ATLANTA – The local Atlanta FOX affiliate broke the shocking news on its six o’clock lead story yesterday that a well known mega church pastor in Atlanta had been slammed with dual lawsuits for coercing two young men into sexual activity with him.
Shortly thereafter, CNN broadcast it to the world. Now, much of the country is ablaze with discussion and controversy over the emerging legal accusations against Bishop Eddie Long and its potential fallout for the prominent leader.
Long has had an extensive history of controversy with homosexuality, taking positions both for and against.
- In April 2002, a lesbian member of New Birth claimed that Long had turned his back on Atlanta black gay community. Sean Waites, a candidate for Atlanta City Council said after she pressed the issue, Long, refused to return her calls.
- In December 2004, along with the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., Long angered the gay community by leading thousands of followers in a march against gay marriage and other social ills.
- In July 2006, the counseling department of New Birth with Long’s approval, held a one day seminar on overcoming homosexuality. Entitled “Sexual Orientation and Reorientation: A View from the Cross”, Pastor DL Foster was the featured speaker. Long did not attend the conference.
- In June 2008, Long became embroiled in a controversy with the homosexual pressure group Soulforce. Long granted a meeting with the group and threw a gift bag reception for them while rejecting a similar meeting with GCM Watch. We covered those stories here, here and here. A former seven year member of the church sent Long a letter telling him he was “deeply disturbed” at Long’s embrace of the Soulforce heresy. But in the end, Atlanta’s gay newspaper reported that Long had expressed an “openness” to gay theology.
According to press reports, a lawyer for Bishop Long has denied all the charges against him.
Addendum: Some interesting perspective from Endtime Observer.