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Posts for February, 2012

The Definition of Megalomania

Jim Burroway

February 3rd, 2012

From Webster’s:

1: a mania for great or grandiose performance
2: a delusional mental disorder that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur

Webster’s definition is insufficient to diagnose Atlanta’s Bishop Eddie Long, so I will leave the determination of whether he suffers from a mental disorder to those who have the credentials to do so. But I do think this should at least provide sufficient illustration for the dictionary’s definition of the word:

For his Jan. 29th service at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, where he took a leave of absence late last year in the wake of child molestation allegations, Bishop Long featured a Rabbi, Ralph Messer, who spoke at length about why Long is a “king.” Presenting what he claimed were 300-year-old sacred scrolls discovered some 70 years ago outside a concentration camp in Germany, Messer pronounced Eddie Long as king in “God’s government.”

YouTube Preview Image

Long has been crowned Atlanta’s Sun Myung Moon.

UPDATE via Joe.My.God: I wonder if Rabbi Messer knows this guy.

Eddie Long: David v. Goliath

Timothy Kincaid

September 26th, 2010
Eddie Long in the Mirror

Eddie Long: A Guy With an iPhone

Bishop Eddie Long took to the pulpit today to defend himself against growing charges that he used his position, wealth, influence, and power to groom teenage boys for his sexual use. (AJC)

I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man, but I am not the man being portrayed on television That’s not me. That is not me.

I am not going to try this case in the media, it will be tried in the court of justice and decided in the court of justice. Please hear this: 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. I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.

I’ve noticed of late that those who seek to prey on others are quickest to wrap themselves in the mantle of martyr. To portray themselves as the victim of powerful nefarious forces.

Bishop Eddie Long with his international fame, multi-million dollar mansion, private jets, powerful political allies, and 25,000 cheering parishioners is the “David”, while these penniless boys are the “Goliath.”

Eddie Long loves his money and his power and if he goes down, it won’t be gracefully. He’s promised to fight the charges. In his press conference following the service he said

“On the advice of counsel, I am not going to address the allegations and the attacks. I want this to be dealt with in the court of justice not the court of public opinion. I am going to fight. Fight very vigorously. Things New Birth has stood for … we will continue to do.”

Long May Resign As A Fourth Accuser Comes Forward

Jim Burroway

September 24th, 2010

Black Voices reports that Bishop Eddie Long, the virulently anti-gay megachurch pastor who has been accused of improper sexual conduct with three male youth group members, may step down as pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church following his sermon on Sunday. 

This comes amid rumors that as many as thirty other young men have contacted attorney B.J. Bernstein about filing lawsuits against Long or joining existing lawsuits. Bernstein already represented three young men who alleged that Long abused his spiritual authority to seduce them with cars, money, clothes, jewelry, international trips and access to celebrities in exchange for sexual favors. Today, Bernstein filed a fourth lawsuit on behalf of another young man:

His latest accuser, Spencer LeGrande, claims he was 17 when he began a sexual relationship with Long while accompanying the bishop on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya.

LeGrande, of Charlotte, N.C., alleges in a civil suit filed Friday in DeKalb Countythat Long gave him an Ambien, a popular prescription sleep aid, followed by a “prolonged hug,” kissing and rubbing, according to the suit.

The suit claims the two shared a bed for the remainder of their trip.

LeGrande moved to North Carolina in 2009 when he became disillusioned with his relationship with Long. LeGrand’s father spoke to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and said that while he didn’t know about the relationship, there were red flags. He also said he wondered why his son’s stay in Atlanta seem to end so abruptly.

The other three lawsuits also accuse Long of using Bible verses to reinforce a spiritual connection between himself and the young [men], and  he called the young men his “spiritual sons.” ABC News has obtained two guys-with-iphones stlye photos that Long sent to one of the men in which he is seen wearing a muscle shirt and spandex.

According to the allegations, the sexual relationships began when the boys were seventeen, which is above the age of consent in Georgia. Long appears to have followed a pattern of singling out boys who did not have a strong relationship with their fathers.

Long has been among the more virulently anti-gay pastors. Sirius/XM Radio’s Michelangelo Signorile played a portion of a 2007 sermon in which Long declared, “God says you deserve death!”

[Hat tip: Alvin McEwen]

I Want To Become An Anti-Gay Preacher

Jim Burroway

September 23rd, 2010
Bishop Eddie Long's Estate

Bishop Eddie Long's Estate — Think of all that closet space!

Why not? I get to live in a house like this, drive a Bently, meet the President, and have my pick of all the beautiful boys in my youth group. Plus, I look a whole lot better in a muscle tee.

If You See These Photos On Grindr, Put Down the Phone and RUN!

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010
Eddie Long in the Mirror

Eddie Long: A Guy With an iPhone

ABC News has obtained some seriously TMI photos of Bishop Eddie Long, the rabidly anti-gay preacher who has been accused by three men of inappropriate sexual conduct. According to B.J. Bernstein, the lawyer for two of the men accusing Long of coercing them into having sex with him, the photos were sent to one of the plaintifs via e-mail in November 2008 and is signed, “Eddie L Long, Amazed by His Grace.” Bernstein asks:

“What pastor in his right mind sends a picture from himself, posing in his bathroom in a muscle shirt? None that I know of. Especially one who is a committed homophobe.”

Eddie Long

Eddie Long, "Amazed by His Grace."

Umm, … yuck!

According to separate lawsuits filed in DeKalb County, Ga., by [Maurice] Robinson, [Anthony] Flagg and now [Jamal] Parris, Long conducted what they called private spiritual ceremonies in which he “coerced certain young male members and employees” into sexual acts and relationships. Now in their 20s, the men claim in their lawsuits that they were teenagers when Long showered them with “cars, clothes, jewelry and electronics,” flew them across the world in private jets and booked them into luxury hotels, all the while pushing them into a sexual relationship.

…In the lawsuit, Robinson and Flagg claim that Long used Bible Scripture to “reinforce the God-like connection between himself and the young [men]. The accusations, according to court documents, also claim that Long would try to block sexual relationships the young men had with women.

A Third Lawsuit Filed Against Eddie Long

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010

CNN is reporting that a third lawsuit has been filed against Atlanta megachurch pastor Eddie Long alleging coercion, negligence and fraud surrounding a sexual relationship with another young man. This is in addition to two other accusations that we reported earlier.

Responding to the earlier allegations, a spokesperson for Long called them “a case of retaliation and a shakedown for money by men with some serious credibility issues.” One of the plaintiffs, Marice Robinson, was arrested in June and charged with burglizing Long’s office and stealing an iPad, iPhone and other items worth more than $1,300. Robinson’s lawyer characterized the burlgary as an attemp to retaliate against the pastor for his sexual transgressions after having adopted him as one of Long’s “Spiritual Sons.”

The two earlier accusations have a few tantalizing details to them:

One of the men, Anthony Flagg, 21, alleges in his suit that Long took him on overnight trips to a half-dozen American cities in recent years. “Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact,” the suit says.

The other man, Maurice Murray Robinson, 20, claims Long took him to Auckland, New Zealand, in October 2008 for his 19th birthday and engaged in oral sex with him, Robinson’s suit alleges. “Following the New Zealand trip, defendant Long regularly engaged in sexual touching, and other sexual acts with plaintiff Robinson,” Robinson’s suit alleges

Anti-Gay Megachurch Pastor Accused Of Pressuring Men Into Sex

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010

Eddie LongSurprised?

The prominent pastor of a 25,000-member megachurch near Atlanta denies allegations in a lawsuit that he coerced two young men from the congregation into a sexual relationship, his attorney said. Lawyers for the men, now 20 and 21, say they filed the lawsuit Tuesday in DeKalb County Court against Bishop Eddie Long. The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they were victims of sexual impropriety.

…The men who filed the suit were 17- and 18-year-old members of the church when they say Long abused his spiritual authority to seduce them with cars, money, clothes, jewelry, international trips and access to celebrities.

Long has campaigned against same-sex marriage, and he runs an ex-gay ministry called “Out of the Wilderness.” In 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center published a profile of Long in which he commented on how hot gay sex can be:

“Men can look attractive when they are dirty,” writes Bishop Eddie Long in his 1997 book I Don’t Want Delilah, I Need You! “We see sweating, dirty, hardworking men on television all the time and we say to one another, ‘There’s a macho guy.'”

Moments later, he would repeat the Levitical mandate that gays be put to death. “Homosexuality and lesbianism are spiritual abortions,” Long says.

Why Does Focus Fear the Snakeywolves?

Timothy Kincaid

January 23rd, 2008

snakeywolf2.bmp
This spring, Soulforce will follow their successful campaign to bring awareness to conservative campuses with a campaign to bring Good News to evangelical mega-churches. They have identified six pastors and churches that they wish to approach and seek dialog:

• Rev. Joel Osteen and the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas
• Bishop T.D. Jakes and The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas
• Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. and Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland
• Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia
• Rev. Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois
• Dr. Rick Warren and Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California

They have sent letters to each of these pastors

The letters inform each pastor that a delegation of families with two moms and two dads, as well as supportive heterosexual-parent and single-parent families, plans to visit each church. The letters invite their congregations to collaborate in creating opportunities for meaningful conversations. Over the next several weeks, staff from Soulforce, UFMCC, NBJC, and COLAGE will negotiate peaceful forums with members from each of the congregations.

Some might think that such efforts are futile, but history shows us that it if we don’t speak to those who oppose us we cannot have any hope of influencing them. And we have also seen some who have been willing to allow God to shift their thinking on issues surrounding sexual orientation.

Polls have also shown that those who are familiar with gay people are far more likely to support gay civil equality. We also know that it is far easier to condemn the person whom you don’t know than it is to look someone in the face and offer them cruelty.

Perhaps it is the potential for true communication that has frightened Focus on the Family. FOTF’s Caleb Price has sent out a warning against the churches meeting with or listening to Soulforce. And Price expresses his concerns in the most fearful and demonizing of ways.

“As with any temptation to disregard God’s clear word on any given matter, this attempt by Soulforce and their allies is a classic example of what we see in Genesis Chapter 3, when the serpent tempts Eve by [asking] ‘Did God really say …?'” says Price. “And I think perhaps the biggest lesson we can take from that account is it’s best not to talk to snakes. Scripture clearly teaches that there will be a great falling away in the last days and there will be wolves in sheep’s clothing who will try to enter into the fold and deceive even the elect.”

Portraying Soulforce as snakes and wolves (or perhaps snakeywolves), Price seeks to keep churches from seeing Soulforce’s members as human, as children of God. Accusing them of being tempters to a false doctrine, Price aligns Soulforce with forces of evil.

“These churches that have been targeted by Soulforce need to be clear about the real agenda behind these staged actions,” he says. “It’s not for dialogue and greater understanding — it’s to tempt them to embrace a false doctrine, which will keep many from the gospel message of hope and transformation for those who are trapped in homosexuality.”

However, there is hope that with such obvious and blatant fear-mongering, Price’s efforts may not be effective. We have faith to believe that some within the mega-churches will be able see beyond snakeywolves and emissaries of Satan and will hear the message brought by sincere and devout Christians seeking to spread the Good News of a loving and inclusive God.