…life from my perspective
“I’m EDDIE LONGING NI**AS in this Madden 2011.” – 2 (Toussaint Werner)
In September 2010, a sexual scandal involving Georgia mega pastor Bishop Eddie Long surfaced and was rife with allegations he coerced four young men into performing sexual favors in exchange for material gifts. Lawsuits were brought forth by the four male accusers – Anthony Flagg, Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande who were all teenagers and members of Long’s congregation during the time the alleged incidents occurred. The lawsuits stated that Long used his monetary wealth and position of power to entice the young men into having sexual relationships with him. International trips, cars, clothes and jewelry were said to have been given in return for oral sex, masturbation and massages. Long and his attorneys denied those allegations and continue to maintain that Long was simply a supportive mentor and father figure to the young men.
Today, Long and his lawyers reached an out of court settlement with his four accusers, the details of which are undisclosed. Hmmm…oh well. Thank goodness THAT’S over so we can all return to church on Sunday and life can go back to normal. WHAT THE FUCK IS THE HAPPENING PEOPLE? WHAT IS WRONG WITH US? WHAT IS OUR WORLD COMING TO? It wasn’t enough that Catholic priests sexually abused altar boys FOR YEARS ON END without being subject to any REAL disciplinary action or criminal investigation. NOW such things are possibly occurring in the black church too? And while Long to this day professes his innocence, to even be associated with such accusations is enough for the black community to find you guilty before proven innocent. So since I’m a member of the black community, his ass is guilty. Wrong as two left shoes. Out of court settlement? Guilty. There are SO many issues on the table here I’ll probably blow a fuse trying to make sense of it all. What stands out in my mind is the adult-male on teenage-male SEXUAL behavior. Not only are these children, DESPITE in Georgia the age of consent to have consensual sex is 16, but dude you on some GAY shit AND you a PASTOR who vehemently opposed homosexuality AND gay marriage? Come on man. For real? I have to be very careful about how I approach the homosexuality argument because “GAY” is the new “JEW.” Remember there was a time if ever you said anything against Jews you were labeled antisemitic? Well NOW it seems if you say anything against homosexuality or the gay community you’re homophobic. Can’t NOBODY use the word gay no more. If you don’t believe me ask David Stern.
What’s REALLY, REALLY giving me pause is this is happening, more often than not, in black churches across the nation and quite possibly around the world. But what’s really the issue? The fact that he was accused of engaging in an extra-marital affair? That fact that he was a accused of engaging in homosexual acts? The fact that he was accused of engaging in sexual acts with multiple teenage boys? The fact that he was a pastor accused of all of the above? I think Long being a pastor forces him to be examined through a lens the general public will never be seen through. He’s to be held to a higher standard than the rest because he has a greater responsibility than most. And while I rarely get enamored with the messenger, incidents like this serve to keep me focused on the message because the messengers are human beings. With flaws. Inadequacies, shortcomings and internal conflicts they are contending with just like you and I. This rationale doesn’t give Long a pass, nor does it justify his behavior. It DOES call into question the abuse of power and corruption by those in high places and gives credence to the claim that the black church is failing the black community. You can’t get people high off the spirit and then use God to manipulate their emotions. You can’t take advantage of people who you KNOW are in a vulnerable space for the sole purpose of advancing your agenda in the name of The Lord. Those that do this aren’t apostles. They aren’t prophets. They aren’t the second coming. They are the perpetrators of the acts they are committing. Liars. Cheaters. Manipulators. Attention Seekers. Greedmongers. And as members of the black community, the church community, we must hold these people accountable for their misconduct regardless of who they are and what seat they hold. You can’t turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to abuse and corruption because “that’s my pastor.” You can’t allow the abuser of his position to continue to occupy his seat because “that’s my pastor.” We are not called to place judgment but to make judgment calls which spring forth objective and wise decision making that will force us to respond and act accordingly.
I will admit I am conflicted and my faith in the black church needs to be restored. And to be quite honest, this Eddie Long situation isn’t helping. I’ve been told the sins of the world are in the church but I am also aware that God dwells amongst the people. Fellowship is not only good it is necessary. You need to feel God’s presence. Your senses need to be awakened through shared experiences and raw emotion. You need to laugh, cry, hug and kiss. Church doesn’t have to occur in a 25,000 seat arena like Long’s, it can commence in the comforts of your home. Church is where respect lives. And ideas grow. Where faith is the soil and inquiry is the mustard seed. Where objectivity is encouraged, inspiration happens and love is the conduit for growth and change. So don’t feel bad if you missed church last Sunday (unless you were drunk off liquors), just make it a point to have church as frequently as you can with as many as you can. AND STAY AWAY FROM THE EDDIE LONG TYPE BLANKETY BLANKS!! Until tomorrow youngn’s…