I find it interesting when Evangelical pastors, who have been wildly homophobic to our community, are then mourned by the public and media as if a great loss has occurred when they are eventually caught in (alleged) hypocrisy. What motivates journalists to proclaim it a tragedy? Are reporters in Atlanta upset that someone who is a proven homophobe can no longer practice their craft?
Maybe it’s a well-coordinated, fairly sophisticated conspiracy among several young men to shake down Bishop Eddie Long, a successful, revered leader who has built New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into a powerhouse of Christian service.
Sad as that would be, it would certainly be the better outcome. Because if the opposite proves true and the allegations against Long are valid, the tragedy deepens.
Lawsuits filed this week by three young men who entered Long’s orbit as mere boys allege truly troubling predatory behavior on the part not just of Long but of those close to him. In short, they claim that Long prostituted the faith he preached and the resources of the church he led in order to satisfy his sexual urges with those who had almost no defense against him.
How old were those boys when the alleged sexual relationship began? If they were the age of legal consent, was there something else at work that might have made them more likely to be victimized? Was there a prevailing attitude and culture in this particular denomination that might have led a predatory behavior to be more likely dismissed by members, and leaders, of the congregation, and even the pastor’s closest family? Lots of important questions need to be answered, but this is only a tragedy if you approach it from the perspective of those who have not been on the receiving end of Pastor Eddie Long’s brand of Christian faith that promotes hate and intolerance.
I’m anxious to see if New Birth Missionary Baptist Church quickly does the right thing and begins a thorough investigation, or whether they attempt to sweep all of this under the rug, and try to destroy the reputations of the four young men while claiming nothing ever happened. Some of the comments from the deluded followers of Eddie Long below Jay Bookman’s article are quite telling.
The deep tragedy, Mr. Bookman, is Bishop Eddie Long was never shunned nor taken to task by the good people of Atlanta, and the media at large, for his hateful homophobia, but instead he was revered.