Bishop Eddie Long

Bishop Eddie Lee Long is a Conservative Christian and senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a megachurch in unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia. He is known for preaching loudly and strenuously against marriage equality and homosexuality. In 2010 three under aged male church members complained that they all had sexual relationships with the bishop. [1] [2]

Anti-Gay Activism

CNN has said "Long frequently denounces homosexual behavior." Long has endorsed gay conversion therapy to recruit gays and lesbians for what he called "Sexual Reorientation" conferences and his church offers an ongoing "Out of the Wilderness" ministry to help convert homosexuals into heterosexuals (despite that it is impossible to convert your sexual orientation).

In 2004, Long led a march with Bernice King to the grave of her father, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr The march was a protest against marriage equality and in support of a national constitutional amendment to ban gays from getting married.

In 2006, Long's appearance at Atlanta's Interdenominational Theological Center's spring graduation stirred up controversy, and led to some students discussing a boycott. Long's invitation prompted Black liberation theologian James Cone—who was scheduled to receive an honorary degree—to boycott the ceremony. Thirty-three graduating seniors sent a letter to the seminary's president "questioning Long's theological and ethical integrity to be their commencement speaker." Many students did not agree with Long's beliefs that God can "deliver" homosexuals and his teachings on prosperity.

A 2007 article in the Southern Poverty Law Center's magazine called him "one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement."


A photo of Eddie Long that he sent to his rape victims.

On September 21 and 22, 2010, Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, and Jamal Parris filed separate lawsuits in DeKalb County Superior Court alleging that Long used his pastoral influence to coerce them into a sexual relationship with him. On September 24, Spencer LeGrande, a member of a New Birth satellite church in Charlotte, North Carolina, filed a similar suit, making him the fourth man to file a lawsuit claiming sexual misconduct by Long. The plaintiffs state that Long placed the men on the church’s payroll, bought them fancy cars and other gifts, and took them on trips on his private jet to destinations such as Kenya, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands, Trinidad, Honduras, New Zealand, and New York City. The lawsuits stated that Long would "discuss the Holy Scripture to justify and support the sexual activity." Flagg's suit claims that Long presided over a "covenant" ceremony between the two of them. Flagg's attorney said that the ceremony was "essentially a marriage ceremony, with candles, exchange of jewelry, and biblical quotes."

Long denied the allegations through his attorneys and spokesman. In a prepared statement, Long said, "I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply.[...] But my faith is strong and the truth will emerge. All I ask for is your patience as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges."

Roland Martin, a commentator for CNN and TV One, was scheduled to interview Long during a segment on the Tom Joyner Morning Show to discuss the two lawsuits. However, the lawsuit filed by Parris on September 22 prompted Long's legal team to cancel the Martin interview as well as a planned news conference. Long's attorney spoke to Martin on behalf of his client on Joyner's show instead.

On September 26, Long spoke to the New Birth congregation but he did not address the issue directly. Long spoke of painful times and said, "I've been accused. I'm under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, I am not a perfect man, but this thing, I'm going to fight." Long's unwillingness to address the accusations by name prompted a group of over 70 people, headed by the pastor of a small church in South Carolina, to hold a protest rally on the steps of the Georgia state Capitol on October 31, 2010, calling for Long's resignation.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on May 27, 2011, that the lawsuits were settled out-of-court; terms were undisclosed.

Later reports indicated that although not a plaintiff, there was a potential fifth accuser who participated in the settlement discussions.

On May 30, 2011, an episode of the documentary series Sex Scandals In Religion aired on Canadian television network VisionTV. It took an investigative look at the allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by Long with young men in his care.

Other bad stuff

There have been other legal battles. Ten former members who attended church investment seminars are suing him, claiming he coerced them into investment deals that cost them their retirement savings. He recently reached a settlement in a lawsuit over a $2 million bank loan, much of which went unpaid after a real estate deal that went bad. [1]

See also