Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Bishop Eddie Long: Praise Be!

Long took his own advice to heart. He drove a Bentley, travelled in a private jet and lived in a $1.4 million house in Atlanta, where he grew the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church from a few hundred congregants to 25,000 in one of the most affluent African-American suburbs in the country, with millions more watching services on television.

According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report from 2005, he established a tax-exempt charity that made $3.1 million in donations from 1997 to 2000 and paid him more than $3 million in salary, benefits and property use. He engaged a tax lawyer who made a video called How to Maximise Your Clergy Salary and Benefits Package. Long was unapologetic...

As well as holding trenchant views on the role of women, Long railed against homosexuality. It was all the more eyebrow-raising, then, when four young men filed lawsuits alleging that Long coerced them into sex. It was claimed that the bishop acted as a spiritual adviser and father figure to them and was generous with gifts, then engaged in sexual acts with them on trips once they reached the age of consent.

Long denied the allegations. “I am not a perfect man but this thing I’m gonna fight,” he told his congregation, to a standing ovation. “I feel like David against Goliath.” In 2011, Long reached an out-of-court settlement with his accusers; the details were not made public. His wife, at first planning to divorce Long, stood by him, but the image of the church and its leader never fully recovered.

The Times.

The notion that homophobes are secretly gay is such a tired old trope, but you know...

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