Torrence’s Take On The Bishop Eddie Long “Situation” (The Aftermath)Published by Torrence Glenn on Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 1:40 am.
This one will be short. Why? Because it’s late where I am and this whole story just sort of stopped, dropped and rolled away.
You guys know the story, so I won’t rehash it too much. 4 young men filed civil suits against Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church accused the Pastor of sexual coercion. Basically, they claim he used his money, position, and influence as mentor/Pastor to coerce them into sexual relationships they otherwise may not have been interested in with him. During the media frenzy that ensued we learned that Bishop Long took the accusers on trips, paid for their living arrangements and bought them gifts and that he also sent them rather inappropriate (or at the least bit odd) photographs of himself that definitely raised a few eyebrows.
Soon after the cases were filed, Bishop Long addressed his congregation and the rest of the world with a sermon where he didn’t exactly “deny” the allegations but vehemently declared that he would fight these allegations and that he was not the man that the media and the accusers were portraying him to be. In his sermon he even used the tried and true bible story story of David and Goliath to describe his perceived position in relation to the accusations. He claimed that he felt like young David against the giant Goliath but with confidence and rather dramatic flair said “I have 5 smooth stones and hadn’t thrown one yet.” For anyone waiting for Bishop Long to deny the allegations, this was as strong as any.
Then when Bishop Long filed his response to the allegations, he pretty much claimed he never had any sexual or inappropriate contact with the boys and the only truth to their allegations were the mentor/mentee and father/son relationship described by the accusers and that yes, he did buy them things, take them on trips etc.
Surprisingly, in spite of his declared innocence, Bishop Long opted settle out of court with the accusers through private mediation. I was a little disappointed that he did not “fight” as he said he would and not for the reasons you may think. For someone who was so adamant about fighting every last charge brought against, his final and abrupt to try and settle this quietly is a tad bit suspicious. As I’ve said in every previous blog concerning this case, I cannot and will not speak to his guilt or innocence, that’s what the courts are for. But I will acknowledge that it doesn’t look good to so strongly deny a thing and then turn around and try to meet in the middle, especially since it relates to his integrity and position as a Pastor. So in other words, he didn’t even pick up a stone, much less throw one.
But the real reason I wanted to Bishop to fight is because if he was in fact innocent, I wanted him to redeem himself publicly for the PRINCIPLE of mentorship that was being attacked by these allegations. Here’s what I mean… The church overall has a responsibility to help it’s member’s and communities that it serves. Before this scandal, Bishop Long and his Longfellow Academy appeared to be doing a great job of leading and mentoring young men and positively affecting them. And sometimes to effectively help someone, you need to get close to them. But if you do so at the risk of being falsely accused of “sexual coercion” or inappropriate contact, etc. it can lead to apprehension from leaders in churches and elsewhere from helping young people in need. I know ministers personally now who because of this scandal are now afraid to take any interest in the lives of young people for fear of similar allegations.
Although I always said and still maintain than the allegations against Bishop Long were his alone and not an indictment on the church or the “black church” as we sometimes like to call it, but the truth is, his response would in fact effect us. So as of now, this “story” is over… Unless something happens in this settlement where they can’t come to an agreement, this will theoretically go away. And if it does, we have no choice but to let it, which is why I’m declaring this my final word on the subject. But I sincerely hope that there isn’t more to this story down the road or more allegations surface in the future. If so, it will be an even more ugly situation than it already has been.
So that’s it, he settled and we’ve kind of got to move on…. for now.
Nope, not gonna talk about the hair. Won’t do it….