Thursday, September 23, 2010

Homophobic Bishop Eddie Long Accused of Coercing Men Into Sex

Normally, I avoid the stories where someone is outed, but the alleged behavior of Eddie Long is simply impossible to ignore.  It seems that he promised two vulnerable young men that he would be their "spiritual father" and then used that position to allegedly gain their trust.  It has been alleged that he bribed these young men with jewelry, cars, and even trips abroad.  The behavior apparently escalated from chaste kisses to oral copulation.
"Long is considered one of the nation's top black preachers. His church has more 25,000 members, according to the suit, and was the site of Coretta Scott King's 2006 funeral, attended by then-President George W. Bush and three previous presidents. King was the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The pastor took one plaintiff, Anthony Flagg, 21, on overnight trips to a half-dozen American cities in recent years, Flagg's suit alleges. 'Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact,' the suit says. Long took the other plaintiff, Maurice Murray Robinson, 20, to Auckland, New Zealand, in October 2008 for his 18th birthday and engaged in oral sex with him, Robinson's suit alleges. The suits also said that Long framed the sexual relationships as religious in nature. The suits allege that Long chose the plaintiffs to be his "Spiritual Sons," a program that allegedly includes other young men from the church." (source)




Due to the sheer size of his congregation, when people thought of Black homophobia based in religion, Long was one of the first to come to mind.  As a Christian, I have long found his beliefs to be disgusting and knowing now that perhaps they were motivated by self hatred, does not change that.  All that I can think of is the many people who he hurt, every time he stood at his pulpit and preached the message of hate. If these charges are true, I will take comfort in knowing that he will be neutralized. I will never understand how you can possibly claim to be doing God's work and they turn around and preach hatred.  I will never understand how you can claim to be a civil rights fighter and then behave in a manner which hurts Blacks.  Yes, Black TLBG people matter.  They are an important part of of our community and they need and deserve our support. 

Many times when I interact with the LBGT community and tell people that I am a Christian, their first response understandably is incredibly wary.  It is men like Long who have perverted what it means to be Christian for their own gain and they in no way represent what I understand to be a Christian faith.  When I tell people that my Christianity is the basis for my moral beliefs, the response is often incredulous.  Despite the fact that there are literally millions of Christians who daily attempt to challenge their privilege, we are drowned out by the Bishop Eddie Long's of this world.  I know that I must forgive him because he is a person filled with self hate, but right now, all that I can think about is how he has perverted Christianity to serve his selfish ends and in the process participated in the marginalization of so many.