Eddie Long: homophobe, narcissist, con artist

WASHINGTON — There has never been much to admire about the ministry of Eddie Long, who presides over the much-hyped New Birth Missionary Baptist mega-church in Lithonia, Ga. He is a homophobe, a narcissist and a con artist — a man much more devoted to his own wellbeing than that of his congregants or his larger community. He has misused his pulpit in ways large and small, including a self-aggrandizing abuse of the title “bishop,” a rank that doesn’t officially exist among Baptists.

Given Long’s extremely flexible ethics over the years, it’s no surprise that he chose to engage in hush-hush negotiations aimed at settling the sexual misconduct allegations brought against him by four young men. If the civil cases are settled — a settlement is reportedly close — they will likely require non-disclosure agreements by all parties.  Long would then continue to insist that he did nothing wrong.

But he has already lost his halo — his fancy-suited, private-jet-flying, bling-wearing persuasiveness that coaxed millions of dollars out of his parishioners over the years so he and his wife could live large. He will no longer be able to draw big crowds to his anti-gay rants without eliciting snickers and snide remarks.

His credibility has been severely strained, and a secret settlement would simply ratchet up the unease that many among his parishioners must already be feeling. Wouldn’t a man of the cloth who has been falsely accused of coercing young men into having sex with him insist on a public trial to clear his name? Didn’t Long say last year that he would “fight and fight vigorously?”

He has been accused of the worst sort of exploitation. Three of the young men say the relationships started when they were teen-agers and members of a church ministry called the “LongFellows Youth Academy.” (Did I mention Long’s narcissism?) His accusers say the minister treated them to overseas trips and/or fancy gifts in exchange for sexual favors.

Church finances have already suffered in the wake of the lawsuits. The church has laid off employees and cut salaries, according to a message posted on a church Web site in March.

Of course, there are many members who insist they don’t believe the accusers. When a popular minister is charged with wrongdoing, he can always count on the unquestioning support of some. But many members will find that the spell has been broken; Long’s aura of invincibility has faded; his air of authority, once so powerful, is greatly diminished.

And that’s a very good thing.

There is now a well-established pattern of closeted gay ministers in conservative circles, men who turned their fears and unease about their sexuality outward, preaching fiery sermons that condemn homosexuality as an “abomination.” Those ministers have thrived for years in churches large and small before their deceits were uncovered. They have served congregations black, white and mixed.

But nowhere have those closeted gays — and their bigoted but straight brethren — done more harm than in the black church, where homophobia drives gays into the closet and fuels covert sexual activity. That, in turn, allows HIV/AIDS to thrive.

Nearly half the Americans living with HIV/AIDS are black, though black Americans account for less than 13 percent of the population. In the face of that staggering epidemic, too many black churches have been complicit, fostering a “down-low” culture by encouraging denial, fear and shame among gay parishioners.

Long has been in the front ranks of the homophobes. In 2004, he led thousands to march in support of a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

It’s unlikely he’d be able to draw such crowds to march under his banner again. And that, too, is a very good thing.

- Cynthia Tucker

295 comments Add your comment

Guy Incognito

April 27th, 2011
7:12 am

It’s quite sad for the congregation. Many of them have been duped into believing that giving to Eddie, was the same as giving to the Lord. I’ve seen his influence in nearly every aspect of public life in DeKalb, from his dealings with the County Police, County Schools, and the Commission, and it has not been good.

As his star fades, I pray that the folks of his church are able to find a shepherd who isn’t out to fulfill his own desires at the expense of his people

PJ

April 27th, 2011
7:18 am

Thank you for putting in print what I have been saying and feeling for years. Talk about sheep’s clothing.

Jezel

April 27th, 2011
7:20 am

Cynthia you do a great job with your articles…cutting through all the BS on most topics. Keep up the good work. Maybe other people will learn HOW TO THINK and make sense of the world we live in.

When we discover that issues do not have to be conservative or liberal, Democratic or Republican, Christian or unChristian…when we quit talking about the things that divide us and start a dialog about the things that can save our country…we might make it.

They cut hair, don't they?

April 27th, 2011
7:38 am

…and just WHAT is wrong with a sodomite preaching the biblical brimstone against sodomy for fun and profit? I can think of worse things. Like say Katie Courick thinking she can read the news. She’s the worst American citizen since Arthur Godrey. She’s a self deluded, obnoxious projection of a lacivious pretween and munchkin haute couture. If she never appears on the boobtoob again it will be too soon. If she is erased from every piece of videotape in existence we still wont get the taste of her out of our innocent mouths.

aw, I don’t wanna talk about it.

Middle of the road and looking both ways

April 27th, 2011
7:42 am

Wow! Cynthia, don’t hold back! Why has his congregation allowed him for so many years to live like he was royalty instead of using the funds to really help their community. When you think of what he paid for his Bentley and how students in the area could have used those funds for tutoring, college scholarships, lab equipment and more. Why do people give in the name of GOD to someone who does not walk in the light and love of the Christ they quote? Eddie has long used his money to buy favors for members of his church. The incompentent people hired by the School Board and County Government in DeKalb have every taxpayer footing the bill for Long’s arrogance. I hope the AJC will continue to look into the web of nepotism at all levels of government that Eddie has woven and will help us unravel it. We need competent people working for the County – not followers of Long’s.

DebbieDoRight

April 27th, 2011
7:46 am

Cynthia: Of course, there are many members who insist they don’t believe the accusers. When a popular minister is charged with wrongdoing, he can always count on the unquestioning support of some.

That’s the sad part — a lot of people fail to connect the preachings with the preacher. They’ll say, “well, as long as he’s preaching the word”; however they fail to release that whatever “word” that’s coming out of a tainted mouth IS tainted and no amount of “hallejuah’s” will make the unclean clean. Long has to confess his sins and ask for forgiveness (something we know that will NEVER happen), in order to cleanse himself from the taint of hypocrisy, adultery and sin.

Guy:As his star fades, I pray that the folks of his church are able to find a shepherd who isn’t out to fulfill his own desires at the expense of his people

Yeah. Me too.

DebbieDoRight

April 27th, 2011
7:48 am

That should be “fail to realize” lack of caffeine turns realize into release…….

They cut hair, don't they?

April 27th, 2011
7:50 am

Looks to me like debbiedoright done wrong.

Peadawg

April 27th, 2011
7:52 am

Nice article today, Cynthia. Well said!

Good Grief

April 27th, 2011
7:54 am

CT – Us Baptists do believe in “bishops,” we jsut happen to call them preachers and pastors. Good to see you’re still writing. Hope all is well, and I hope you had a happy Easter.

I was troubled by your statement that the church had to cut salaries and lay people off. I’ve always been a small, country church kind of guy, and my church has never had a salaried pastor. Our pastor gets the morning offering on certain Sundays to offset the price of travel and other things. He actually has a full time job outside of the church, which I think is a good thing.

I happen to believe that power corrupts, and if you put one person in charge of an entire church, with no other job to do, then it will go to that person’s head, just as it did with Mr. Long.

gregmac

April 27th, 2011
7:58 am

the AJC needs a like button…..thanks Ms Tucker..

hobby

April 27th, 2011
8:02 am

Eddie Long is just another in a long line of blacks, pandering to blacks, that only want to promote themselves for monetary gain. Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, Hosea Williams………..

I hope people are finally waking up to the reality of this type of “leadership”.

Emmanuel Hall

April 27th, 2011
8:03 am

I am fully aware that it is the American way, it is our right to pick and choose where we attend church and what we believe in and I would not change a thing about that right; however,It is a disgrace and harmfull that a clown like Eddie Long is allowed to misiform and mislead so many for so long. But, he has every right to do all of the above as long as he can fool enogh people to follow him. And many will continue to stand up and cheer at Long’s non-sense.
Ms. Tucker, nothing has been more hurtfull and harmfull to the Black community than these religious racketeers and crack cocaine. Characters like Eddie Long have become rich with their messages of hate toward homosexuals and their misrepersentation of the Bible.
There is a clear connection between the tea party nuts and Black people who would willingly and joyfully follow someone who charge them enough so he and his family can ride around in chariots that cost more than their homes and wear clothes that cost more than their cars. These two groups are cemented together with false information and unsurported hate.
But, rest assured that Long will continue with his con and get away with it. Long knows, as do all good con artist know, that as long as there are the seeing who will not look, they will survive.

Gale

April 27th, 2011
8:05 am

I always figured the TV ministers got away with stuff like that because the people didn’t see how they really lived. I never understood how Long’s congregation could ignore how that man lived. I hope the congregation will take a closer look at the next person who leads them.

hobby

April 27th, 2011
8:07 am

@Emmanuel
What, exactly, is the “clear connection between the tea parthy nuts and Black people who would willingly and joyfully follow someone….”??

DebbieDoRight

April 27th, 2011
8:08 am

Eddie Long is just another in a long line of blacks, pandering to blacks

13 comments in and the race card was played. Well done sir!!! Kudos! You get the bootie prize!!

Mike Conway

April 27th, 2011
8:09 am

Easter Sunday, and there they fill the church. What is wrong with these people. Why no questions about his “David vs Goliath” speech, and now secret settlements? Do those people not realize that the hard earned money they put in that plate will pay off these young men to keep their mouths shut.
30 pieces of silver indeed!
Baaa Baaa Baaa.

MountainMan

April 27th, 2011
8:09 am

It seems like all the prosperity doctrine preachers are on the wrong side of the Lord.

hobby

April 27th, 2011
8:09 am

the “TRUTH CARD” was played

geraldt

April 27th, 2011
8:13 am

Praises for Cynthia Tucker for just “putting it out there”……and without the “sugarcoating!” Bishop Long has finally been put in a position where his “DeKalb County buddies/officials” can’t sweep a matter under the rug because he’s the “Bishop!” I live down the street from New Birth and several of my neighbors attend the church. Two of the members said they heard a $4 million settlement was in fact made the week before Easter…….hmmmmmm!

Guy Incognito

April 27th, 2011
8:14 am

DDR,

You and I seeing eye-to-eye??? Can the apocalypse be far off?……..lol.
Without confession, there is no absolution.
“B”EL, for the sake of your flock, come clean, take your medicine, and demonstrate the power of God’s grace

Good Grief

April 27th, 2011
8:14 am

MountainMan @ 8:09 -
Amen to that. The Bible I read explicitly says not to build up treasure here, where it is temporary. Not that there is anything wrong with being wealthy, but more often than not, the more money in your bank account the greater the gap between you and God.

wendy

April 27th, 2011
8:14 am

sad state of affairs. pun intended. a microcosm of the catholic scandal. it’s hard to admit the preacher/institution you put your faith in hid evil. blind allegiance to church or state creates a unhealthy/unholy alliance.

Good Grief

April 27th, 2011
8:18 am

I forgot about Mr. Long’s David and Goliath speech. Amazing how David, even after his sin and repentence was called a “man after God’s own heart.” David had an affair with a lady whom he saw bathing. Of course, David then sent her husband into battle to die. Mr. Long had an “affair” with young boys, and while he didn’t kill anyone (at least that we know of)… sure, I can see the comparison to David.

Does anyone know if it is true that the New Birth building has an office for Mr. Long and another office for his ego?

Keep Up the Good Fight!

April 27th, 2011
8:18 am

Certainly there have never been a long line of white guys in a long line of white guys, pandering to whites, that only want to promote themselves for monetary gain. Why do the names Trump, Murdoch and numerous others come to mind? I’m sure we can name some religious ones too….the Franklin Graham ring a bell.

geraldt

April 27th, 2011
8:19 am

Enter your comments here

sean smith

April 27th, 2011
8:23 am

We need to change the tax code so that the folks who run non profits, whether they are churches or some other charity cant collect such huge salaries and benefits. If you work for a NON PROFIT that is tax exempt because its supposed to be helping the community then you shouldn’t be paid more than $100,000. period. If you want to get rich start a company, and I don’t mean a church.

Its not just the parishioners of New Birth who are supporting Long but all of us in the form of tax breaks for his church.

Gordon

April 27th, 2011
8:32 am

Black church members want a preacher to worship, not the Loprd; Long a perfect example. Set him up in wealth so they have someone to look up to; a true example of slavery mentality. There is no biblical reference that allows preachers to be rich. They are to depend upon followers for their needs, not to be a “star” Read your bible & find a church with a humble pastor & HELP HIM PREACH THE GOSPEL.

Nope

April 27th, 2011
8:37 am

Until the Black community recognizes the struggle for civil rights being endured by the GLBT community attitudes will not chance. Black are some of the most homophobic people in the country.

As far as New Birth goes, if these idiots want to keep throwing their $ at Long then good for all of them. “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Religion is nothing but a scam, invented to keep the poor from killing the rich.

granny godzilla

April 27th, 2011
8:39 am

Eddie Long: Jesus Wept.

sean smith

April 27th, 2011
8:45 am

Well if these black folks think that its ok to vote on my civil rights and who I can marry then maybe we need to have a vote to see if we can OWN people again.

If my civil rights are up for a vote then so are yours!

DebbieDoRight

April 27th, 2011
8:47 am

the “TRUTH CARD” was played

Oh really? You want the truth? How about:

Jim & Tammy Faye Baker
Jimmy Swaggert
Ted Haggard
Bob Allen
Glen Murphy Jr.
Larry Craig

Truth enough for ya?

Click here for some more truth! :wink:

carlosgvv

April 27th, 2011
8:47 am

Many true believer Christians will support their pastors no matter what. In order to be truly Christian you have to be truly delusional, so this support is no supprise.

Good Grief

April 27th, 2011
8:48 am

Gordon @ 8:32 -
Your comment is wrong in oh-so-many ways. Forgiving the spelling errors and assumed laziness in not writing the word “and,” your first line alone is horrifyingly erroneous. To lump all black church members into a single group is as wrong as saying all Tea Party members are racist.

And yeah, an argument could probably be made that preachers should not be wealthy, but that would require looking only at certain verses and not the whole context. As I said earlier, more often than not having more money equates to a greater gap between you and God.

I believe that, if you look at the guidelines laid out in the writings of Paul, you’ll see that “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:1-7) When it says having his children under subjection, it doesn’t mean enslaving them. It means raising well-behaved children who are brought up in admonition of the Lord and shown the way in which to walk.

But it’s hard to do those things if you are not allowed to accumulate some wealth. The Bible does say in 1 Tim 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” It does a pastor no harm to have a job outside the church.

DBH

April 27th, 2011
8:50 am

“For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” – 2 Corinthians 4:5 (NASB). Perhaps – just perhaps – Eddie Long lost sight of the fact that it is Jesus Christ, not himself, who is to be the central focus of his ministry at New Birth. Too many “pastors” today have forgotten that they are first and foremost servants. Yes, they are leaders, too, but their calling is to lead by serving. That was Christ’s example and it should be theirs as well.

ByteMe

April 27th, 2011
8:51 am

If you work for a NON PROFIT that is tax exempt because its supposed to be helping the community then you shouldn’t be paid more than $100,000. period.

You don’t have to pay yourself a lot. You just have to control the church finances so that you can get the church to buy 10 Bentleys for “ministering” and then use them during the course of your day as though it was yours to use. Same with the house, the second house, etc. It becomes a big problem, though, when the donations start to dwindle and can’t pay the upkeep. Then you have to lay off people.

Tracey H.

April 27th, 2011
8:51 am

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU for saying this. I agree with a few of the other comments regarding the blindly-led congregation of New Birth. At some point you have to realize that this is A MAN and not God himself. I feel sorry for any member who continues to go to this church and be hoodwinked by this con-artist. Shame on any of us who continue to believe in the man and not seek our own interpretation of Gods word.

HIV/AIDS Counselor

April 27th, 2011
8:53 am

Cynthia,
Thank you for speaking out. Although I’m sure you’ll get a lot of flack for this, freedom of speech needs to go both ways. Mr. Long needs to be held accountable for ALL his actions, regardless of the color of his skin. Thank you again for your bravery.

TnGelding

April 27th, 2011
8:53 am

Man of God. He’s human, just like the rest of us. You can’t blame him for taking advantage of the gullible.

Say what you want about Jimmy Swaggart, but his music ministry is inspiring.

DebbieDoRight

April 27th, 2011
8:54 am

GG: Does anyone know if it is true that the New Birth building has an office for Mr. Long and another office for his ego?

Yes, it was true — however they had to convert that second office into storage to house all of Long’s porn, ummm, religious artificats. :wink:

Call it like it is

April 27th, 2011
8:56 am

In desperate times, people will flock to these mega churches for some type of comfort. It has always amazed me when I see these preachers in their mega cars, rings on every finger, custom suits, spreading the word. And when did it become so fashionable to get your wife, hold your hands up to the sky and get on a billboard??? There most be a 100 or more of these billboards in the metro area.

And yes it is a black and white thing. I was visting a friends mega church in woodstock and happen to be there the day they were discussing the budget…..wow. Car for the preacher, library budget for the preacher, travel expense for the preacher, sect for the preacher, 6 figures for the preacher. Really??? Last time I went.

DebbieDoRight

April 27th, 2011
8:57 am

carlosgov: Many true believer Christians will support their pastors no matter what. In order to be truly Christian you have to be truly delusional, so this support is no supprise.

Although you and I differ on religious, ummmm, “perspectives”; that was one of the funniest quotes today!! Thanks for the laugh!

joe in tucker

April 27th, 2011
8:58 am

I’m digging out my winter clothes and putting them all on in light of the pending severe weather change, because for the first time, I actually agree with something Ms. Tucker said – so hell must be freezing over!

Good Grief

April 27th, 2011
8:59 am

Debbie @ 8:54 -

I was actually just doing some research and I found out that New Birth actually took the other office and put nothing but mirrors in it. So I guess it is still an office for his ego.

Also, I didn’t think it would take too long for the comments to start coming in that religious people are less intelligent or, as carlosgvv put it “truly delusional.” It saddens me to know that some people have to denigrate religion in order to feel better about themselves.

Ron

April 27th, 2011
8:59 am

If Edwina Long will go to such lengths as back door negotiations to cover up something that he said he was “gon fight”, watch him closely because he would have someone hurt or worse to protect what’s left of the empire. And if Bernice intends to continue hanging the ‘civil rights leader’ moniker around her neck, then she should fight for the rights of these brainwashed boys.

Feline Lover

April 27th, 2011
8:59 am

Maybe it was a Cheshire artificat.

hobby

April 27th, 2011
9:01 am

@Debbie

There are no doubt many more white preachers that are living large off of their flock, many right here in Georgia.

kayaker 71

April 27th, 2011
9:02 am

My neighbor across the street lives in a lake front home, drives a Mercedes S500, his wife drives a Lexus coupe…. they are arrogant whiners and complainers about all of their neighbors. He is the HMFIC of the largest Baptist church in Macon….. damn thing looks like a cathedral. All done on tax exempt contributions from the flock. You wonder where these parishioners get their common sense.

carlosgvv

April 27th, 2011
9:03 am

Good Grief

What makes you think I “have to denigrate religion in order to feel better about myself”? There is no logical reason whatever for you to believe that. I can only conclude that when anyone threatens your religious delusions, you strike out blindly to hide your deep seated anxiety that I might be right.

Swaga1

April 27th, 2011
9:03 am

I completely agree Cynthia….couldn’t have said it better myself. Eddie Long deserves everything he has coming to him. His followers are like a cult and believes everthing he says and denies every accusation that’s brought against him without even questioning that it may be true. There are a lot of DL brothas out there who shout out against Homosexuality and same sex marriage but engage in the behavior themselves just to get the spot light off of them. it’s a shame.