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September 30th, 2010
08:59 AM ET

iReports capture Atlanta pastors blasting, defending pastor Eddie Long

Two new CNN iReports capture Atlanta pastors with opposite takes on the sexual coercion allegations facing Pastor Eddie Long, who's also based in the Atlanta area.

In one iReport, Dennis A. Meredith (pictured), Affirming Pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta - which Meredith calls the largest church-based transgendered ministry in the southeastern U.S. - blasts Long for his alleged behavior and for his past criticism of homosexuality. The video was made by an independent filmmaker and submitted by a member of Meredith's congregation.

View the iReport video of Meredith here.

Mark Anthony Mitchell, Sr., is Senior Pastor of Atlanta Urban Foursquare Church and Executive Director of Jesus for Justice Poor People’s Campaign, a nonprofit community development corporation. Close to Long in the past, Mitchell has penned a defense of the pastor, calling it an "open letter from his spiritual son."

Here's the top:

As a once favored son of Bishop Eddie L Long, I have gotten many calls this week from associates near and afar asking me my current thoughts on my spiritual fathers’ current situation. Many have advised me to distance myself from him implying that my acknowledgement of him may be an affront to my character, accountability and integrity.

To all of them I gave this startling reply- in street vernacular “If he’s gets no bigger he’s still my --!” (Father) The germane question to me at the moment is not one of innocence or guilt but of loyalty. One does not have the liberty to choose either their physical or spiritual parents, that is solely determined by our heavenly Father. God’s word is still true “honor your mother and father that your days may be long.” Nowhere does it says only honor them if they are good.

Read his full iReport here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Georgia • iReport • Pastors • United States

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. edmund

    i supposed that the Catholic priest issues made all white people look bad. there is an old saying pretty is as pretty does. sWhat does the color of the people have to do with the legality of the actions fo the persons involved. NOTHING. If lEddie long was a Bl;ack german and his accusers were female would it make it any more righrt? I think not.

    October 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  2. wordwoman

    Real women and men of God, the anointed of God... FEAR GOD! If this Pastor is innocent; then why not take the authority through Jesus Christ, pick up the sword of the Lord which is the word of God and preach sermon after sermon after sermon. How about preaching on forgiveness and temptation and the trials and tribulations all the prophets of God must endure. Why not hold a forty day fast and labor in prayer for the guys that are accusing him. LET THE CAMERAS CATCH THAT ACTION! Why not STAND and deliver the word of God. Here is the perfect opportunity for God to show His glory through this ministry. You've got all these spotlights, headlines, and new (many unsaved) people who are paying attention now. Why wouldn't this man of God do what he's called to do and FEED THE PEOPLE SOME SCRIPTURES??? DOESN'T ANYBODY SEE THE REAL PICTURE HERE? IF HE HAS NOTHING TO HIDE - THEN HE HAS EVERYTHING TO GAIN FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD!!!! We must know the word of God but that's not all it takes to be all that God intends for us to be. We must be filled with His Holy Spirit. The only way we can have this is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. God is cleaning up His church. He is soon returning for a church without spot or wrinkle - it doesn't matter who you are because God is no respector of persons. If you've got some filth and you're not aligned with the word of God; you either clean it up, repent and sin no more or God will clean you up. He may use national media and make you an example out of you during the clean up process. The scriptures must be fulfilled and unfortunately some will be cast into the lake of fire... don't be one of them. Reality– all I can do is pray that Jesus saves you and removes the blindfold satan as placed over your eyes. The word of God is alive so when you read the Bible, let the Bible read you. Don't be afraid to let it enter your heart. Both man and woman were created in the image of God. The Apostle Paul was single and probably lonely sometimes. This is a consecration he chose so that he could totally commit himself to Christ. Of course he would want to restrict and limit the envolvment of women or "cover them up". Less temptation and less of a struggle to keep focus when preaching.

    October 4, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  3. April

    This is only for those of you who truly believe and practice what the bible says...Please read 1 Timothy in its entirety. The Word instructs us on how to deal with elders that have been accused. And against popular belief, it is our job as Christians to righteously judge our brothers and sisters in Christ(1 Corinthians 5). Please start reading the Word and stop depending on others to teach you. Otherwise, you will not be equipped to correctly discern what's going on.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • Reality

      Hmmm, 1 Timothy? As per most modern-day experts, said gospel was not written by Paul but by a pseudo Paul, e.g. (See Professor Crossan’s book “In Search of Paul”, Harper, San Francisco, 2004, p.105)

      ( from Father Raymond Brown's book, An Introduction to the New Testament, "Authenticity: Probably written by a disciple of Paul or a sympathetic commentator of the Pauline heritage several decades after the apostle's death. "

      Of course the real Paul said this about women:

      “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)"

      and "For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority."

      "He (Paul) feared the turn-on of women's voices as much as the sight of their hair and skin..... At one point he even suggests that the sight of female hair might distract any angels/ "pretty wingie talking fictional thingies" in church attendance (1 Cor. 11:10). (from Professor Chilton's book Rabbi Paul).

      October 1, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • roscoe

      So to judge is more important to you? Regardless how can you rightfullly(which is what we must do) without all the facts. So you were there and you are the perfect witness to tell us beyond the shadow of a doubt who is right and who is wrong. Your heart is notin the right place. Amazing how many Christians are out for blood without the facts. sounds very familiar! We all should br praying till the truth is told.

      October 11, 2010 at 7:02 am |
  4. Mark from Middle River

    Frank – If some like to treat a church like a rock concert then let them. If you prefer a more sedated service than there are churches for you. I was raised in a church that was more lively but retained a more Catholic type of order of service. I remember going to a relatives church and their service was more revival'ish. I remember the minister brought out a trumpet and started playing it. As a child I was more than shocked, I was horrified. Now days I revel in how many different ways people come together to celebrate and worship. I even went to a service at a LGBT church in New York. Good service, one of the best choirs and most definitely the best band that I have ever heard in a church. Imagine Saturday Night Live type of band playing gospel. Within the same year I was down outside of Augusta GA and was at a church that still sang hymms as they did during slavery or just post slavery. No piano, no drums, just a rhythm of singing.

    All I can say is that God made many ways for his Children to jam and until you actually talk to a member of this church person to person or sat in a service, it is hard to say they are preaching wrong.

    October 1, 2010 at 3:15 am |
    • Frank

      I am a Catholic and I personally prefer the High Mass setting in the cathedral I attend (well, the cathedral I will return to this Sunday as I am just now returning to Christ). But to each, their own. I did not mean to offend. Let's just make sure that all praise and glory is going to God and God alone.

      October 1, 2010 at 4:21 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Even if he is found innocent, Bishop Long put a spin on the bible to get Mega rich. It is the fault of bible illiterates. Take your bible out and actually read it from cover to cover and get a good bible commentary while you are at it then you might not get hustled so much!

    September 30, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
    • Reality

      The updated version of the bible- for new members only:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      New Torah/OT For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan se-cts.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hit-ti-tes, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizz-azz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "fil-icider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedo-ph-iliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      3. Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:

      Adu-lterous preachers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      September 30, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
    • Frank

      Yeah, most of these lukewarm Christians screaming in the pews as if they are at a rock concert have no idea what the Bible is talking about. I haven't read the whole book, but I've read more than enough to know that what they're preaching is wrong.

      October 1, 2010 at 12:01 am |
  6. Anonymous

    The body of Christ is badly in need of discernment! I was never impressed with these so-called Word of faith Prosperity teachers who twist and spin the bible for monetary gain. Maybe this will start waking people up to read their bibles and not let their teenagers go on trips alone and sleep in the same bed with grown men just because they are called Bishop or Pastor!

    September 30, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
    • A Guest

      Some will wake up, but according to scripture, most won't, they will take the broad road. Matthew 7:13. The bible speaks of spiritual darkness and blindness, where one thinks he sees truth but does not. That is why Jesus emphasizes that one claiming to love him must read the word and obey his commandments. Thus, removing the veil from their mind and heart.
      Revelation 3:17-18 (New King James Version)
      16 So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

      October 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • Guest

      AMEN!!!!!!!

      October 10, 2010 at 1:24 am |
  7. Lovejoy

    Church has become the biggest hustle on the planet and some preachers are worst than drug dealers.

    September 30, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  8. The Realist

    Mr. Mitchell is a fool! He says, "no one has the liberty to choose their spiritual parents" and everyone should honor their father (physical/spiritual) no matter what. Ok, lets see...using his logic...Charles Manson's followers were doing the honorable thing by following his direction to kill? Or how about this one, the actions of the people who voluntarily fed their children poison and willingly drank the cyanide laced Kool-Aid at Jonestown, should be commended because they were honoring the wishes of their spiritual father? Please!!!...we all have the ability to form an opinion about everyone we come in contact with and the liberty (FREEDOM!!!) to decide if we want anything to do with them. As long as the people we choose to follow act respectably in manner and deed, its all good. When they blatantly abuse our trust and bring discredit upon themselves and the organzation they represent all bets are off. Guilty or not...the pictures he sent to the young men are enough to question his credibality and the overall wisdom of allowing him to remain NB's head pastor.

    September 30, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • A Guest

      You are correct, it is not no matter what. These pastors may be misapplying the scripture at 1 Corinthians 4:15, where apostle Paul stated "you have many fathers in Christ". Paul meant he was a spiritual father in a sense, by bringing the message of the good news of everlasting life. Paul fully explains the meaning at 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, the congregation came to be beloved by him. The term 'father' is used many times and in many ways in scripture. It should be used in the context stated in.

      October 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  9. tinalat

    All black people wake up!!!!! Especially ones from the predator's church. To blindly follow this pervert is a sin. Look at his inet photos....Also, read up about Ford Motor Company letting him go because he had "questionable" books in relation to his expense account. This pig was a pig before he became a preacher. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor...." What part of this doesn't E-Z-E understand. Eddie, your slick but God knows everything. We don't believe you. We believe your victims. You gonnna try to gag them with an out of court settlement? This way nobody knows about your fiendish passions except for that wife of yours. If she had one ounce of goodness, she would have kicked you to the curb. Many are saying she knew all about you but looked the other way for the expensive lifestyle she and you lead. Also many are saying other elders in the church knew what you were doing to young boys but they also looked the other way. Money is a powerful thing, eh??? You WILL ALL ANSWER FOR WHAT YOU DID WHEN IT IS YOUR TIME WITH GOD. What are you ever going to be able to say to the Immaculate Judge of Heaven and Earth??? You all make me want to puke.

    September 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
    • LOVE

      And when Bishop Long goes before the father on judgement day i hope u 2 got your stuff together...people kill me trying 2be judge and jury.Checkout your own life before u judge another....God does not need our help,he got this.

      October 12, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  10. Virtue

    It saddens my heart how many black christians are ignorant and will follow satan to hell! I am not saying to crucify Long, however if he is found guilty he should admit his wrong and step down until he seeks help. I could not bellieve the lady from his church who said Long gave her son cars, money etc and did not believe it was long in the text pictures sent. Are you serious? Yes he may be a spiritual father and I do believe that God can and will restore him but lets not take ignorance too far. Long is not the first and he certainly is not the last. God is exposing these leaders who are abusing their power and authority. Also therer is no ACCOUNTABILTy. I pray for Long and his family through this mess and hope the victims are healed from the pain of defilement.

    September 30, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • PENNY

      AMEN!

      October 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  11. Ms. Not So Fast

    Where is the smoking gun? Bombshell proof or information? I SMELL A RAT CALLED EXTORTION.

    September 30, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  12. Thisiscrazy

    There is only one father. He is my biological parent. There is only one heavenly father. His name is Jesus Christ. All other "daddys" and "fathers" are irrelevant and silly.

    September 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  13. SAMUEL

    ISN'T IT TIME WE ALL STOPPED AND REALIZED THERE WILL NEVER BE PERFECT LEADERS NOR PERFECT FOLLOWERS? NO ONE IS PERFECT, THEREFORE LET US HEAL, REHABILITATE. IT IS THE ONLY REALISTIC WAY TO THE FUTURE.

    September 30, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
    • Virtue

      I agree Samuel, there are no perfect leaders however the church has put these men on a pedalstool and when they fall becasue they are human they are crucified. I do believe Long will be restored only when he reveals the truth.

      September 30, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • A Guest

      Leaders are not perfect but held to a higher standard. According to scripture they should be free from accusations. God can forgive a repentant sinner. But if turns out to be so, that one is not eligible to lead others. That protects the congregation for fear he should fall into sin again. And there is a perfect leader, Christ and soon his kingdom will rule with justice. Let they kingdom come... in heaven and on earth. Matt. 6:9.

      October 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • PENNY

      It is not a matter of whether we are prefect or not, it is a matter of truth and honesty in a world that is being built on lies. If we are to lead, we must look at ourselves in the mirror and understand who we are, and whose we are. If we do not challenge ourselves to be better, then what can we expect of our followers. It too is not a matter of just being a leader, it is thus a matter of whose WORD do you proclaim? If one proclaims the WORD of GOD, then he is lead by the SPIRIT. If one is lead by the SPIRIT, then we must understand that the SPIRIT does not lie, as there is no failure in 'GOD'. Given this, Mr. Eddie Long lied, was not lead by the SPIRIT does not practice what he preach; it is not to my surprise that his sin has been brought forward, for all the world to see. Man has to learn that 1. It is easier for a Camel to get through the eye of a needle, then it is for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. Man must 2. Study to show himself approved a workman who needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 'TRUTH IS THE KEY". It takes practice and devotion and commitment to what one believes to be truth, and then that truth will shine so all the world will see. The truth for Mr. Long, is this: If he is found to be guilty, he should immediately give up his Post as Pastor, and ask God to forgive him for the ling to his flock. "For all have sinned and fall short" but their are rules regarding men of the cloth. READ THEM PASTOR LONG!

      October 6, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  14. Reality

    Just more wayward preachers who need to escape from the bible box!!!

    September 30, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  15. IBOK

    True, Eddie Long is innocent until proven guilty. But, people, let's be open to the possibility that he is guilty. We all know there are plenty of pastors guilty of corruption. As Christians we serve and follow our Lord and Savior – not man. Stand back, use your critical thinking skills and if he is proven guilty, hold him accountable . Then stand by these young men with love and support . They will need it. Remember, thou shall not hate. That includes Alll people.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  16. Orange

    Sorry, I meant *the accused* not; "an accuser".

    September 30, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  17. MizzGivens

    Uh, maybe Eddie Long didn't find him attractive so he didn't mess with Mr. Meredith. And by the way, it's nice that he wants to support his friend, but if you read the victims' statements, Eddie Long clearly messed with them. Sick freak. May he get what he deserves.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  18. dj

    BTW: Are any Black People winning from all this? WE ALL LOOK FOOLISH AS A RACE OF PEOPLE!!!!!SHAME ON YOU ALL FOR MAKING EDDIE LONG and all the others we WORSHIP THRU MUSIC SALES, LIQUOR BRAND CONSUMPTION , THE CLOTHS WE WEAR!!!! BLACK PEOPLE WAKE UP WE MADE THESE MONSTERS...GET BACK TO YOUR ROOTS. GET YOUR 40 ACES AND A MULE FOR CASH!!!!!! NOT ON CREDIT!!!!!!! EDDIE LONG DOES'NT NEED CREDIT...HE HAS ALL THE SHEEP'S CASH. THINK ABOUT

    September 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
    • A Guest

      I agree with you, but remember many in society want to paint us as black people with a broad brush. As you know, we are not all the same, but very diverse. I understand you are speaking about a method of worship that elevates man over God. Everyone claiming to be Christian should use the gold standard for religion, the scriptures. These scandals are part of the end times prophecy, that state men will seek their own teachers that do not keep the healthful teaching. But instead tickle the ears of their members, while presenting darkness as the light. Therefore God allows the error so they believe the lie, as they take delight in unrighteousness . While others are simply ignorant due to lack of bible knowledge.
      2 Thessalonians Chapter 2, 2 Timothy 4:3-5, 2 Corinthians 11: 14,15, Revelation 3:17.

      October 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • POET1335

      WE LOOK NO MORE FOOLISH THAN OUR WHITE COUNTERPARTS WHO HAVE COMMITTED THE VERY SAME INFRACTIONS. I WILL NOT BACK A MAN SUCH AS EDDIE LONG SIMPLY BECAUSE HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A MAN OF GOD (NOT) WRONG IS WRONG AND THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT ON HIM. HE IS A TOTAL HYPOCRITE

      October 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  19. David Johnson

    I don't really care...

    September 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  20. Rodney Carroll

    I agree with this man.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:40 am |
    • Yvonne

      First, Let us all remember that he that is without sin let him cast the first stone. I am not saying Bishop Long did or did not, but my bible say, touch not the head of my annointed and do my prophet no harm. The Lord sets high but looks low, so Bishop Long is a man after Gods own heart and let God do the judging. If he is guilty or not, God will judge him and will punish him far better than anyone of us could ever.

      October 1, 2010 at 4:03 am |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.