Yet another leader of a megachurch appears to have a delicate problem. Today, our contestant is Dr. Eddie Long, the pastor of New Missionary Baptist Church, which has over 25,000 members.
Recently, three young men filed charges against Long, his church, and a youth advocacy organization that he formed. The lawsuits contend that Long used his power and influence to coerce the men into sexual behaviors. Originally, Long was scheduled to appear on Tom Joyner’s radio program to rebut these claims. However, his attorney, Craig Gillen appeared instead. The attorney argued that these lawsuits were an attack on the religious institution itself and that the pastor is anxious to respond to these charges, but that his attorney had advised him to maintain public silence.
The attorney also questioned the character of the men who made the charges. At least one of the men has a criminal record, which I guess the attorney finds shocking. The lawyer also said that a number of young men had gone on ‘mentoring trips’ with the pastor; he felt that these three, out of greed, had decided to take advantage of the situation.
Pastor Long has taken a number of young men on ‘mentoring trips’ throughout his tenure to such locales as Las Vegas and New Zealand. Attached is a video of him posing while on one of these counseling trips in a Speedo and muscle shirts.
To a number of people, Long’s most famous previous experience was when his church hosted the funeral of Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow in 2006. At that time, a number of ex-presidents and other national, state, and local politicians attended.
The attorney for the three plaintiffs, B.J. Bernstein claimed that she released the names of the plaintiffs to force local authorities to take action. She said that Pastor Long is politically connected throughout the state, and she believed that they would try to minimize the claims made by her clients without the extensive publicity. The local sheriff, a member of both the parish and the youth advisory group, was aghast at these charges saying that although he stood behind the bishop, ‘I take offense to that…it does not merit a dignified response.’