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August 26th, 2013
12:57 PM ET

Moving out of the dreamer's shadow: A King daughter's long journey

By John Blake, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - There is a secret about Bernice King that not everyone close to her wants you to know.

"She has a shoe fetish," says Angela Farris-Watkins, a cousin. "She has shoes to go with every outfit. She likes all kinds of shoes: sandals, heels, open-toed and different colors. She buys shoes like bread."

It's not surprising that the youngest child of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would care so much about what she puts on her feet. She has been walking in the footsteps of one of history's greatest moral leaders all of her life.

With the nation poised to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the daughter of the dreamer seems to be stepping out of his shadow.

Read the full story here
- CNN Writer

Filed under: Bishop Eddie Long • Black issues • Christianity • Church • Faith Now • Georgia • Politics • Race

Opinion: Eddie Long still has more apologizing to do
Bishop Eddie Long has apologized to the Anti-Defamation League over an incident in which he was wrapped in a Torah scroll.
February 6th, 2012
09:38 PM ET

Opinion: Eddie Long still has more apologizing to do

Editor’s note: Carolyn Edgar is a lawyer and writer in New York City. She writes about social issues, parenting and relationships on her blog, Carolyn Edgar.

By Carolyn Edgar, Special to CNN

Now that Bishop Eddie Long has apologized to the Anti-Defamation League for a service at his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church that purported to crown him a “king,” one has to wonder what Long was thinking.

With all the scandal that has surrounded him recently, Long and the New Birth leadership should have anticipated that the video of the New Birth service would attract a great deal of attention, including from Jewish groups. Even if Long were unfamiliar with Jewish rituals and traditions, he might have guessed that having himself wrapped up in a Torah scroll might be considered controversial. Long rightly apologized to the Anti-Defamation League for misusing the holy Hebrew scriptures and Jewish rituals in his “coronation” ceremony.

However, Long still owes some apologies.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Bishop Eddie Long • Christianity • Content Partner • In America • Judaism • Leaders • Pastors • Torah

Bishop Eddie Long apologizes to Jewish group after Torah ceremony
February 5th, 2012
11:12 PM ET

Bishop Eddie Long apologizes to Jewish group after Torah ceremony

Atlanta (CNN) – Bishop Eddie Long has apologized to the Anti-Defamation League over an incident in which he was wrapped in a Torah scroll and crowned "king."

As shown in a video that went viral, the televangelist was wrapped in a "Holocaust Torah" and crowned king during a recent ceremony at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, his suburban Atlanta congregation.

"The ceremony was not my suggestion, nor was it my intent, to participate in any ritual that is offensive in any manner to the Jewish community, or any group. Furthermore, I sincerely denounce any action that depicts me as a King, for I am merely just a servant of the Lord," Long wrote in a letter dated Saturday.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Bishop Eddie Long • Christianity • Faith Now • Judaism • Pastors

February 3rd, 2012
09:13 AM ET

Bishop Eddie Long crowned 'king'

By John Blake, CNN

Atlanta (CNN)–Bishop Eddie Long has been called anointed, but he was recently awarded another title, as shown in a video that’s gone viral. He’s now a king.

Long was wrapped in a “Holocaust Torah” and crowned a king during a recent Sunday ceremony at New Birth Missionary Church, his suburban Atlanta congregation.

A visiting rabbi wrapped Long in the Torah, which he said was recovered during the Holocaust. The rabbi then directed four men to lift a seated Long in his chair and parade him before the New Birth congregation.

Long wiped tears away as he looked over his cheering congregation.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Bishop Eddie Long • Christianity • Culture wars • Israel • Jesus • Judaism

New Birth member speaks out about lawsuit against Eddie Long
Bishop Eddie Long faces more legal trouble, this time from members of his church.
October 21st, 2011
06:04 AM ET

New Birth member speaks out about lawsuit against Eddie Long

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – Lillian Wells said she had been laid off from her job, gone into real estate, and was looking for extra income when she went to church one Sunday and heard about a “sure thing.”

Two years later, Wells said her house is weeks away from foreclosure, she can barely pay for medication and she’s lost at least $122,000 in retirement savings.

“I’ve been hurt,” Wells said. “I’m looking for resolution and restitution at this point, and I haven’t gotten that.”

Wells’ story is at the center of a lawsuit that pits her against Bishop Eddie Long, one of the nation’s most well-known televangelists, and a charismatic investor who Long reportedly compared to Moses.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Bishop Eddie Long • Christianity • Church • Courts • Pastors

Two Bishop Eddie Long accusers break silence
Bishop Eddie Long has denied allegations that he sexually coerced male congregants.
August 25th, 2011
03:00 PM ET

Two Bishop Eddie Long accusers break silence

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

(CNN) - Two young men who last fall sued Atlanta megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long for allegedly manipulating them into having sex when they were teens are speaking out against the pastor for the first time since settling with him out of court.

On Wednesday, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande, now in their early 20s, gave an exclusive interview to CNN Atlanta affiliate WSB, saying that they are haunted by their experiences with Long and that they are writing a tell-all book about what they say happened between them and the powerful pastor.

Read more about the Eddie Long scandal

Last September, Parris, LeGrande and two other young men filed suit alleging Long “uses monetary funds from the accounts of New Birth and other corporate and non-profit corporate accounts to entice the young men with cars, clothes, jewelry, and electronics.” The accusations were particularly controversial because Long, who is married, has preached passionately against homosexuality for years.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bishop Eddie Long • Church • Georgia • Leaders • Uncategorized

When does a pastor tainted by scandal deserve forgiveness?
Bishop Eddie Long hugs supporter at New Birth Missionary Church after allegations that he pressured men into sexual relationships went public.
June 23rd, 2011
02:15 PM ET

When does a pastor tainted by scandal deserve forgiveness?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – “Who am I to judge?” “That’s between him and God.” “God has already forgiven him.”

When a church is hit by a pastor’s scandal, parishioners face a choice: Remain at the house or worship or move on. Those that stay often cite the reasons above - God has already forgiven the pastor so why shouldn’t I?

That’s the kind of thinking that annoyed a Missouri seminary professor so much that he wrote a blistering open letter in the online magazine Religion Dispatches last week attacking its rationale. Lerone A. Marti, an assistant professor of American religious history at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, wrote that church folks who stick by unrepentant pastors have a lot to learn about forgiveness and accountability.

What set Martin off was the latest entry in the Bishop Eddie Long saga. Long, senior pastor of an Atlanta megachurch, was sued last year by four young men who claimed he pressured them into sexual relationships.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Bishop Eddie Long • Christianity • Church • Ethics • Faith • Pastors • Sex • Uncategorized

Eddie Long's new churches raise questions about pastors' behavior after scandal
June 9th, 2011
12:53 PM ET

Eddie Long's new churches raise questions about pastors' behavior after scandal

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – If you're a famous pastor who has just survived a sex scandal, laid off church staff and lost a chunk of your congregation, what do you do to move forward?

If you’re Bishop Eddie Long, you announce that your church is expanding.

Long, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Church outside Atlanta, Georgia, has announced that his church is opening two new satellite churches and is asking parishioners to donate up to $1,000 to support the expansion, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Long’s announcement comes two weeks after an out of court settlement with four young men who accused him of using his spiritual authority to coerce them into sexual relationships. The timing of Long’s announcement prompted me to ask several public relations and church experts a question:

How should Long - or any other pastor - act after a scandal?

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Bishop Eddie Long • Christianity • Courts • Pastors

Bernice King, MLK's daughter, leaves Eddie Long's church
The Rev. Bernice King shares the pulpit with Bishop Eddie Long at New Birth Missionary Church in this file photo.
May 31st, 2011
06:30 PM ET

Bernice King, MLK's daughter, leaves Eddie Long's church

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – The Rev. Bernice King, daughter of the legendary civil rights leader, is leaving an Atlanta megachurch that’s been rocked by a sex scandal involving its preacher.

King’s announcement came a week after Bishop Eddie Long, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Church, settled out of court with four young men who filed lawsuits against him last year claiming he coerced them into sexual relationships.

King said her announcement had nothing to do with Long’s legal battles. She said Tuesday she was “tremendously blessed” by Long’s ministry but that now she’s going start her own.

“I’m going to launch a ministry. I’m not calling it a church right now,” King said during an interview with Atlanta radio station Praise 102.5. “What God is showing me doesn’t look like what people are accustomed to.”

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Bishop Eddie Long • Celebrity • Christianity • Pastors

May 27th, 2011
03:50 PM ET

My Take: No justice in Eddie Long's settlement

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

The Roman Catholic Church isn't the only religious institution that has failed to respond directly and transparently to allegations of sexual impropriety.

Bishop Eddie Long, the pastor of the Georgia-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has just settled out of court with the four young men who alleged Long had sexually coerced them. And neither side is talking.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bishop Eddie Long • Buddhism • Catholic Church • Christianity • Evangelical • Faith Now • Leaders • Pastors • Protestant • Scandal • Sex abuse • United States

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.

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