Atlanta megachurch pastor Eddie Long has reached a settlement with four young male members of his congregation who accused him of coercing them into sex. The anti-gay-rights pastor had vowed to clear his name when the scandal broke six months ago, but he returned to the pulpit at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church without saying a word about the out-of-court agreement. Is it time to move on, or does Long owe his followers an explanation?
There is no moving on until Long comes clean: Long claimed to be David fighting a legal Goliath, says Devin Robinson at The Atlanta Post. "But, as I remember the story in the Bible, David never settled!" Long took the easy way out, paying off his accusers with his followers' money, because he put his own comfort ahead of "the best interest of the church body." He should get no rest until the congregation finds out if he was ever worthy of their trust — and their money.
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It is time for healing: The fact that Long settled doesn't mean he's guilty, says John Richards at Brother Preacher. His legal team might simply have figured that the bad publicity and cost of litigation were greater than the cost of a settlement. The settlement might very well be a blessing for Long, and the nonprofits he presides over, "because the trial would have been quite ugly and may have done more harm than good."
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If you have enough money, the truth doesn't matter: "Long is off the hook," says Nsenga Burton at The Root, although only Long and his accusers know how much the deal cost him. So now the 25,000 members of Long's church will never know if he dipped into the congregation's offering plate to use trips, gifts, and jobs to get young men into his bedroom. "This just goes to show that if you have enough money and power, silence can be bought so that you can get back to business as usual."
"Settlement reached in Bishop Eddie Long case"