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
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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
The Bishop should have stood on his faith and trusted GOD to reveal the TRUTH. whether he did these things or not GOD knows all. he should've allowed himself to go thru the fire, been torn down and allowed GOD to use him to show that GOD is real! Most times that comes with alot of pains,embarrasment,etc but who are u trying to prove it to? man? of are u trying to show GOD how faithful u are and how much u TRUST HIM? If he is innocent then he should've stood on that and went througth the raging storm. If he is guilty the GOD we serve will forgive him and handling him accordingly like only HE CAN DO! I know GOD WILL HAVE THE FINAL SAY!
Guily or Not is not the question, If Long REPENTS and never re offend again, that is worth praising God
We that are passing judgment for his past sins, have to REPENT for our sins, but we think they are smaller and less important to God. Are knees will bow and we may see the errora of our ways worrying about other peoples sins.
Nasty, just nasty. He needs to go to the mourner bench and just lay there. Anyone who lets him minister to them has a problem. You don't pay 15 million dollars just because, guilty as accused if not fight to the end. People don't get this amount of money when they lose limbs or lives in accidents. Church folk we can be forgiving but not stupid....... Let the church say AMEN.
Patricia, I wish it was that easy, but millions of innocent people plea guilty to lesser crimes each day because man's justice is not Gods.
Just because you are innocent doesn't mean a jury will find you Not Guilty, and once you're inprisoned, it is less likely that your appeals of innocence are going to be granted by some higher court.
@Daryl According to all the medical literature gay is not a choice.
MAN CAN'T MAKE THAT DECISION
GOD HAS ALREADY SPOKE ON THAT ISSUE YOU ARE BORN WOMAN OR MAN NOT GAY!
Do you enjoy living a total lie your entire life or what?
He should be sentenced to a gay ward in a federal pen, allowed to wear only his Star Trek suit and carry a tube of KY Jelly. Sick beyond comprehension.
Moron, there's no such thing as a "gay ward"- there's nothing wrong with being gay, but there is something wrong with being a child molester.
Gays are not born gay. It is a life style of their choice. Period.
I'm still curious why he's wearing a Star Trek suit LOL. Is he going to rectally asault another boy, grab a pack of smokes and some hennesee, and fly off with Captain Kirk to meet Baby Jesus and Teddy Pendergras? What's the real story with this shady character anyhow?
Beam him up Scotty.
Everyone should just step aside because once a molester is always a molester. It will happen again and the next time, he will get caught in the act. Then his congregation may wake up and smell the cafeine. He vowed to fight these allegations, so why is he caving in? Perhaps if the case went to court, all the sorted details will come out, and not only his wife, family, and the world, but the congregation, will get a nasty ear full, too.
oNCE AN alcoholic always an alcohkolic, molester, bad parent...etc
these are the thoughts and words of a LOSER! who has no hope for himself
IDoes this define you mr. Karrolley?
Always seemed my bling theater to me. Keep up w/ the jones, social climbing. Even if i won the lottery i would not dirve a bentley while people are starving in this country. I wouldnt want to have people looking at me just to feed my fat ego. Vulgar display of gaudy jewelry. Old money and class does not flaunt what they have to feel superior
lynnaluvers the climate is ripe for more female leaders
Hey listen up in the bible Jesus chose twelve men disciple not women and yes God allowes woman at time to be leaders or pastors in a church but very rarely he does. God would prefer men in this role so if I knew any better you probably got divorce at least once trying to take the place of the man and lead the house because that is exactly what you sound like a women who will not play the role she is meant to play and just be submissive.
The climate is ripe for more female leaders http://www.lynnaluvers.com
Just another reason for the following to happen sooner than later:
Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.
Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.
Should we close down doctor's offices too? or disband the boy scouts? or other places and professions? There was a doctor in MD who was just arrested for molesting kids as young as 3 mo to 13 years old. He was reported once before and the cops and D.A did nothing. So if we got rid of every profession there would not be anything left.
There are many flaws, follies and frauds in the major religions:
A brief summary:
1. There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no bases.
2. There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
3. There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
4. There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
5. There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
6. Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
7. Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
Reality, is all but!
You have no foundation to prove anything you have written
That is why you speak worthlessness
It is called the Great Angel Con:
Joe Smith had his Moroni.
Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;
Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).
Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.
The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.
Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
Some added references to "tink-erbells".
"Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."
Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.
"The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:
"TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."
And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:
"In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."
"The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "
"The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "
Saving Christians from the Great 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."
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.
New Torah 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 doc-ument.
"When I grew up in Brooklyn, congregants were not sophisticated about anything," said Rabbi Harold Kushner, the author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" and a co-editor of the new book. "Today, they are very sophisticated and well read about psychology, literature and history, but they are locked in a childish version of the Bible."
"Etz Hayim," compiled by David Lieber of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, seeks to change that. It offers the standard Hebrew text, a parallel English translation (edited by Chaim Potok, best known as the author of "The Chosen"), a page-by-page exegesis, periodic commentaries on Jewish practice and, at the end, 41 essays by prominent rabbis and scholars on topics ranging from the Torah scroll and dietary laws to ecology and eschatology.
These essays, perused during uninspired sermons or Torah readings at Sabbath services, will no doubt surprise many congregants. For instance, an essay on Ancient Near Eastern Mythology," by Robert Wexler, president of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, states that on the basis of modern scholarship, it seems unlikely that the story of Genesis originated in Palestine. More likely, Mr. Wexler says, it arose in Mesopotamia, the influence of which is most apparent in the story of the Flood, which probably grew out of the periodic overflowing of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The story of Noah, Mr. Wexler adds, was probably borrowed from the Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh.
Equally striking for many readers will be the essay "Biblical Archaeology," by Lee I. Levine, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "There is no reference in Egyptian sources to Israel's sojourn in that country," he writes, "and the evidence that does exist is negligible and indirect." The few indirect pieces of evidence, like the use of Egyptian names, he adds, "are far from adequate to corroborate the historicity of the biblical account."
Similarly ambiguous, Mr. Levine writes, is the evidence of the conquest and settlement of Canaan, the ancient name for the area including Israel. Excavations showing that Jericho was unwalled and uninhabited, he says, "clearly seem to contradict the violent and complete conquest portrayed in the Book of Joshua." What's more, he says, there is an "almost total absence of archaeological evidence" backing up the Bible's grand descriptions of the Jerusalem of David and Solomon.
The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "litany of disillusion" about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."
Of course in the settlement he will admit no fault. M. Jackson paid off his victims also.
Apparently, money talks.
Atheism...is God's Secret....You will never get an atheist to betray God, b/c they don't hate God, they just don't believe he exist until proven...that doesn't mean they want follow him and fight for him...they are just his shepards that no one can touch, not even the religious and the fake religious devils who are using faith and religion to hurt the world and confuse the masses....the devil uses religion and church to get you...it's vanity....the devils greatest sin....you guys should stop putting this kid down and start praising him for standing up for something no christian will do....NOT ONE!!....THAT'S POWERFUL, AND THAT'S 'GOD'S SECRET.'....you stupid religious people!!.
when i refer to the kid...i am referring to an Atheist..and not the liar, Eddie Bishop...if he want to smoke other men's pole..then do it honestly...you're married for crying out loud and take responsibility for your actions and stop copping out using church and the weakness of the minds of black people to allow you to remain a false prophet...
You'll know Gods power when your knee bow's at judgment fool.
Great – so, either these four young men never were abused, but simply saw an opportunity to shake down an individual with a questionable reputation (the 'where there's smoke' strategy), and Pastor Long either caved in to the pressure, or sought an expedient route (possibly used before) to make the problem go away; OR, these really are four young men who've been abused, but rather than make the pastor answer for what he did to them in a court of law, and spare other young men in the future the trauma they experienced, they allowed their silence to be bought. A pretty sordid picture, however you look at it. All of them seem to have forgotten, however, that whoever's at fault in this situation, be it Pastor Long or the young men, Judgment Day awaits.
Speak to it-Well said!
Who are you kiding, he is as guilty as ever. You don't pay 15 million dollars just to make something go away. He is sick just like that new hair piece he has on his head.
Eddie Long is not the only slick preacher out there.
CNN probably wont report it but a pediatrician was arrested for molesting kids from 3mo to 13 over a hundred kids and he was reported before and the cops and da's did nothing! It is not just preachers it is every where!
I would never used bishop and long togeather, people have to understand this guy is no more than a thief. The sad part the people who give the money need the money most. Do you think long losses any sleep over that fact. God will not holed any thing against those who give,as they will inheret the earth,as for the bigget long he will tell you god has forgiven him and continue to beg for money,what a poor excuse of a man. He will certianly meet the devil ,they have a lot in common.
Yeah he's a thief. Plenty of those low-lives around dressed "respectably" and driving the latest posh car. Now his "flock" will praise dee lawd for healing this paw human. Blind following the blind.
The warriors, in this case, are Anthony Flagg, Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande. Perhaps their actions will stop Long from having access to teens to groom them. Perhaps people around Long will stop him from taking teens with him on trips, giving them gifts, or even sharing space.
-> "Perhaps their actions will stop Long from having access to teens to groom them. Perhaps people around Long will stop him from taking teens with him on trips, giving them gifts, or even sharing space"
Think about Michael Jackson, how many parents still took their kids to see him and stay with him.
If Long were labelled a child molester, he wouldn't be allowed within the same church as children. Yet he will continue to do it because that's what "holy" people do- make holes in other people's hearts and psyches that is.
Why is he wearing a uniform from star trek lol
What amazes me the number of high powered influential men that continues to think that they will not get caught. How many have to be put to shame for men to realize it "pays to do right" give it up and come clean EVERYBODY. Every Judas hang themselves eventually.
-> ""How many have to be put to shame for men to realize it "pays to do right"
Bill Clinton, cheated .... still respected and honored as if nothing happened.
Kobe Bryant, cheated .... still respected and cheered as if nothing happened.
Tiger Woods, cheated .... if he returns to his old form ..... will be once again respected as if nothing happened.
Some men and women in power almost do not have to worry about getting caught. Folks will almost always give celebrities passes and if their fan base is large and rich enough, all the crying and hand wringing will not matter from those who are not his fans.
What I am hearing these days more and more is that folks are giving their celebrities passes because they feel that since so many have done the same thing so theirs should not be held accountable. Think Martha Stewart. How many womens groups said she should not be sent to jail because men have done the same thing forever so she should get a pass?
Mark, generally cheating is not breaking the law, however it is still wrong. MOLESTING someone when they are a child is breaking the law, and you can go to prison, and in some countries get death sentence. Bill Clinton, and Tiger Woods never broke any law, do you really not understand that?
@Reggie, correction to your implication that Eddie Long broke any laws. In the state of Georgia the legal age of consent is 16. Hence Long has not broken any laws. It would behoove us to try to stick to known facts as much as possible. Had Long been accused of breakign the Law, a settlement would not have been the only option. As then, criminal authorities would have investigated. It would not have been a civil case only (as the victim would retain the right to sue in civil court as well) but a criminal matter, punishable by time in prison. Bottomline, Eddie Long has not been accused or convicted of any crime. I just wanted to clarify that for anyone who may read your comments and been mislead. 🙂