Why people stick by scandal-plagued pastors
Parishioners often build a firewall around a pastor hit by scandal, a Christian author says. But when does loyalty turn unhealthy?
May 27th, 2011
11:02 AM ET

Why people stick by scandal-plagued pastors

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - The streets that were once choked with traffic are now bare. The church's sprawling parking lot is half full. Inside the stylish sanctuary, ushers sway to choir music in front of empty seats.

On a typical Sunday morning, New Birth Missionary Church in suburban Atlanta would be hopping. But on a recent Sunday, the sprawling church complex looked half-deserted and the mood seemed flat.

Six months after a sex scandal involving New Birth's senior pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, became public, the megachurch no longer packs them in. Yet there are loyalists, like C.D. Dixon, who have not joined the exodus.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Celebrity • Christianity • Church • Pastors

soundoff (532 Responses)
  1. Delance1000

    Instead of sticking by pastor's they need to stick by the LORD thy GOD and Jesus is LORD!

    July 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  2. jon

    The same people who follow failed religious leaders like Rev Wright also follow failed presidents like Obama

    July 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  3. brieck

    Excute him

    July 25, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  4. AvdBerg

    A number of people that have written to respond to this article have spoken of the interpretation of the Bible, which is the number one problem in this present world as the Bible itself teaches us that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20). Only few people (Matthew 7:14) are able to understand the Bible and as long as mankind remains separated from God, the Word of God will remain a mystery.

    Mankind in his natural state is unable to understand the Bible and unable to receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

    There is a natural body and a spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:44). The only thing that separates the Natural body from the Spiritual body is the Baptism of Repentance (Mark 1:4). To repent means: to change spirits and to turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan, whose spirit mankind is of (Luke 9:55), unto God (Acts 26:18). This is not an interpretation. Many people search the Bible for in them they think they have eternal life, but when we bring them the Scriptures they don’t believe us (John 5:38,39). Confused? There is no need to be confused any longer. For a better understanding of the mystery of God we invite you to read all the pages and articles of our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    So, before mankind will be able to understand the Word of God, mankind requires to be converted and transformed by God (not by any religion) and only then mankind is able to understand the Bible, as it is God (John 1:1).

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9. The Bible is true in all things and is the discerner of every thought and the intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12).

    July 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • ....

      Still trolling trying to sell your cult and book it's complete garbage. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll.

      July 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  5. Shawn Irwin

    "I contend that we are both Atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." (Stephen F. Roberts)

    July 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  6. Ranzabar


    July 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  7. LaMonica

    The people who follow religion are called "flocks" for a reason..because they are sheep... and sheeps are the dumbest animals ever.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • jueu

      Your mother is dumb for naming you LaMonica. BYOTHE!!

      July 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Ranzabar

      As Einstein said: "In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep."

      July 25, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  8. starr

    The bible states: all has sinned and come short of the glory of God. With this been said, I would like to remind everyone that pastors are just MEN....yes they suppose to lead by example, but because they are MEN, that does not always the case. Pastors, as the leader of the church is all ways in the forth from to be under spiritual attack from demonic forces. Instead of tearing them apart with words , why don't you all pray for them and their families. Question, where were his intercessors ie, prayer warriors? did he have any ? or were they just not on their job? ...Jesus said "he who is without sin, cast the first stone...before you throw that stone, take a minute and exam your own heart , using the word as your microscope. Lastly remember that with God there is no little sin nor big sin....with Him, sin is just that....sin.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • rawr

      Or I can just call him a charlatan and call it a day.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  9. starr

    The bible states: all has sinned and come short of the glory of God. With this been said, I would like to remind everyone that pastors are just MEN....yes they suppose to lead by example, but because they are MEN, that does not always the case. Pastors, as the leader of the church is all ways in the forth from to be under spiritual attack from demonic forces. Instead of tearing them apart with words , why don't you all pray for the them and their families. Question, where were his intercessors prayer warriors? did he have some? or were they just not on their job? ...Jesus said "he who is without sin, cast the first stone...before you throw that stone, take a minute and exam your own heart , using the word as your microscope. Lastly remember that with God there is no little sin nor big sin....with Him, sin is just that....sin.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  10. studdmuffins

    We're human. Human = compassionate (synonymous with idiot).

    Yes, I speak for myself.

    July 25, 2011 at 5:36 am |
  11. alfredo

    Don't you get it people, this articles are just controversial points, the media don't really care about you, they just want ratings, in this case more people looking to their website, and then they can turn and sale advertising, making millions just because you and me read this articles and give our opinion this is wasting our time.

    July 25, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • Ranzabar

      Thats right!! Some come to the Christian Church of BillyBob at the corner of 60th and Stupid, where our Pastor, Brother LoveStuddMuffin Hideyourwife will tell you the Truth and love you encomditionallably

      July 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Joe

      Did you just do the same things?

      July 26, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  12. Vonnie

    Don't be so quick to judge anyone. My sins may not be your sins, but your sins, whatever they may be, are just as crimson as mine.

    July 24, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  13. Holly

    The myth that illegal aliens only hold jobs that American workers won’t do is just that — a myth. Recent studies estimate that 20 percent of cooks, 25 percent of construction workers, 22 percent of maids and housekeeping personnel, and 25 percent of groundskeepers are illegal aliens. In addition, 40 percent of illegal aliens are visa overstays, many of whom take high-end jobs from Americans.
    When fast-food company Chipotle was audited and hundreds of its illegal workers were fired, American citizens lined up the next day for a chance to work at those jobs. . .
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data from last year show that 98.3 percent of employees were confirmed as work-authorized instantly or within 24 hours using E-Verify. A 2009 report by research firm Westat found that those eligible to work are immediately confirmed 99.5 percent of the time.
    E-Verify is free, very accurate and reduces paperwork for American businesses.
    Please put your efforts into helping the truly down and out Americans. Please put your efforts in helping mothers, fathers, teenagers find work. There are generations of families who cannot compete with the under the table dealings of illegal’s and have gone out of business. Fax your representative today. Faxes and calls work and are free at Numbers…..(look it up and just do it!)

    July 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • alfredo

      Looks like you got into the wrong article.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Ranzabar

      Best facts your representativists

      July 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  14. I'm just saying....

    He's coming, be ready sinners.

    July 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Question everything

      Who is thIs human being that is coming? How do you know if "it" is a he? I must have missed this evite. Also, It would be just like us being the egomaniacs that we are thinking that if there even were a god it would be one of us, a human! What makes us so special? What if this god you mumble to is actually an elephant or rhino? Too many questions to be so defiant in your belief system.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Ranzabar

      Wasn't he supposed to be here on May 21st? Doesn't Jesus use Outlook Calendar? Just saying...

      July 25, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  15. Christmommy

    My sister went to a baptist church. The pastors wife was dying of cancer and he was having an affair. When the wife died, 90% of the members left. The pastor also took of with the new girl. These pastors are people, not Jesus. They are sinners. I don't think I would stay in a church with a cheater as a pastor. If he got divorced, yes I would stay but not a cheater.

    July 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • rawr

      They're actually very Christian. Scotsman Fallacy.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Ranzabar

      Hmmmm...if you wouldn't stay at a church with a cheater as a Pastor, looks like you have to stop going to church

      July 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  16. Ganymede

    Why would any people abandon the traditional faith of their people and bow to the god of their former slave masters? When the Jews were enslaved in Africa, they held to their religion and it is still strong today.

    July 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  17. hippypoet

    why do people even care about the Church? everyone knows there is no god! these child touch'n pervs hide behind a false idle using it to sway the minds and hearts of those put in the positions of power to enforce the law. if you were a devout believer and your figure-head of your god on earth was brought up on charges for child abuse...lets go one step further – your the cop who is in charge of arresting this piece of crap... could you do it? i could in a heart beat, with pride too! i have kids and i hold true that anyone who touches anyone should be broken using the torture used by the priests during the middle ages. i wonder how long before the pope starts talking? i don't not care about your religious beliefs, they are hiding the pervs they then are as guilty as the pervs, done deal... hang the pope, stretch him, i wanna see what god looks like! i can't image that if this is wrong to do that there god – the protector of the weak and defender of the wronged, i'm sure halfway through the trial god will appear to clear it all up, so no worries. time to try the pope for , well just for starters – conspiracy to with hold evidence- and they admit to doing it!!!!!!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • jwas1914

      Hello Hippypoet

      I can understand your frustrations, it’s sad that there are people that can be deceiving. They portray to be like Jesus in the public’s eye but behind closed doors their not. Does Jehovah God bless organizations that allow these types of practices? Let’s take a look at a few examples:

      •Jesus said to the Pharisees “in that way YOU also, outwardly indeed, appear righteous to men, but inside YOU are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness”. (Matthew 23:28)

      •The apostil Paul saw great things in young Timothy that he said to him “for I recollect the faith which is in you without any hypocrisy, . . .” (2 Timothy 1:5)

      •Peter counseled the congregations to “put away all badness and all deceitfulness and hypocrisy and envies and all sorts of backbiting. . .” (1 Peter 2:1)

      As we can see in these three examples hypocrisy was condemned by all of them. If Jesus Christ saw the hypocrisy in the Pharisees; what makes us think that he is not seeing it now in all of these organizations that portray to be His followers? Jesus warned us to “be on the watch for the false prophets that come to YOU in sheep’s covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves. . .” (Matthew 7:15) The Bible teaches us that there are people with great intentions and though they may have their imperfections but they DO speak honestly from the heart. This does not mean that they are to be treated like gods; they are just simple men trying very hard to follow Jehovah God’s laws. We in return should always keep in mind that we do not follow men but our Lord Jesus Christ and his Father Jehovah God. Please don’t lose faith in the Bible, I urge you to continue reading it daily.

      July 22, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • RYEGUY

      Why would anyone want to read the same book over and over? It must be kind of like telling the same lie so many times you begin to believe it really is true.....

      July 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Christmommy


      July 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Ranzabar

      Sad, you asked a question and as usual you got the collection of cut-n-paste Bible passages that these morons so love to quote.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  18. Brian

    The Christian religion panders to the weakness of human nature. The worst people make good Christians. This is part of the explanation for this. It's also a social thing. People go to church to see their friends.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Uriah

      the people you know maybe.. are christians not allowed to have friends? ppl are judged individually not in groups.

      July 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Ranzabar

      People go to the big scam Christian churches to pose, preen, posture and try to climb the social hierarchy. They spend their money on the recordings of the sermon they sell at the door because the're afraid not to. The're frightened by the Sociopathic church salespeople who suck them in and question their faith when they won't sign up to direct deposit 10% of their salaries into a church deposit account. The politicians are afraid to take them on because so many of the poor scammed sheep in these places don't know how abused they are and might not vote for that political pig. In a nutshell, if you walk into one of these joints you might as well be walking into a pyramid sales operation that won't let you escape.

      July 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  19. G-Man

    As PT said many years ago, 'There Is A Sucker Born Every Minute.'

    July 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  20. Lee

    It is what mindless sheep do. It is not surprising at all.

    July 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Peter Bulgin

      You know, that is what your mom said last night before bed. I didn't understand until now. Thanks so much for clearing this up for me. Say hello to your mom for me. She is an animal in bed.

      July 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • RYEGUY

      Peter, clearly you couldn't have slept with his mother last night because that would be committing adultery, right? One can only assume you must be a Christian because why else would someone be so defensive, almost as if they were taking the comment personally.

      July 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Christmommy

      Oh go pray to your messiah Obama.

      July 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.