The phones here in Atlanta are ringing off the hook! The newspaper presses that were once closed have all reopened. The nation is both SHOCKED and almost PARALYZED by the new allegations made by two young men against one of Atlanta’s Prominent Spiritual Leaders, Bishop Eddie Long of Lithonia, Georgia!
I am not too concerned about Bishop Long because I am sure he can take care of himself and will prepare a rigorous defense against his accusers. However, I am somewhat confused as to why the young “beneficiaries” have suddenly decided to kiss and tell. He is not Rev. Paulk; I am sure he will fight like Hell! After speaking with several local attorneys who are familiar with sexual-harassment cases, they suggested that from a cost-benefit analysis, the Bishop probably should have settled and signed a confidentiality agreement to save his church from the painful possibility of litigation. In essence, this could get VERY nasty (Georgia has liberal discovery, in that people can keep fishing until they finally find something). I am just really interested to know why these two individuals decided to bring these issues forth JUST NOW. There are two-sides of this story and I am sure justice will prevail.
First off, let’s be clear that I in NO way endorse any bad behaviors, but the Bishop’s name and reputation will suffer insult and injury whether he is proven innocent or guilty. His young accusers will be just like Monica Lewinsky, a blast from the past after a few days’ trial or settlement. This may seem like an attack on Bishop Long and the soothsayers are having a wonderful time. However, this is really bigger than Bishop Long; it is another attack on the Black church here in Atlanta. I am reminded of Kwame Kilpatrick and his demise before our eyes because of inappropriate behavior. Can we take much more in our communities?
My heart is heavy, not because of the type or allegations, but for Bishop Long’s members. I have not had the opportunity to visit his services because I really can’t do that Sunday morning traffic on the church’s campus. This young Pastor has taken that church to places that many would have never even imagined, and now comes this new issue. It is my hope and prayer that his members will stand behind their leader until justice has had its opportunity to work. I implore them to pray fervently for the “Will of Lord to be Done” in this situation. People, there are a lot of innocent lives to be considered. I am reminded of a key verse of scripture, “He who is without sin , cast the first stone.” As I was driving through my own neighborhood their appears to be an excess of stones at each of our homes.
I don’t have a death wish for the Black church. Several people have accused me in the blog of being somewhat anti-Black church. That is a bald-faced lie but I have been a voice “crying in the wilderness” that we must get back to the basic principles of clean and holy living. Bishop Long, stand strong through this trial; it may be more like a tribulation but God knows how much you can bear and He knows the truth. To all other Pastors, Co-Pastors, Evangelists, Missionaries, Saints and Friends: be careful with choice of topics for Sunday’s message.
Now on the other hand, if you are a Pastor, leader or Bishop, you can not use your positions of power to abuse your members. That is why each and every church must have a Sexual Harassment Policy. Be sure that you are not guilty of this type of inappropriate conduct. I certainly believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. However, let’s not be the Catholic Church of the 21st Century if you know what I mean.
Trouble has a way of finding all of us with names, spiritual/non-spiritual titles and a little money. Also to all the young “opportunistic sissies” looking for a cougar (male or female): please don’t PLAY where you have to PRAY. You may just need God soon. Finally, we the clergy, should remain neutral and pray for the members of New Birth. Let’s not find glory in their pain, but let’s embrace them, love them and let them know that God is Strong!