Eddie Long

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Devil's in the details

Eddie Long, a.k.a. Bishop Eddie Lee Long (1953-2017) was the senior clergyman at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a 25,000 member megachurch in Lithonia, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.

Sexual abuse scandal[edit]

In what has become an almost timelessly classic Christian story line, in September 2010 the homophobic minister was accused of coercing young men into sexual activity. Plaintiffs Anthony Flagg, 21, Maurice Robinson, 20, Jamal Parris, 23, and Spencer LaGrande, 22, brought suit against the heretofore triumphant exponent of the prosperity gospel. Describing Long as a 'monster' in an interview with WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Parris alleged that Long offered, "holy scripture to justify and support the sexual activity." [1]

Bishop Long responded by vowing to fight his accusers, describing his problem as "spiritual warfare" and comparing himself to David doing battle with Goliath: "I'm not a perfect man but this thing I'm going to fight. I feel like David against Goliath but I've got five rocks and I haven't thrown one of them yet." [2]

Part of the counterattack was the appearance of Long's photo on the cover of November/December issue of Gospel Today.[3] The publisher, Teresa Hairston, reportedly denied that Long influenced the creation of the cover story.

The erupting scandal helped African-Americans to begin discussing taboo subjects, including pedophilia. CNN anchor Don Lemon, for example, discussed his experience of being victimized as a child.[4]

Despite being a scheduled speaker, Long failed to appear at the Stand Campaign on Saturday November 15, 2010, an annual religious rally held at the Georgia Dome that his church initiated in 2007. The excuse given was that he was prevented from appearing because of a "family emergency."[5]

On May 26, 2011 the Pastor and the four young men who sued him settled out of court for an undisclosed amount with the charges to be dismissed without prejudice.[6]

After his wife filed for divorce he began a leave of absence to "take care of some family business".[7]

Long died in January 2017, months after issuing a statement and YouTube video announcing that he was battling and "recovering" from an unspecified illness.

There is just no pleasing some people, especially with an absurd self-aggrandising gesture[edit]

In a video that soon went viral, Long is shown being wrapped in a Torah, a "priceless" 312 year old "Holocaust Torah" recovered from Auschwitz no less, during a January 29, 2012 church service in which he is said to be crowned "king." His Majesty later apologized to the Anti-Defamation League.

Black conservative culture elite[edit]

Before his death, Long served as a member on multiple boards:

Morehouse School of Religion Board of Directors (Vice Chair)
Board of Visitors for Emory University; Board of Trustees for North Carolina Central University
Board of Trustees for Young Life
Board of Trustees for Fort Valley State University
Board of Directors for Safehouse Outreach Ministries
100 Black Men Of America (honorary).
Beulah Heights Bible College’s Board of Trustees (Vice Chair)
“Hosea Feed the Hungry” (Co-Chair)