Eddie Long: The “Daddy of His Flock”
New Birth Church Bishop Eddie Long is one of the most powerful Christian leaders in America. He has marched against gay marriage and summed up his views on homosexuality as, “Everybody knows it’s dangerous to enter an exit.” His church offers an “Out of the Wilderness” counseling service to “men and women struggling with homosexuality who desire healing and deliverance through the Word of God.”
Cue gay guy sex-abuse scandal.
Bishop Long’s anti-gay crusade took a grim and familiar turn this week when Long found himself slapped with lawsuits from three men who say the pastor coerced them into “sexual massages” and oral sodomy while they were still in their teens. His three accusers, whom I believe are now in their early twenties, say that Long recruited them into his youth ministry and began pursuing them sexually. He apparently offered them such luxuries as cars, clothes, jewelry and electronics. It is alleged that he also treated them to trips in private jets with stays at fancy hotels.
Along with the deeply troubling possibility that the pastor used his LongFellows program for young men—many of whom come into the church from fatherless homes in their early teens—as a means of seduction. And wouldn’t you know Long was financing the whole thing with money donated by the congregation of the New Birth Church.
And there are, of course, pictures. Said pictures are said to show him and multiple young men posing together in the bathrooms of hotels in muscle shirts and bath towels. He claims that he will categorically deny everything, so I’m waiting.
The married father of four has been a pastor for over 23 years, with a super-sized mega church outside of Atlanta that boasts 25,000 members. It has been reported that Long has been the “biggest beneficiary” of his church’s own charity, a gospel-spreading nonprofit organization that allotted him a vast estate, gave him a Bentley, and paid him over a million dollars a year. Sort of like how Jesus lived, right? It’s absolutely disgusting. When asked about the benefits Long said, “We’re not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can’t talk and all we’re doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around this world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation. You’ve got to put me on a different scale than the little black preacher sitting over there that’s supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering.”
Long, who refers to himself as the “spiritual daddy” of his flock, also runs a fitness club on the Church’s property. The club’s logo is of a shirtless and seriously ripped Biblical hero…gay.
The 57-year-old millionaire minister apparently still has numerous supporters, including the definitely-not-gay-anymore Ted Haggard who said, “We have police officers that get speeding tickets” (seriously?) but also added that, “It’s important to understand the human condition. People have ideals that they violate.” So depending on what happens with these lawsuits, it’s quite possible Eddie Long’s flock will now have second thoughts about where their money is going when the collection circles. Can you believe Long once called homosexuality a “spiritual abortion?” Maybe moronic fundamentalists in this country will now question whether attacking gays has anything to do with glorifying their “God.”