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Bishop Eddie Long: Will the gay-sex allegations rock black Christians?
How a gay-sex scandal surrounding a "homophobic" pastor could affect how the black megachurch movement thinks about gay rights
 
Bishop Eddie Long is a long-time vocal leader in the religious anti-gay movement.
Bishop Eddie Long is a long-time vocal leader in the religious anti-gay movement.
CBS News

The black megachurch movement has been galvanized by the news that three men have filed lawsuits accusing a powerful Georgia pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, of coercing them into having sex in exchange for cash and cars. Long, who "vehemently denies" the claims, recently led a march against gay marriage, and the Southern Poverty Law Center has called him "one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement," noting that he has referred to homosexuality and lesbianism as "spiritual abortions." Will the scandal cause black churches that oppose gay rights to rethink their politics?

It certainly should: "Eddie Long is one of the most respected black Christians in the country," says sociologist Shayne Lee, as quoted in The Christian Science Monitor, and his ministry has fueled homophobia in the black community. If there's any truth to the allegations, you'll see a "lot of people talking about the issue of sexuality."
"Bishop Eddie Long case: Will it alter black churches' view of gays?"


The only certainty is that Long's reputation will suffer: Eddie Long may prove in court that this is, as his spokesman insists, merely a shakedown, says Ty Tagami in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But even so, legal experts will likely call it a "hollow victory" — accusations like these can ruin someone's reputation, no matter how the case turns out.
"Eddie Long case could hurt reputation — and pocketbook"

Even if he's innocent, Long's no victim: If Long did what his accusers say, he's a despicable "hypocrite," says Earl Ofari Hutchinson at The Huffington Post. But even if these young men are the "liars and con artists" Long says they are, he's still not a victim. This is a man who led a "gay bashing protest" at the gravesite of Martin Luther King, "championing the very discrimination that King" died fighting. No matter how this case goes, let's hope it helps open black churchgoers' eyes to the idea that "tolerance didn't begin and end with race alone."
"Bishop Eddie Long: Victim, hypocrite or both in sex scandal?"

 

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