Eddie Long and the Black Church
BY Clay Cane
September 28 2010 4:55 PM ET
COMMENTARY: "The devil is busy!" a user commented on an online article about Bishop Eddie Long's alleged sexual encounters with four teenage men. The commenter was convinced the Georgia pastor was being attacked by the devil. In truth, the devil isn't homosexuality; the devil is the accepted and profitable homophobia in the black church.
Almost like a Sarah Palin of the black church, Long turned down or canceled interviews with the press, speaking Sunday in a controlled environment at his 25,000-member megachurch, the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. No questions, especially from reporters. Even at a promised news conference, the Georgia pastor simply read a statement denying the allegations. Therefore, this "sermon" on the sabbath was a dramatic plea for his members to not abandon him; he's going to need their cash to maintain his defense fund, Bentley, and private jet. Mr. Dick Tracy Long, the alias he allegedly used at hotels, will say whatever he needs to cover his assets. "I am not the man that has been portrayed on television," he told his congregation. He stressed that he would fight the charges and added, "I feel like David and Goliath, but I've got five rocks and I haven't thrown one yet." Long received a standing ovation.
Even though there have been rumors about the pastor for years, his religious zombies are shocked at the accusations and will believe him at any cost, however delusional. No matter if the alleged truth whispers from aisle to aisle every Sunday or if the truth blatantly stares them in their faces weekly, there is still dismay. Who can blame them? Reality is hard to digest when you believe your pastor is a historian, teacher, therapist — or a baby-sitter for teenage boys.
In an attempt to be sympathetic, I will say that if Long is guilty of these deeds, he is to some degree a victim of the homophobia that many sectors of the black church, and churches of various backgrounds, proudly endorse. The 57-year-old was likely taught a worldview that didn't embrace acceptance of anything outside of heterosexual and Christian. What would make Long despicable is his alleged abuse of power, and so my sympathy would evaporate quickly. If you want to be a self-hating church queen, then keep it to yourself.
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