God, boys and custom made suits..the strange tale of Eddie Long

I must admit that as my fellow Mainers have discovered my little piece of the blogosphere its been a great feeling to be included within the ranks of really cool bloggers like this and I am thankful for my fellow bloggers who have mentioned me on their blogs. At the same time it is sometimes awkward as this blog was originally about me connecting with other folks of color and as such I do tend to blog on issues related to race. I admit the past few posts have been about race but as a Black woman even living in Maine one of the least racially diverse states in the country while I am a Mainer by virtue of location; I am a Black woman first and foremost.

Today I have to talk about the Bishop Eddie Long of Georgia. Regular readers know I don’t talk a great deal about my faith on the blog in part because this is not a spiritual or religious blog. Yet there are times when I do feel the need to go there, this is definitely one of them. I have made no secret of the fact that since my Mom’s untimely passing six years ago, I have grappled with my own faith. Finally accepting that is it simply not possible for me to get all the answers as long as I am earth side. Though as a follower of Christ, I do think some things are clear despite the fact that many folks who call themselves Christians are not clear on those facts.

Let’s get back to good ole Eddie Long. He is the pastor of one New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, right outside of Atlanta, Ga. In the past 20 years according to published reports he has taken what was a modest church of a few hundred and turned it into a mega church with a reported membership of 25,000 folks. Long who is officially called Bishop Long, has entertained presidents, celebrities and other well heeled folks, hell the man lives in a 1.1 million dollar home reportedly wears custom made suits, drives a Bentley and has a bodyguards. His ministry as its called focuses on prosperity…he has been quoted as saying that Jesus was not a poor man and that God does not want folks to be poor. I can only imagine based off the snippets I have seen of the good pastor, oops Bishop that he makes his congregation feel really good.

It’s such a shame though that the good Bishop who while he has been seen with his iPad clearly must have only skimmed the bible and missed the parts where Jesus talks specifically about the rich. In the book of Matthew Chapter 10, Jesus clearly states “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven” In fact if there is one clear message that any one who has ever spent any amount of time in a bible specifically the New Testament can take away is that Jesus was not all that fond of rich folks. That takeaway can be held by Christians, as well as folks who only accept Jesus as a historical figure who did good works.

So if Jesus was adamantly against wealth and one is a follower of his more importantly a pastor or oops a Bishop, one might deduce that those who preach ministries that harp on obtaining earthly wealth are already off track and perhaps are not reading about the same Jesus who fed, healed and helped folks. After all that Jesus was lacking so in earthly objects that he actually had to borrow someone’s donkey.

So can we say that the good Bishop Long has perhaps lost his way? Yep, that’s what I am going to say but clearly none of the 25000 folks who attend his club…oh my bad church, clearly never saw reason to question the good bishop. Well it seems the good Bishop finally has done some things that has folks wondering though I wonder how many of his members will continue to accept this self professed imperfect man who now stands accused of coercing young men into having sexual relations with him.  It appears that while the public Eddie Long liked to rail against homosexuality to the point of actively supporting bans on same sex marriage and in fact his church runs seminars to “cure” homosexuality. The private Eddie Long is accused of engaging in the same activities he stands publicly against. Now I am sure people will say I am condemning the man before the facts come out but after watching the man make a spectacle of himself in a custom tailored suit that Captain James T Kirk would have been proud of, and stating that he is a David going up against a Goliath and that he is an imperfect man…well I am not too hopeful that these allegations are false. Perhaps if he were not living a lifestyle that is so clearly not biblical, again he is a Christian should he not live a lifestyle in accordance with the tenets of his religion? Imperfect or not?

More important than Long in all of this is how easily lead astray folks are, there are clearly members of Long’s church that would bet everything they have to prove this man is being falsely accused. Yet in the Black community in addition to the out of wedlock issues we also have issues in our churches. Truth be told most churches have issues but Black churches have power structures that give too much power to too few people and those who dare to speak out risk being ostracized by the community. Early in my father’s preaching career he was tossed out of a church for telling the senior pastor that if he (the senior pastor) was going to preach that all members must give tithes and offerings that the pastor himself needed to do the same. Good preacher didn’t like that and my Pops was shown the door.

To accept any human based off their credentials as the almighty truth and never question them is to set your self up for heartbreak and as far as I can see there is no biblical basis. Faith is to be in God and Jesus not man.

What is heart breaking in this Long debacle is that this bastard will probably still end up leading this clueless flock while the young men who were abused will be left picking up the pieces of their lives. Imagine how it must feel to have trust in another person especially someone you see as God’s representative on earth only to have that trust abused?

9 thoughts on “God, boys and custom made suits..the strange tale of Eddie Long”

  1. I really love the new look of this site. I have read many, many, articles about Bishop Long; I must admit; this is one of the best. Excellent Job.

  2. Yes The Good Bishop has surely been caught with his pants down (pun intended). With he emergence of this 4th young man willing to talk he has a lot of explaining to do.

    I would like to know about those pics. Grown men dont send other grown men pic of themselves in speed-dos and muscle shirts…

  3. I really appreciate when true Christians, the rational, critical thinking ones speak up about the evil that others who claim to be Christian continue to perpetrate. This story is depressing on many levels and it’s so true that Black people need to wake up and use their G-d given brains when it comes to religion. This blind allegiance to these charlatans (mr long is one of many) is doing the opposite of uplifting folk.

  4. Excellent! First time reading…..I have been amazed at the blind allegiance these ppl have for this man.I am so thankful I worship God and have the wisdom to know the difference!

  5. I have been reticent about all of this for many reasons, the biggest being pure sadness. I always….and I mean always, err on the side of the accuser(s) in cases like this. I think it’s our responsibility to create a space where anyone can safely come forward and receive justice and support when they’ve been victimized sexually. I’m disappointed (but unfortunately not surprised) by the paucity of vocal support (or exposure of those who are vocal) for the accusers in comparison to the infinite accounts of Eddie Long’s ascent to “spiritual stardom.” We have yet to properly create the space for women to come forward, so unforunately men (particularly Black men) are the low folks on this totem pole.

    I have been giving Eddie Long a *side eye* for many years now on many levels. In addition to being a “virulent homophobe” (a la the Southern Poverty Law Center), his prosperity preaching has always struck a nerve with me. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution a few years ago, he arrogantly asserted that he is not a preacher who just sits around and baptizes babies. ) Um….err…isn’t that one of your primary responsibilities as a shephard of the Lord PASTOR Eddie???)

    One of the other reasons why this situation makes me sad is that it reflects the lack of critical, objective discourse within our community, particularly within the Black church. We need to slap some bandaids on our emotinal wounds and give each other the space to talk about sexuality, sexual orientation, Religion/spirituality and how they all intersect.

    Great post BGIM 😉

    • Amen to this. Too many of us were raised to not question authority, especially not in the church.

      Double checking that your Bible says what the man (or woman) in the pulpit says it does, is not questioning authority, it’s doing what we’re supposed to… it’s a shame this is the case in our community. If any group needs the ability to think critically and have honest discourse, it’s us.

  6. thanks for the blog pimp! i am quite flattered and honored. as for the pastor… i mean “bishop”… i feel like after centuries of self denial and self flagellation, people are tired. a religion that encourages us to want things for ourselves- to be greedy and lustful for possessions and status instead of encouraging us to fight our weaker instincts for righteousness and the greater good… i’m sure it must feel like a relief. i don’t think it’s right- but i can understand why it’s attractive. all the glory of salvation without any of the willpower or the work. a man who would preach such a gospel is clearly a weak man himself- as evidenced by his sexual misconduct and deceit. i just sort of assume that the people who squawk their hatred the loudest (especially when it comes to things like homosexuality, fidelity, drugs, and otherwise elicit sex) are all doing the things that they rally so hard against. sort of sad really… you have to hate yourself a lot to live your life that way…

  7. WOW – excellent note. Frankly, I’m saddened and embarrassed by the display of ‘support’ at his ‘church’. Think of all the children and survivors of sexual abuse who were in that audience… is this REALLY the message we want to send to our children? Go against ‘pastor’ and you MUST be a liar. Innocent until proven guilty, YES, but these folks have cloaked Long as innocent with no facts, which is highly disturbing.

    What’s REALLY sad is that thousands of Blacks swarmed to New Birth yesterday to hear Long’s ‘legal speak’, but they haven’t gone to Washington, tea party-style, to protest 25% black unemployment. I say let him pick up folks in his Bentley and then fly them in his private jet to DC to get answers.

  8. My head hurts to read these articles where folks are quoted as saying how good they feel to hear him say he’s not the man he was portrayed in the media. A, that’s not a denial and B, that’s not an acceptable explanation.

    I’ve never thought Eddie Long (if you catch me calling him Bishop, slap me) was anything more than a con artist. I’ll give him credit for finding a preaching style that folks (‘specially Black folks) would latch on to. Who doesn’t want to hear that if they just keep coming and just keep tithing, Jesus will make them rich? Looks like the only person who got rich was him…

    I’ve gone round and round with folks on this thing about wealth in the church. I won’t go so far as to say rich folks can’t be Christian, but I do know that if God blesses you with that kind of wealth, he expects you to do something more than make it rain and buy off young men for sex.

    Meanwhile, his 25,000 parishioners are looking the fool, IMO. If my pastor can afford a Bentley and a 1.1 million dollar home, then none of the students in this church had better want for tuition money, there shouldn’t be anyone losing homes or going without food in this church, either…

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