Last week, it was announced that Atlanta-based anti-gay mega-church pastor Eddie Long is on the verge of settling the four sexual coercion lawsuits filed against him and his church. Long is accused of luring at least four young men into sexual relationships and using church funds to give them cash, gifts and cars. Long has publicly maintained his innocence and vowed to "fight" the charges.
Cynthia Tucker, the former editorial page editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now the paper's national political columnist, has slammed Long's "hypocrisy" in a blistering new column.
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.
Tucker frames Long's behavior—and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church's reluctance to dismiss the pastor—as yet another example of the Black church's hypocrisy and unease around same-sex behavior.
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.
Tucker is a must-read. Read the full column HERE.
In related news: Long delivered a scaled down Easter Sunday sermon at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Long avoided any mention of the lawsuit or possible settlement but likened his fate to the resurrection and promised parishioners, "I shall rise again."
R20's complete EDDIE LONG coverage.