May 26th, 2011
05:37 PM ET
Bishop Eddie Long settles with accusers
By John Blake, CNN
Atlanta (CNN) - Bishop Eddie Long, the Atlanta-based megachurch leader, has reached an out-of-court settlement with four young men who accused him of sexual coercion, representatives for both sides said Thursday.
B.J. Bernstein, the attorney representing the men, said in a statement that the lawsuits against Long and his church have “been resolved.”
Bernstein's two-paragraph statement said that neither she nor the accusers would talk about the lawsuits “now or in the future.”
Art Franklin, a Long spokesman, said Thursday that the pastor settled because it “is the most reasonable road for everyone to travel.”
“This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry,” Franklin said in a statement.
Long is an internationally known televangelist who crusaded against gay marriage, and the lawsuits against him drew national attention.
The settlement comes eight months after Long, the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia, Georgia, said from the pulpit of his 25,000 member megachurch that he vowed to fight the accusations against him, with the congregation cheering in response.
Long entered into mediation talks in February. According to news reports, the sessions between Long and his four accusers - Anthony Flagg, Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande - were tense.
The suits accused Long of using his position to coerce the men into having sexual relationships with him while they were teenage members of his congregation.
The lawsuits say Long engaged in intimate sexual acts with the young men, such as massages, masturbation and oral sex.
Long took the young men on trips including to Kenya, according to the suits. He allegedly enticed the young men with gifts including cars, clothes, jewelry and electronic items.
Long's attorneys deny those allegations and maintain that the pastor was attempting to be a father figure to the youths by providing them with financial assistance and encouragement.
Though no trial will now take place, Long may face the judgment of his congregation and fans worldwide.
Shayne Lee, a sociology professor at Tulane University in Louisiana and an authority on televangelists, said Long’s out of court settlement may erode some of his support.
“When you settle outside of court, it implies that there’s some guilt involved,” said Lee, author of "Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace."
“To the average congregation in the black church, those are some very serious charges,” Lee said, referring to the men’s charges against Long. “You can’t settle outside of court. You have to fight and roll up your sleeves, be defiant and fight it.”
Since the scandal had erupted, attendance at Long’s church had fallen, and New Birth officials have announced plans to lay off staff and cut Long’s salary.
But Lee said it would be premature to think that Long will retreat from the pulpit.
“He can say ‘I still have my anointing and I still have my ministry,’ ’’ Lee said. “He can say that God is working out the weeds so that the tree has a stronger foundation.”
The four men’s accusations stunned many of Long’s followers. A married man, Long had often preached about the sanctity of marriage. He once led a march against gay marriage.
Long had also cultivated a public image that was built on his machismo. He wore tight muscle shirts in the pulpit. He wrote books that compared Christian men to spiritual gladiators. He told people he had a special calling to reach men.
One Atlanta pastor predicted Long will survive the scandal because his core audience will forgive him.
“Black folks have very short memories,” said the Rev. Tim McDonald, senior pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta. “We are the most forgiving people on the planet."
McDonald, who said he has talked privately with Long since the scandal erupted, said Long “went into a shell” after the accusations against him went public.
Before the scandal erupted, Long would often publicly criticize other black pastors, and once said they “major in storefront buildings,” suggesting that they lacked the business acumen to build a megachurch like he had.
But Long had shown a different public face lately, McDonald said. His entourage wasn’t as big; he was more visible in the community.
“I found him opening up,” McDonald said. “If he can pick that back up and humble himself and stop saying things like, ‘I ain’t just another chicken-eating preacher,’ he’ll survive.”
Lee, the Tulane sociologist, said Long will remain in the pulpit for another reason.
“This is what he knows,” Lee said. “He’s not going to be able to sell insurance or cars. He’s cocky. He’s confident. He believes in redemption.”
Videos from 2010:
Bishop Long's sex case mediation
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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.
Judgment must first start at the church. And boy has it! One preacher after another and not just mega preachers falling like flies. I live in a small rural community and within a 10 mile radius, I could name you at least four preachers who have either molested children, having perfected affairs, stripping and robbing God's people of money and running around on their wives. However, this doesn't change the Word of God. Eddie Long is a man, not God. IF he's guilty of the accusations, then he should truly repent to God first of all, apologize to those four young men, his wife and family and the church world. And if he's guilty, then his crimes are punishable by law. No one seemed to care if he gets time or not, just as long as he pays money to his victums, then all would go away. I believe in forgiveness, however, I also believe if I commit a crime, I should pay the time. It seems to me that sometimes mega church preachers get to thinking they're above the rules somehow; that's it's all about them and not about Jesus. Sorry folks, but Jesus called us to holiness, righteousness, living a life above reproach. I didn't say perfect, but to strive toward perfection. If Eddie Long was tempted and he yielded to such acts of immorality, then he should get what anyone else would. IF he's guilty and says he's not, he didn't just tell a lie, he also broke God's law and the law of our land. The love of money is the root of all evil, not money, but the love of it. And I'd like to know where is his "good fight of faith" is that he preaches? He was going to fight this because he said he was innocent. Well, if he's innnocent, then why doesn't he want to clear his name instead of letting people wonder if he did it or not. To me, this makes him look guilty as the devil and it will ruin his church and many people will quit the church because of this. Eddie and those four young men will have to answer to God, who certainly knows the truth of it all. Yes, as the Bible says, Money settles all matters. I wonder how's it feels to buy your way out? According to the BIble I read, it's inexcusable, as a "man of God," if he's guilty. I believe he is by the fact he paid them off instead of fighting for his so-called innocence. He knew better, he may can beat the system, but he won't beat God on judgment day. God knows the truth of the matter. The Bible says, "All things are naked and opened before the eyes of Him in whom we have to do with."
I believe this human did what the accusers accused him of. A black person can get paid off for the right sum of money. And it is sad that the accusers settled for a sum of money.
awww..you troll you....
....funny how many White parents took money from Michael Jackson for their kids. So I guess if I spoke troll like you and just wanted to start a racial flame war cause I had nothing else to do in my life I would say that:
White people can get paid off for the right sum of money to allow their children to be allegedly touched inappropriately by pop music stars. 🙂
Ark, go to Wal mart and buy a Playstation or a XBox, maybe even a WII..... find other things in your life to get your high. Trolling for negative responses is a sad way to go through life.
Mysterious ways are mysterious!
Like, really REALLY mysterious!
Before commenting on whether or not he should step down, I'd like to know more about his ministry. Is this man "full of grace?" Supernatural kind of grace? If the experience of others is that he's helped screw-ups get straightened out, then he should stay put, and continue to work out his salvation with fear and trembling.
If he's been one of these heavy-handed, condemning types...then I think he should step down. (The mercy he's shown, etc.)
I know nothing of the man, other than what these news reports show. I do know that I'm a "worse sinner" (based on man's standards), and have been shown grace, mercy and forgiveness. I'm all for passing it along. (It's got a sweet taste, my friends.) But, let his church decide. By that, whatever form of church governance is there, should review it all, and decide. It's not for us to decide. If we spare him another thought, it should be to pray for those young men, his ministry and Long himself.
Peace of Christ.
Nope! He should be thrown in the lion's den. What he has done is abominable, thus irreparable. However, if the lion would not eat him, it only means that....nothing could take such filthiness; that his flesh becomes lethal; and that even the hungriest beasts are feared to get poisoned.
I discuss the Bishop Eddie Long case on my talk show – "NO OFFENSE BUT..." with ANTHONY and EILEEN. Here is a 2 minute clip on YouTube. Check it out!
"Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” [Prvb.11:21 KJV]. Join us on Facebook & Twitter @Thegoodlifeis
If Eddie Long was innocent he owed it to his congregation and his position as a teacher of God's word, to "vigorously fight" the charges. But, because he was guilty, he chose to behave not as a man with spiritual steadfastness and integrity, but rather a shrewd businessman protecting his brand in a cloud of doubt.
He is guilty and I feel sorry for those in his congregation that have dedicated so much of their time and money (in millions alone defending him) because they believed he was doing God's work.
He belongs in a prison, locked away, as are other pedophiles.
The young men in question were not minors, so your comments about pedophilia are inaccurate. As for the rest, perhaps it would be better to have all the facts before commenting. But, that's so not done in today's culture, is it?
well we will let god deal with this because when the devil raises you up to the top he will still show his ugly head you can run but you cannot hide god gonna get you eddie not bishop because bishops are blammless you are not that sorry dude you are not that ha ha ha makes me laugh at the church all those things that friends and others would say they did not like about the church and i would defend you have shoot down you got a little cathlotic in you braah just another f-up downlow black man that is the atl for you
Be sure and stop back to post the answer to your fine riddle. Am drawing diagonal lines as we speak, to try to connect the right words. Maybe it will make some sense, you never really know, do you.
Why is this man still preaching? If he's not guilty, why did he settle? This is why some don't go to church or trust preachers. If you aren't living nothing, stop trying to preach to others. That's like the blind leading the blind!
But, has he been preaching redemption? If so, he's being consistent.
BTW, if you find a church with a "perfect" pastor, priest, minister, etc, please spread the word. It'll be a first. (That's not a criticism of the clerty, merely re-iterating that ALL are sinners, including our spiritual leaders. Most, however, keep their failings out of the papers.)
Danielle...you're right, but they didn't stick on their position and some are ex-communicated, unlike this thick skinned Long.
the devil will keep on using u but god gonna take of this matter guility yes you are sir
Question is PREACHER UNDER ATTACK OR JUST BEING EXPOSED...as discussed on internet radio show Center Stage last year...This show was 100% accurate. Everyone knew these cases would never reach the courts, so I guess the five stones will never be thrown or did he mean $5 million aka stones to reach the settlement. Take a listen as this show said it all... http://www.blogtalkradio.com/centerstage/2010/09/25/under-attack
You shall know the christian by his fruits of the spirit. (Galatians 5:22)
Once again, why is this guy still preaching? Bad enough he violated four young boys but then compounds his sins by continuing to preach the errors of Christianity!!!! Give us a break!!!!
A new beginning:
The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)
I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
You sound angry and bitter. I'm sorry for whatever a church did that caused that. But, please consider the "testimony" of the stone. Who moved it? How? When? Why? Had the stone NOT been moved, Christianity would've died out in 3 weeks, once the body was produced. The body was never produced, and the empty grave was not argued (until the 1800s).
Consider the testimony of the apostles. Did they steal the body, and then found a religion based on the highest levels of ethics, and die brutal deaths for an scam? These aren't likely.
Consider the testimony of the church. It grew from 11 apostles, and perhaps up to 100 "hangers-on" to a network of thousands within 50 years. I don't mean the "dictatorial" catholic church, as some would call it later. I mean the group of Jews who met in synagogues and who proclaimed Messiah had come. What caused them to go from 'running scared' to 'boldy proclaiming?'
I still believe.
Peace of Christ to you.
Saving Christians Like Daniel from the Big Resurrection Con/Disease:
From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."
Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.
From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:
"Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.
Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.
Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.
The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.
Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "
"In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.
Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".
With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:
o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."
o p.168. by Ted Peters:
1. Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "
o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.
Another religious pedophile off the hook. Just another day at the office.
Are you claiming there's a victim under the age of 18? Please notify the police, if you have such evidence, as it has so far escaped the attention of the authorities.
Whether it's minors or legal is not the case here. He claims to be a man of God. Members of their church were looking-up to him as one. Thus, he should act like one. However, what he has than was the complete contrary and a mockery to God; to the congregation; and to all the people he represented. It's abominable, thus irreparable.
Therefore, he must be thrown to the lion's den.
And the weak sheep will still follow him and give their hard earned money up. He is a SNAKE OIL SALESMAN, nothing more.
Are you kidding? He's far more evil and malevolent than any snake handler!
Snakes have oil? What?
In reference to the statement concerning, "Black people has a short memory, you must not know that Black people has the mind of Christ when he was on the Cross, when He said, "Father forgive them.... and when Jesus said how many times should you forgive your brother.....It is not a black people thing but a Jesus thing. Stop joining the world and assasinating Bishop Long, we are suppose to cover our brothers. Because Of the Love He Has for Us, We are commanded to love each other.
Forgive him, yes, thats your personal decision. But why do you support an invidual like this to remain the head of the church? How is HE going to now draw souls to christ? Now that he's been exposed(God's will), why should he hold a position of such high standards? You people seem to forget there are victums of his indiscretion, this isnt just about morality
@Sederick, Sweetie you may need to hear about the life of so many poweful leaders in the Word of God. King David who had a man killed after taking his wife and getting her pregnant, but later repent. Saul later Paul, who wrote the majority of the new testiment. There is NOTHING too hard for my God. There is no controversy that He can not solve. God love is not like human worldy love. When He says He loves us He means it and there is nothing that you or anyone else can do to stop God from loving them. I pray you hear and receive the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It is only because of receiving and accepting real love through Christ that Christians are the righteousness of God. Not because they earned it and are sooo good and perfect.. Jesus is the ONLY reason!
I Timothy 3:1-6 NKJV
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temparate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Tamara, excellent response. Eddie Long does not fit the bill of a good preacher. He is not above reproach any longer and he is not the husband of one wife, being divorced and remarried. Maybe it's time he steps down?
If you didn't do it; then you don't settled! I hope that now these young men can move on and find some peace and one day be able to trust someone again. May Their Higher Power Continue To Blessed Them and this time they know who their Higher Power really is. Peace!
I don't know whether this man is guilty of predatory behavior or not, but I do know that he is a misogynist on a power trip. I was invited to my sister's son's christening, when they locked the doors ,I should have left. They announced that the Bishop won't allow any one to move about in his presence. I'm sure it is illegal to lock the doors in any auditorium that large for upwards of an hour with thousands of people present. He then delivered a sermon that emphasized the importance of the husband in a marriage, and how the wife's sole role was to carry out the husband's wishes, thoughts and desires. God, only speaks to men. I never heard of a Baptist bishop but he surely speaks of a different GOD than the one I believe in.
He is quilty alright and Long's church had to pay these young men 250,000 a piece to keep their mouths shut
Don't many/most churches have insurance for this kind of thing?
He is guilty. If you were accused of a heinous crime you fight with God by your side until your reputation is redeemed. Guilty people pay off their accusers and then slap gag orders on them so that they'll never talk again. However, what happens in the dark always comes to light and he KNOWS this. Rest assured this will be an issue again, just you wait.
Know What Don't many/most churches have insurance for this kind of thing?
Now that is just about the funniest thing I have read on this site.
Al, Glad you got a laugh... maybe you will laugh even harder at this:
Here is the policy offering of one insurance company (there are several who offer this):
"Comprehensive and specialized coverage. We offer property, general liability, se.xual molestation/misconduct liability, professional liability, employment practices liability, employee benefits liability, educators legal liability, workers' compensation, auto, and umbrella liability insurance. The property and liability coverages are designed specifically for the exposures of religious ministries."
The question would be is at what level of wealth should a pastor of a church be held too? Even outside of the Atheist belief system, I have heard this argument in many of our African American churches.
I have seen Eddie Longs church personally but I have seen a few of these African American mega churches and while I do not think I would go to one I can not discount them. There are those in the African American community that seem to look down on these churches and compare/lament them to the “down-home” churches that we used to be forced into. My early years were in the 80s and I remember some of those churches. Some are still standing the same way they were back in the 20s. My mother's home church in South Carolina, you look out the side door and down the hill and you can still see the old outhouse. We are talking a church that the primary form of air conditioning is from a hand held fan with Martin Luther King on the front and JFK on the back.
When it comes to pastor pay, I am a bit torn. I know I go to a middle of the road church. We have air conditioning, and computers. Heck, we even have side projection so that those in th back can see the service and scriptures can be viewed. Our pastor drives a Subaru Forrester. Now some where between the pastor of my mom's old church, my pastor and Eddie Longs pastoral pay, how can we say which is the correct pay? Is it the same argument that folks make on why the Mayor of New York should not be paid substantially more than the mayor of Birmingham Alabama?
The bling factor, Scott I had to think a bit on that and in some ways I agree but what is “bling” to one might not be “bling” to another. The trick is that to another American what you and I might be wearing or driving might be called “bling”. I have a 2004 pickup, at the gas station a guy with a 1981 pickup on one side and a guy with the latest 2011 pickup on the other. To the guy in the 1981, he might look upon me the same as the guy with the 2011 pickup.
The trick is Scott..... can all four of us “get the job DONE!!” …. If we all can get in there and haul wood, or bricks or tow almost anything we hook up to it then the “bling” really does not matter. If these mega-churches are in there, teaching the word, and doing good works in the community, then it should not matter that at one church folks park their Lexus and step out with the latest fashions or that the other folks are stepping out of Camarys with the latest from Walmart.
At the end of the day, in the African American community we, just like the Jews, Italians and Irish, see where we came from. I love the look of those mega church buildings but its the same as looking at Charlotte motor-speedway in comparison to a small home town dirt track. Like those old folks in NASCAR, the structures mean that, as a community we have come far, we are still here and we are growing.
Now, like Scott they feel that there should be “a lot of humble going on.” I do not know about that. I feel that for all those years of seeing the news stories of African American churches being set ablaze, see the men having to come home from working in the fields and then having to go to the church and fix a roof or re-dig a foundation, … I truelly think Scott can take those “humble” thoughts elsewhere.
The One Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins.
Funny how that works. Am from a some what different background, and in my place of worship, I sit in choir next to multimillionaires, (probably an actual billionaire or two, (I never asked her)), who would never in a million years do the "bling thing". they drive a 1970 Rambler so it won't get ripped off. She actually wears a denim shirt almost every time I see her, and black slacks so she won't make people nervous as she feeds the homeless every day. We have a sort of comfy, but beautiful old Gothic stone building, but long ago quit trying to impress anyone, as it seems to be such an utter waste of time.
"The trick is Scott..... can all four of us “get the job DONE!!” … THAT is exactly what it all comes down to. What anyone perceives what the marginal utility of another dollar to be, ((and for some it seems to approach infinity), "materialists", or for others for which it's "zero" or even negative), seems to define a lot about their life views. "The Bling Thing" indicates a high level position on the materialism graph, and as such seems a little out of "sinc" for supposedly "spiritual" people. As you say it's probably about where you come from, for some, but I would hope that a critical examination of the subject would lead anyone to see " there are only so many toys to buy. and after that you better know how to keep busy with something which is fun, productive and compelling.
Very, very nicely said.