Eddie Long

Another reason why I hate church…

Back in September 2010, two men (Anthony Flagg and Maurice Robinson) accused megachurch pastor, Eddie Long of sexually abusing (see here) them when they were 16 years old.  Then two more men (Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande) joined the lawsuit.  The claim was that as part of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church’s “Youth Academy,” Eddie Long “coerced them into having sex with him in exchange for lavish trips, cars and cash.”

Today, we learn that Eddie Long, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and LongFellows Youth Academy have reached a settlement with the young men who accused Mr. Long of sexually abusing them.

One of the plaintiffs allege that Long, “engaged in sexual touching and other sexual acts.”  Yet, this man is a so-called “bishop” of the Church Universal.  And while yes, this matter was brought to court and legal matter can be settled, how does the Church move to seek civil settlement for matters of pastoral abuse?

Heaven Forbid!

The Priesthood (or the Ministry) is a sacred trust.  In the Ancient Church it is a Sacrament.  As Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris says, “A Sacrament is a divine rite instituted by Christ and/or the Apostles which through visible signs conveys to us the hidden grace of God.”  As a Sacrament, through the Priesthood we are supposed to be drawn nearer to God.

Yet, it is instances like the Eddie Long Saga (and the Catholic Priest debacle, amongst others) that do irreparable damage to the Gospel and the Church.  And while the civil ramifications might be abated, the Church (in this instance New Birth Missionary Baptist Church) should not abdicate its responsibility to defend the Faith.

Civil Settlement for Matters of Pastoral Abuse? Heaven Forbid!

In response to the settlement, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church issued a “Resolution Statement,” (see here) the highlight of which (at least, for me) says: “This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry.”  But, how does the Church bring closure to a malfeasance of pastoral duty through civil means?

On the Sunday after the allegations, Eddie Long told his congregation: “This thing I’m gonna fight.”  And, if indeed Eddie Long is innocent then fight he should…if not for the sake of his own integrity, certainly for the sake of the integrity of the Church and the Faith.  Yet, either Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church are not concerned with their own integrity and that of the Faith, or both Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church know that their integrity has been compromised and now seek simply to save face for themselves, at the expense of the Faith.

Civil Settlement for Matters of Pastoral Abuse? Heaven Forbid!

Again, this is another reason why I hate church!  For time and time again, the Church seems more concerned with protecting its vaunted stature, rather than humbling itself that Christ might be exalted.

Certainly, in civil matters all have the right to settle.  And, in this instance, all exercised that option.  Yet, people are looking for the Church to be above the fray.  Maybe by now most of us expect the Church to succumb to human fallibility.  Yet, deep inside we still hope for the Church to live up to the call of the Faith.  For if the Church (which is the Body of Christ) cannot “walk worthy of the calling to which (it) is called,” then how can we?

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