We’re used to the Catholic churches being embroiled in public sex scandals but now a Black church is in the midst of one. Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta has come under fire after four men in his congregation have accused him of making sexual advances onto them.
According to a lawsuit filed against Long, the relationships with the men started when they were teens. The drama kept unfolding last week as photos of the 57-year-old televangelist in spandex—allegedly sent to the men’s cell phones—surfaced on the Web. Long hadn’t commented publicly on the incident until Sunday (Sept. 26) when he gave a speech to his congregation addressing the allegations:
“I am not the man that has been portrayed on television,” he said. “I’ve been accused, I’m under attack… I want you to know, as I said earlier, that I am not a perfect man. But this thing, I’m going to fight. I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”
While interviewing members of Long’s congregation, CNN anchor Don Lemmon admitted on air that he was sexually abused as a child:
“I have never admitted this on TV. I’m a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid. Someone who was much older than me… Those are the things that they do. The language, ‘This doesn’t make you gay, if you do this…’ So when someone starts to say that, you start to perk and say, ‘ho…'”
DISCUSS: Is Bishop Eddie Long innocent until proven guilty? Does this taint your image of him or the church? Is sexual abuse taboo in the Black community?