cases, however, another CBS News Crimesider report shows some defiance on his part (cached):

Bishop Eddie Long spoke out for the first time Friday about allegations that he had sexual relationships with at least three teenage boys in his Atlanta-area church. …

Long said he was in the middle of a battle.

“We will arise through this situation, and go forward, and we are moving forward,” Long said.

That sounds like a guy who’s hired a batallion of attorneys to fight these lawsuits, not someone who’s preparing to give in and go away silently.

It should be no surprise to anyone that, in looking for reactions to this scandal, the mass media ran immediately, microphones extended, to the aforementioned shamed Ted Haggard, who is (likewise no surprise!) supporting his fellow scandal-plagued evangelical pastor, as AOL News reports (cached):

Disgraced pastor Ted Haggard cautions that no one should rush to judge Atlanta megachurch Bishop Eddie Long, who is accused of coercing three young men into sex.

“Nobody’s guilty until the court says he’s guilty,” Haggard, the former head of a 14,000-member congregation in Colorado, told AOL News in a phone interview Wednesday.

I don’t know what’s more pathetic … that the mass media thought that the shamed pastor had anything to say worth hearing, or that Haggard had the audacity to say that no one is permitted to think ill of Long until a court renders a verdict?

Photo credit: TBN Newsletter.

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A strange situation has unfolded in North Carolina. Some four years ago, a trustee of North Carolina Central University named Bishop Eddie Long set up a “satellite campus” of that university at his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, GA. It turns out this was not properly authorized, and the program was never accredited, so all the degrees that have been awarded there, are worthless.

In case you’ve never heard of NCCU, it’s part of the University of North Carolina system, making it a public university. UNC’s current administration is mystified as to where this program came from, how it operated for four years, or how it managed to get started outside of the usual satellite-campus creation program (which — had it been followed — would have ended up with the New Birth/NCCU program being properly accredited).

I’m mystified as to the following:

  1. How, exactly, is it that a church (i.e. a religious institution) was allowed to operate a public university program in the first place? Have these people never read the First Amendment?

  2. What reason was there for a North Carolina public university to operate a program in another state (Georgia) — a state which already has its own public university system?

  3. How could this program have been created without the knowledge of NCCU’s chancellor or director of distance education?

I truly doubt this was a rogue, stealth program operated by a lone trustee … I’m sure — contrary to their denials — that NCCU’s administration was fully aware of this. Essentially, Bishop Eddie Long and NCCU scammed the students, making them believe they’d end up with accredited degrees after four years of coursework. I wonder if anyone will be prosecuted for fraud? Probably not … North Carolina is, after all, part of the Bible Belt where clergy are considered perfect and can do no wrong, and anything done in the name of a church is God’s will and never to be questioned. Just another example of how Christians will do anything in Jesus’ name … including break the law, violate university rules and procedures, scam students, and worst of all, trample separation of church and state. After all, Jesus was an unaccredited teacher, wasn’t he? That makes this all OK, no?

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