Popular Pastor Eddie L. Long Faces Sex Scandal
Televangelist Eddie L. Long, who is also senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, has three lawsuits filed against him by young men who say he abused his position as their spiritual leader to coerce them into sexual acts.
The men also say Long seduced them with extended (and in some cases, international) trips, access to celebrities, and monetary gifts. Furthermore, they claim others within the church knew about Long’s actions and instead of attempting to stop him, helped cover things up so that the megachurch, with about 75,000 members, would not suffer.
In addition to those claims, the men say Long would use Scriptures to attempt to justify the “connection” he had with them and would attempt to block relationships they had with women.
Long was mentored by popular televangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes and has received numerous honorary degrees, awards, and accolades for his service within the community, as well as abroad. He was even featured on Ludacris‘s 2006 album Release Therapy in a song entitled “Freedom of Preach.” Long delivers what amounts to an altar call at the close of the song.That same year, he was hand-selected by the family of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to host the funeral of Coretta Scott King.
In addition to his pastoral duties, Long serves on many boards including the Board of Visitors at Emory University and the Board of Trustees at North Carolina Central University.
How can a man who is seemingly so reputable face such serious allegations, especially when that man has repeatedly denounced homosexuality and even offers counseling services at his church? The implications are truly serious despite the fact that no criminal charges have been filed.
Long, of course, categorically denies these allegations. However, attorney B.J. Bernstein—who represents two of the plaintiffs—says she has photos, text messages, and e-mails which will prove there were relationships between Long and his young accusers. Bernstein admits most of these were not crude in nature, but that there were requests for pictures. Also, one of the plaintiffs is facing a criminal burglary charge for breaking into Long’s office. Bernstein maintains this was merely an attempt to get back at Long for his abuse.
As one who has tuned into Long’s telecasts and thereby benefited from his ministry, I hope these accusations are not true Lord knows the American Church can’t take too many more hits. However, if they are true, Long has some explaining to do. First to his wife, then to his four children, and of course to his congregation. I could quote several scriptures here and follow my family’s tradition of delivering a soul-stirring sermon. Instead, I’ll briefly sum things up. For those of us who are religious (or spiritual, per your preference), we have to remember to keep our trust and faith placed firmly in God, not in the people who claim to represent Him.
Source: ABC News