It seems to me as though there is some mysterious system of timing these blockbuster news stories to be released to the public because just as soon as one scandal is over, here comes the next one.Anyone who has a pulse has probably heard about the news coming out of Atlanta Georgia about the allegations of Mega-Church Pastor Eddie Long.
According to what these four young men claim, Pastor Long took them separately on various overnight trips in expensive lavish hotels and showering them with jewelry, electronics and gifts as he slowly groomed them over time for a sexual relationship that was said to include kissing, touching of a sexual nature, masturbation and oral sex.
These are some very serious claims to say the least!
Now it would be so easy to ride the gossip train and add fuel to the fire by adding my two cents in a negative way because human nature being what it is unchecked has a fascination with stories such as this where someone prominent takes a huge fall into public disgrace.
It could be a politician, athlete, actress/actor or any type of performer but NOTHING beats the blunt force of finding out that one who is in the position to uphold the righteous moral principles as well as being a standard for righteous behavior more than a man of God getting caught up in a sex scandal! The networks love it because it literally guarantees awesome ratings as well as the gossip websites and print media.
This means lots of money to many people! Nothing beats a good church sex scandal! Remember the Jim And Tammy Fay Baker circus over two decades ago? I actually try NOT to remember that debacle! Why? For those of us who might remember that particular point in time, one couldn't turn on the television set without seeing some new angle to the story whether it was fabricated, implied, the truth or just a downright lie!
Yes! There WAS truth to many of the bizarre angles to that situation, and no matter what the truth is in the Pastor Eddie Long matter, I can see that it has the ingredients to come close to rivaling the Baker sideshow in a slightly different manner. But my reason for commenting on this latest unfortunate happening is NOT to point fingers but to take a look at those who help to fan the flames of something that is already out of control!
Now, I don't know the Pastor personally and have never attended his church, but we can safely say that he is a very prominent man in the worldwide and local communities for a vast amount of reasons. The 2006 funeral of Coretta Scott King (Widow of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) was held there and attended by then president George Bush and three former presidents. He has done so much for the community and has an active congregation of over 25,000 members, you don't get these kind of numbers without some measure of hard work and sacrifice.
That being said, it is quite possible for these allegations to be true, I don't know and can't say, I would be wrong to judge but at this point it could be a possibility because he has the money to pull off this kind of scenario undetected for the most part as this is what makes it such a compelling situation because the line of reality and falsehood could be bent to support either side!
So is the Pastor Eddie long freak show a legitimate sex scandal or an opportunistic money shakedown?The facts could be revealed swiftly or this could drag on for months or maybe years! Remember and never forget that Pastor Eddie Long, just like so many of us, is just a human being and is NOT perfect, so understand that while he might be guilty of none, all or some of these damaging allegations, how many of US would be fodder to the nightly news programs if our crap were revealed to the world? And while my crap wouldn't involve anything along "those" lines, I still wouldn't want my past shenanigans to be laid out for the world to see as this could be a very stressful situation to live through indeed!
While I have written this article in a political correct manner thus far, let me now take off the kid gloves and let my opinion hang out in raw fashion in a way that I know many who follow my expressions truly love and a few of you won't appreciate.......
Love me or hate me, I just have to say it.......
Now if you are under 18 years of age please read NO FURTHER than this sentence and do click the red box containing the white "X" in the upper right hand corner of your monitor, thank you!
Now to thwart the inevitable avalanche of e-mail that is surely to come my way, let me say boldly that what I am about to say is on the premise of him being guilty of these charges. I know many are about to tell me about "judging not" and about "touching not my anointed" but these opinions of mine, since I wasn't present at the time of these alleged events are based on the word "IF!"
First of all on a humorous level, I just thought it was SO FUNNY that a man who is accused of engaging in oral sex with younger men would have the lawsuit filed by an attorney by the name of "B.J." Bernstein! LOL! B.J! Is this a hint of things to come? This may NOT be God's doing but it has been said that God has an awesome sense of humor and I wouldn't doubt that this display of an ironic twist is one of them! LOL! B.J! LOL!
Now too many of us are too weak to stand up and call out for the accountability of the actions of our chosen religious leaders! These people are human too and must have their actions, movements, behaviors as well as their finances audited in a manner that keeps their lives transparent so there will be absolutely no doubt as to their innocence when accusations such as these surface.
For all of those who say that I am out of place for even considering him guilty until proven innocent I say what about him conducting himself in a way that would not even lend his character to come under such scrutiny! If is IS true that he took a young man out of the country on expensive trips with no one ever questioning what was THIS all about? Why was he left alone with these young men for them to be ABLE to accuse him of such a travesty? Whenever large sums of money are spent, someone SOMEwhere has to know what is going on!
Many of your Elders will tell you how the Pastors of old conducted themselves in a dignified manner 100% of the time in their lives and never depended on getting the benefit of the doubt in a suspect situation because "I am the Pastor!"
Those Pastors of our previous generations knew how to carry themselves, if a man of God came to a female congregation members home to pray for them or visit them as they recuperated from a sickness, the Pastor would NOT enter those premises if the man of the house was not present. The ONLY way that he would enter a woman's home would be if his wife was with him or another female congregation member was present to accompany him to her house! Even then the meeting would be succinct and to the point.
As you can see by these examples, even though he may have been a man of integrity he made SURE not to partake in any situation that might have the appearance of wrongdoing. PERIOD.
........because there ALWAYS someone near no matter WHAT time it was peeking out of their venetian blinds who was an active member of his congregation who would blow the whistle on ANYTHING that didn't look right! Soon after the church board of directors would soon summon him for an emergency closed door meeting to be accountable as to why he was seen entering sister "so and so's" house for three hours in the evening while her truck driving husband was out of state working!
The functional word here is ACCOUNTABILITY!
.......and many have told me NOT to judge but since when is holding one accountable to their actions is judging? You see, this is the very damn reason why these shysters get away with what they do because we are too afraid to open our mouths when it is obvious that something fishy is going on! You mean to tell me that YOU as a parent doesn't think something is not right when a Pastor buys your son a car?
Takes him on trips?
Buys him jewelry?
What happen to the rest of the flock?
Why couldn't he start a fund to help everyone?
If he bragged about his international influence then why couldn't he have started a charity to elevate EVERYONE'S financial profile?
You see, I don't care if the consenting age is sixteen in Georgia and I don't care if my son is 17 0r 18 or 50! That will ALWAYS be my baby and if I see something going on that is NOT proper I am divinely correct to investigate the situation because no matter what ANY law says here in this Sodom and Gomorrah called The United States Of America, there never will be an expiration date for a parent to BE a parent!
We never accused our Pastors of any undignified behavior because they themselves made sure to stay AWAY from any questionable situation and if they failed to do so the rules of conduct as well as those ever watchful Deacons would stop a bad situation DEAD in its tracks!
What is so messed up about the present day is that a high profile preacher not only has to be careful of how he conducts himself around the women but now he has to watch his behavior around the MEN!
It seems these days there is much more freedom given to our spiritual leaders without the built in restraints that would prevent so many from falling into that ever present temptation that is never ever too far from a person of great power and influence. Why did Pastor Eddie Long have so much freedom for anyone to be able to raise these allegations? If the safeguards were in place there wouldn't be even a small chance for these charges to survive for a moment!
I just do not see the sense in one man and his family living so lavishly when I am quite sure that there may be members of his church who might be going through some rough financial times.
Heck, why should someone live in such excess when there are people in the world who are suffering, elderly people who have no living family cannot get the necessary medicine and care, babies who are hungry or with ailments where there parents can't even afford to provide them with care!
The list goes on and on so knowing this you mean to tell me that a preacher needs a tennis court on his premises? Swimming pool? Multiple car garages with a half a dozen exotic luxury cars in it of his choosing?
How about downsizing these pastor pimp's premises to something a little more reasonable, if they are doing God's anointed work, they would NOT have time for tennis, sport and play. Because the last time I not only watched the news but drove my bus through the various neighborhoods that my route takes me through, I see that the WORLD is in bad shape mentally, spiritually and physically and in dire need of dedicated, committed spiritual warriors.......not a damn tennis player!
A Pastor with a Bentley in his garage?
When you could take that four hundred thousand dollars that it took to pay for that SAME Bentley and make a huge purchase of acres of land somewhere on the outskirts of town to build extremely small housing units to house the homeless and downtrodden. Donations from EVERYONE including the government especially tax breaks would be welcomed and happily received. Those who are eventually able to work would make affordable contributions to their dwelling as long as they lived there and would never be asked to leave if they wanted to stay. Brand new buses would be donated by local transportation companies and given a tax break for the cost of the bus and several drivers would be employed to drive those residents who have jobs into the city free of charge. A small completely equipped hospital would be constructed on the site of these housing units and would be the perfect place for medical interns to learn their craft from the senior healthcare staff and would insure a quality of life for those residents.
Am I suggesting a handout to people who have fallen under hard times or are unable to care for themselves? Handout NO! Moral duty from those who are blessed to be able to do for themselves? YES! Tell me this, what profession is Pastor Eddie Long in to attain the filthy rich lifestyle, luxuries and material possessions that the world will now look into because of the accusations of inappropriate behavior? WELL THEN! Seems like HE received a handout from the congregation! I see no sense in a mere man greedily feasting at a banquet while another man will sleep on the cold concrete as a victim to the harsh elements of street life while he is glad to merely consume a dirt laced insect laden leftover sandwich out of a dirty garbage can for dinner to temporarily chase away the hunger pangs in his gut for a short time!
It's amusing how far off of the mark and permissive that we have gotten as a people in regard to the sanctity of our practice of religion. You've probably heard it time and time again but we have gotten so caught up in the religious fervor of the worship game that we have lost the all important sense of why we have attended church in the first place and that is to elevate our spiritual development and awareness!
While that may be a beautiful hairstyle that you are wearing to the service that took you three hours the day before to attain in the hot uncomfortable confines of your local beauty parlor but it doesn't bring you an inch closer to a higher understanding of God's word and it surely will not help you on Judgment Day if your name is not written in The Book Of Life!
Those huge tithes and extravagant offerings sure look good when the weekly take is tallied up as it becomes evident week after week that you may be one of the top tithers of all your fellow church members. But if your giving is done in the spirit of narcissism, to be seen, it literally amounts to NOTHING if you think that you are winning bonus points in the Kingdom of God! If truth be told, your tithe offering is already God's money. I mean, hasn't He given you so much already in this life and didn't He wake you up this morning? So in actuality if He instructed you to give Him EVERYTHING, you had better not move your mouth to complain about ANYTHING because He is the reason why you are even here!
In my book Pastor Eddie Long IS guilty because we ALL had a hand in creating the Mega Church Pimp Pastor Monster which makes US all guilty! I say this with a broad stroke so don't come back running to me to call me a liar if he is found not guilty of those disgusting charges! If you do then you did NOT understand the spirit in which I say he is guilty!
It's because we as the flock to these preachers have failed to do our job!
WE have fallen far off of the mark as far as what the church has become and what it once was to us as a people. After and during slavery it was a place of true empowerment, as place to truly network in order to change the travesties committed on us in immeasurable amounts.
Attending church was not about play.
It was a life and death endeavor. We wanted life eternally because we experienced hell from the womb!
While the shadow of death hung closely over our heads everyday and night, we went to church to become divinely imbibed with life!
We cried out to our Lord not for a bigger house but for the strength to make it just another week in a country that saw us as subhuman even though the oppressors that inflicted the inhuman punishment on our weary bodies and tired souls acted as subhumans!
Our houses of worship have become the Sunday morning club! We don't have to go out on a Saturday night to the cocktail lounge, dance hall or the titty bar, it's all right there in the mega church........
.......Aggressive sexy single AND married women dressed provocatively in Jezebel-like fashion who are on the hunt for a husband or a discreet affair behind the backs of the husbands that they already have!
.......Down low women and down low men who have lied to themselves and think that it's okay to indulge in a little bisexuality, lesbianism or homosexuality because "I otherwise have been serving the Lord dutifully all my life and He will understand my need to dip and dab and knows my heart!"
.......Married men with children watching their every movement having absolutely no guilt in trying to bed down as many married and single women as they possibly can in the church parading and posturing as a the perfect family man! Now you know why that ideal father just loved to bring his kids to the church picnic, as well as being of help to all of those church sisters who just happened to be single mothers.So yes, we ALL have a stake in the creation of the accused Pastor Eddie Long's of the world because if WE were so on point we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place to be wondering if that Pastor truly indulged in those freakish cross country trips with Jamal Parris and Anthony Flagg or having Maurice Murray Robinson sucking his penis IN Auckland, New Zealand at all!
It's amazing to me how many prominent individuals in the Black clergy remain silent on this issue. Pastor Eddie Long has an immeasurable personal influence and private connection to many celebrities, politicians and huge figures in the religious diaspora. So you mean to tell me that NO ONE would stand up and vouch for his character?
Why the silence?
Maybe they know something that we don't! Maybe so many of those who are connected to him are involved in the same activity and CAN'T talk! Think about it!
Okay! I know that this blog was a very long read but for those who think that I am too judgmental and not "Biblical enough let me leave you with a standard set in YOUR Bible.......
.......It's in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 which reads: "This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence, (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."
Definitely something to ponder as this entire ordeal works itself out on the public stage for all of the world to see.......
But in all of this please pray for the mental, physical and spiritual comfort of Pastor Long's wife Vanessa and their family, no one innocent deserves to be in such a twisted spotlight.
And although it was good to see a wife stand by her man in a time of great crisis, at the Sunday press conference, my gut feeling after looking into her eyes and the expression on her face is that if he is guilty even if cleared of those allegations she will still leave him. Now do I want this for anyone? NO! But that action alone would be a more authentic barometer of what has transpired behind the scenes in the Pastor Eddie Long scandal more so than a scripted speech at a scheduled press conference.
Yes, kick back with the remote, grab a cool one with some hot popcorn and let the sideshow begin, but remember, what we witness just MIGHT be a monster of OUR creation!
.......may justice be served and truth be revealed.