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. Biggi

    Lack of intelligence

    July 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  2. KarenY

    Omg why are they attacking christians

    first it was "Thats not in the bible"
    now this?

    July 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  3. Ray

    there are MANY false prophets as the bible foretold. MOST of these megachurches are led by "pastors" who never even studied theology! PATHETIC!

    July 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Greg

      You are soooo right.... Osteen, Long, etc... have never been to seminary and preach erroneous doctrine that stands in contradistinction to the Christian faith...We don't need messages of self help and how to be better or how we deserve God's blessings....What we deserve is HELL and only by the grace of God and faith in His Son are we spared eternal torment and separation from God (Eph. 2:8-9). To preach a false gospel of "being better" presupposes we are good to begin with when the Bible clearly states the opposite – Rom. 3:10, Rom. 3:23, Gen. 6:5, Jer. 17:5-10, John 3:19-20. THe Gospel is not about being better or how we deserve anything, it is about Christ, His death on the cross, His resurrection, and eternal reign as king of kings and Lord of lords (Phil. 2:5-10) Salvation is not about being better, but dying to one's self and living to Christ. It is not about what we do but about what Christ did on the cross of Calvary taking the sins of the world, past, preset and future and the punishment we all deserved so that those who believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting, eternal life (John 3:16-17) for God did not come into the world to condemn the world but that through Him the world (kosmos) may be saved.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  4. Paul Masley

    It is just that so many people just need a crutch and that invisible skydaddy is that crutch. They are afraid to stand on their own and when things go wrong in their life, they comment is that it is gods way. No it is not. When are they going to learn that religion is one of the biggest goverment sanctioned pyramids schemes ever launched. It is right there with insurance and gambling.

    July 12, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  5. AvdBerg

    Because people do not know what spirit they are of (Luke 9:55) and prefer darkness over light (John 3:19). What does that all man? For a better understanding we invite you to read all the pages and articles of the website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    July 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  6. Jene

    I think people stick with these pastors because it seems like people have lost the ability to think for themselves lately.

    July 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  7. madiesmith

    This is surprising from people who proudly refer to themselves as sheep? "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful."

    July 12, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • Jene

      That statement couldn't be more true!!

      July 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • toni

      so true Madiesmith

      July 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  8. logmion

    Has The Rock been negligent, breached its duty of care or committed crimes against god? then tell us your truthful stories of abuse and neglect and your views.

    Will whats happened to The News of the World happen to The Rock?

    At C.1:Q.96, Nostradamus foretells of an iconoclastic prophet, using refined language to continually educate, who is raised in the Last Days.

    Logmion is here and says "Bring Back Petrus Romanus"

    Facebook Logmion Pilon

    July 11, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  9. kat

    idk why this is much of a surprise that these preachers are out there doin this...the bible warns us that in the last days their will be deceivers and a great falling away... matthew 24:2-19 sums this up in a nutshell.... " ....And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many..."

    July 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • toni

      ninja please. name one era when the church or pastors, priests, etc have not been dirty? this crap has nothing to do with last days. shoo, it may not have been good for me back then. i could have been cutting sugar cane and calling the white man master, and some of the masters were strongly affiliated with the church.

      July 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  10. AvdBerg

    For a better understanding why people stick by their scandal-plagued pastors, we invite you to read all the pages and articles of the website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    July 9, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  11. Noble9

    It beats watching soap operas.

    July 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • 7od

      but not football

      July 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  12. Eric

    This is surprising from people who proudly refer to themselves as sheep? "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful." - Lucious Annaeus Seneca (3 BC – AD 65)

    July 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

    Maybe they stayed because they forgave him. Who is perfect? If you decide to be a Christian one of the greatest gifts we are given is forgiveness. That gift of forgiveness is ours to give to everyone without prejudice. We are all subject to failure but His grace and mercy are always extended whether we are pastors or members. I applaud those that stayed, it takes courage to stand under fire.

    July 6, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • sharp626

      Nobody is perfect, but lets not overlook what happened here. We must forgive as the bible teaches us, but just because he is an excellent preacher doesn't mean that we should not hold him accountable. The rules still apply to him as they apply to me. Nobody is exempt! If it was my son, I would be ready to roll up my sleeves and fight him and get things sorted out with God later!

      I would leave his church too, unless he came clean and repented!

      July 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • kevin roy jenkins


      July 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Mark

      The gift of forgiveness is a human quality and has no direct relationship to any religion. And to state that it evolves from religion is a distortion. I was born into a kind, supportive, and clearly atheistic family. We needed no religion to show us the good from the bad. We each have a brain and the ability to reason for ourselves. "Church" is a man made rip-off, often guity of major crimes that go unpunished. Be wise, teach your children right from wrong and lead them to an honorable life. It works.

      July 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  14. It all comes down to religious guilt

    Surely our world is above petty lies and corrupt dealings. Who is behind the grief and suffering and what are benefiting by doing so? These are the words. Follow the money. So often heard but seldom processed. Analysis of how Christian churches make a buck show that if you repress the people and take away the fun you can torment them and make them believe anything loco story behind locked doors. We need freedom from religion. What basis are we working on? Gold standard didn't work. Church standard isn't working unless you are a pedophile pope or priest. Or if you enjoy being a nun at an all girls high school germinating lesbians. Who cares how much the Vatican, the Catholic Church pays off the world. Their order is wrong for the world. Stop the feasting and beasting on old time religion. It isn't good enough for you or me. When you do the math the bible is not historical. Just attend the best Christian college in America called Princeton Theological Seminary. If you preach religion you need to go their to realize that you are a hypocrite and you are spreading the wrong message. Find motivation in logic and science not from fiction in the bible.

    July 6, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  15. stives

    For any man no matter who he is, claimed that God called him to preach; and then create all of the things he wants to include ensuring no one is appointed above him and can vote or have something to do with his so called high life he lives on its congregation monies; something is terriable wrong with that picture. Any christian to stands by a pastor who have done dirt, or is dong dirty things, they are just as guilty. I find it hard to really think that all of these so called preachers is continuing to do dirty things and no one, even members of that church congregation is not standing up and saying, its time for them to resign or leave. Standing by anyone who lead a life of richness while other families suffer say's a lot about the pastor. A wife that stand along with her so called pastor is not doing the right things either. Long, Creflo and others are in so many ways have actually broken the word "worship" because they don't know how to preach and sitting in the congregation trying to be part of the group, they too, should not be forgiven.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  16. William dodge

    Look all the men are good looking they have gay church to hide in !

    July 4, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  17. Matt

    His followers going to hell just like he will .

    July 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  18. Janet

    These are the same people who think that Michael Jackson was not a pedophile, but a saint in the making.

    July 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Jesus

      Look at that photo of simpletons with their hands held up as if they were being robbed. Oh wait, they are being robbed by the purveyors and hucksters that make their fortune in the religion business.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  19. Coriolana

    because they are stupid or in collusion.

    July 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  20. Wade

    Because they're mindless lemmings.

    July 3, 2011 at 11:16 am |
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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.