Bishop Eddie Long accused of sexual misconduct with male church members

Bishop Eddie Long sent photos of himself to accusers

The issue of child molestation in the Catholic Church has been taboo in the community for years until the confessions of many victims recently came to light. This development has now made its way into the Southern Baptist Church community with the accusations of sexual misconduct with male congregation members surrounding a Georgia pastor. But what really makes this situation even more abnormal is the pastor’s strict stance against gay marriage and homosexuality in general.

Pastor Eddie Long, considered one of the nation’s top preachers, according to CNN, is the man being accused. It’s not uncommon for people with power to abuse it in different ways, ranging from physical threats to sexual harassment.

This is because powerful people are convinced that they have enough power so that their victims will either be too scared to come forth with their accusations or, even if they do come forth, then it wouldn’t be taken seriously because of the culprit’s reputation.

In light of the charges against the pastor, Long’s congregation has followed him as he responded by saying that he is going to fight these charges, claiming that his fight is similar to the fight of David vs. Goliath.

Accusations similar to these have been proven false in the past, with either monetary or notoriety reasons behind them. However, whether the allegations were true or not, charges such as these should always be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

The dismissive stance that many have taken about the young men’s claims is completely unacceptable. Reactions like these are what keep many other victims from confronting their victimizer. This isn’t to say that people should ignore the pastor’s point of view and simply condemn him for his alleged actions, but those who have already claimed to have been attacked don’t need to feel attacked even more by unrelenting church followers.

If Long is guilty, then I would hope his followers take the evidence for what it is and evaluate their feelings towards the pastor accordingly, although that will most likely not be the case. Conversely, if the young men are proven insincere, then hopefully they will get the proper punishment for making false claims against Long. Regardless, before anyone judges, the evidence should first be considered.

The only skepticism that may cause a few eyebrows to rise, as it did mine, was the pictures that were sent by Long to the accusers. The pictures weren’t provocative, but could definitely be seen as inappropriate. A pastor sending pictures to members of his church is already somewhat unusual, but taking pictures in tight shirts with a camera phone and sending them to your congregation is a whole new level of creepy and inappropriate.

Although I don’t feel that Long should be judged based on events that haven’t been proven true yet, I do feel his notorious stance on gay marriage and gay people, coupled with the recent events surrounding his image, should be considered.
 
Long has made it very clear that he openly criticizes homosexuality, as many Southern churches do. However, if the allegations are proven true, it would not only make him guilty of sexual harassment, but also of being a total hypocrite. It’s not rare to find a homophobe who makes his or her intolerance of gays known in order to hide their own insecurities about their sexual preference. However, in the hands of a well-known dignitary, that hate can spread and have others accept that same skewed belief unknowingly.

These accusations follow a man who has a lot of respect from the Christian community and thus has a lot of influence on that community. Along with that power this person has comes the responsibility to use it wisely and the duty to not take advantage of those who follow their convictions completely. It isn’t yet proven if Long is guilty, but he still owes it to his congregation and everyone who believes in him to directly confront the issue in an open and honest way.

Published Oct. 5, 2010 in “The Signal” http://www.gsusignal.com/opinions/bishop-eddie-long-accused-of-sexual-misconduct-with-male-church-members-1.2355459

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