A Look Back At The Bishop Eddie Long Scandal
Now we’ve been covering the Bishop Eddie Long story for 9 months now, and many of you may have missed the big “hoop-la” over the case because you are newcomers to AskDrO.com. So just for you, we are going to give a full run-down of the Bishop Eddie Long case and provide some new insight as well. Here goes nothing…(gulp)…
If you are looking for a church home in the city of Atlanta, FOX 5 Atlanta reports that there are plenty of vacant seats available at New Birth Missionary Church. On March 2, 2011 the Atlanta-based news station reported Bishop Eddie Long laid-off staff and cut salaries of essential staff members. Why? Bishop Eddie Long released a statement saying the cuts are due to the down turn in the economy. Sounds right, doesn’t it?
Well if you believe that, you may be just as foolish as the Bishop. Sources within the congregations say attendance has bottomed due to all the scandals and allegations that have been associated Bishop Long and with the church.
What allegations, you ask?
Who’s your Daddy?
In mid-September of 2010, Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, and Jamal Parris filed separate lawsuits in DeKalb County Superior Court alleging that Long used his pastoral influence to coerce them into a sexual relationship with him. A few days later Spencer LeGrande, a member of a New Birth satellite church in Charlotte, North Carolina, filed a similar suit, making him the fourth man to file a lawsuit claiming sexual misconduct by Long.
In their statement to the police, the plaintiffs state that Long placed them on the church’s payroll, bought them cars and other gifts, and took them separately on trips to destinations such as Kenya, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands, Trinidad, Honduras, New Zealand, and New York City.
Can you say Sugar Daddy? And no, that wasn’t just me being dramatic, according to the allegations the Bishop had these young men actually calling him “Daddy”. The lawsuits go on to state that Long would “discuss the Holy Scripture to justify and support the sexual activity.” Flagg’s suit claims that Long presided over a “covenant” ceremony between the two of them; Flagg’s attorney said that the ceremony was “essentially a marriage ceremony, with candles, exchange of jewelry, and biblical quotes.”
“I am not a perfect man, but this thing, I’m going to fight.”
Long, who was once titled “one of the most virulently homophobic Black leaders”, denied the allegations. In a prepared statement, Long said, “I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply.[…]But my faith is strong and the truth will emerge. All I ask for is your patience as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges.”
On September 26, Long spoke to the New Birth congregation but he did not address the issue directly. Long spoke of painful times and said,“I’ve been accused. I’m under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, I am not a perfect man, but this thing, I’m going to fight.” Many of the New Birth members did not like the negative light with which their church was being represented nor did they trust the words of their leader/pastor/teacher. Membership began to dwindle.
“There is no doubt that all of the scandals have taken a toll on this once thriving congregation, there are now empty seats throughout the sanctuary. This lesson should go out to all Pastors who feel that they can exploit their members and get away with it because God knows their heart. The members of these congregations are no longer tolerating a lack of integrity in the pulpit.”
“I can not get the sound of his voice out of my head!”
Jamal Parris, one of the proclaimed victims told FOX 5 Atlanta that he and the other victims were, “slaves to a man that we loved.” After he became of age the relationship became more intense and more inappropriate. “He turned his back on us and had no more need (sexually) for us.” The young man then stated, “This would make Pastor Long a predator.”
Enough is Enough
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on May 27, 2011 that the lawsuits with Bishop Eddie Long and the plaintiffs were settled out-of-court; terms were undisclosed.
The Bishop paid an estimated amount of nearly $25 million to his four accusers. If you’re innocent of allegations wouldn’t it have been easier to prove in court? Or is there something missing…that unfortunately we’ll never know due to gag orders.
B.J. Bernstein, who represents the four men who sued Long, New Birth and LongFellows, also confirmed the lawsuits had been settled.
Neither side would comment further and settlement terms were unknown.
Breaking New Ground
And as if things aren’t already uncomfortable enough, earlier this month, Long announced the start of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Birmingham. The church is called New Birth Birmingham. New Birth also plans to launch New Birth Denver, another satellite church.
The Denver church will run under the leadership of Elder Darius Wise and First Lady Chajay Wise. Wise is the young man who’s currently the Chief Ministry Officer of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and its ministers. The church will open in in about three months.
Seems to me like someone is trying to figure out a way to pay that $15 Million lawsuit…
I’m willing to bet that Bishop Eddie Long doesn’t have a PR consultant. And if he does, he/she should be fired … immediately! We’ve learned from public figures who have crashed and burned their careers before, such as Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and others, that it is important to face such allegations with humility and a sense of disappearance.
For example, when Bill Clinton, Hillary, and Monica had their, shall we say, “falling out” Bill apologized and went incognito for a few weeks…months even. John Edwards, who just made a plum-fool of himself, did the same, even when his wife passed away. He handled everything privately and with care.
Now, being quiet doesn’t meant you’re guilty. It just means you’re humble and don’t feel the need to parade around the world as if nothing has happened. Bishop, these allegations were serious and you didn’t have just one person accusing you of these horrible things! No! You had four! Now would be the time for you take a lesson from O. J. Simpson. Sit quietly and work on that autobiography called “If I were a Hypocrite.”
All joking aside, I am truly disappointed in the efforts Bishop Long is making in order to stay relevant in the news. In my last piece on the infamous preacher, we discussed how the congregation was building a new satellite church in Birmingham, Alabama. As I hinted at last week, would it be wrong to assume that the money received from this new church is just the financial supply to help pay for this settlement?
Speaking of money, recently a member of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church came bearing “first fruit”. Confused? Let me elaborate. While Bishop Eddie Long was preaching, the woman felt moved to bring a wad of cash from out of her purse and presented it to the Bishop and the entire congregation. As if the monetary wad was everyday pocket change, she turns and proceeds back to her seat. “Somebody outta shout!” exclaims the Bishop. Jane Doe’s act of monetary giving prompted various others in the congregation to stand up and give. And as if on cue, the bishop continues by saying, “Tap your neighbor and say today may have been her day but mine is coming! Quick, fast, in a hurry!”
Word around town down here in Atlanta is the Bishop is feeling a little lonely in that big estate of his. Why? Rumor has it that his wife Vanessa Griffin Long has moved out of the South Delkab home they shared. Can’t say I too much blame it on Mrs. Long. She stuck by him way longer than I expected. Takes a strong woman to fill those shoes. Perhaps as a testament to the Bishop’s character, while he has reportedly lost a significant amount of church members, he continues to surprise the world with his big name supporters.
For example, in the news recently, Pastor Creflo Dollar of World Changers Church International in College Park told his congregation a story of an “anonymous” preacher who was going through a “wreck.” Without mentioning the preacher’s name or the church he is affiliated with, Dollar told members of the church to return to the Lithonia church. Perhaps to add credibility to that part of his sermon, he told the congregation that the preacher in question is his “friend and a brother in the Lord.” I also had the chance to speak with a former mentee of Long’s, Micheal Wilson.