Bishop Eddie Long's wife files for divorce
Bishop Eddie Long has denied allegations that he sexually coerced male congregants.
December 2nd, 2011
09:29 AM ET

Bishop Eddie Long's wife files for divorce

By the CNN Wire Staff

ATLANTA (CNN) -Vanessa Long, the wife of Georgia televangelist Bishop Eddie Long, is not withdrawing the divorce petition filed Thursday, despite a statement issued through her husband's church indicating that she had reconsidered, her lawyer said Friday.

"Consistent with her original statement made this morning, Mrs. Long continues to hope that this matter may be resolved expeditiously, harmoniously and fairly; however, she has determined that dismissal of her divorce petition is not appropriate at this time," said Michael W. Tyler, a partner with the Atlanta-based firm, Kilpatrick Townsend.

"To avoid any undue confusion, Mrs. Long's future statements, if any, will be issued through her attorneys only. At this time, neither she nor we will have any further comment on this matter."

The statement, sent Friday night, was the latest twist in a divorce saga that emerged Thursday, when lawyers for Vanessa Long filed divorce documents in Superior Court in DeKalb County, Georgia.

Vanessa and Eddie Long are "living in a bona fide state of separation," according to the 12-page petition. The documents adds she "is entitled to a divorce upon grounds that the marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken, there being no hope of reconciliation of the parties, and it being in the best interest of all parties concerned that this marriage be terminated by divorce."

On Friday, in a statement released to reporters by her lawyer, Vanessa Long said, "It is my sincere hope that this matter can be resolved expeditiously, harmoniously and fairly. I ask that you respect my privacy and that of my family, as my attorneys and I have agreed that we will not try this case in the media, and I do not intend to make any further statements concerning this matter."

But this appears counter to another statement also attributed to Vanessa Long and issued Friday afternoon by New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia, 18 miles east of Atlanta.

According to that statement, she says, "Upon prayerful reflection, I have reconsidered and plan to withdraw my petition for divorce from my husband, Bishop Eddie L. Long. I love my husband."

Bishop Long is senior pastor of the church, which has more than 25,000 members, according to its website.

"I believe in him and admire his strength, and courage," Vanessa Long said, according to this statement. "My filing followed years of attacks in the media that frustrated and overwhelmed me.

"I love my family and church family, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Therefore, my husband and I have mutually agreed to find healing from these attacks. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time."

New Birth's website describes Vanessa Long as "the quiet strength" in the family. "She is an inspiration to many of the women at New Birth as they watch her lovingly and quietly support her husband in every sense of the word."

Long is being sued by former parishioners who accuse him of persuading them to invest in a Ponzi scheme that wiped out at least $1 million in their retirement savings.

And last spring, Bishop Long settled a lawsuit filed by four young men who accused him of pressuring them into sexual relationships while they were teenagers and members of Long's congregation at the same north Georgia church.

That suit alleged that Long "uses monetary funds from the accounts of New Birth and other corporate and non-profit corporate accounts to entice the young men with cars, clothes, jewelry, and electronics."

Long has preached passionately against homosexuality for years.

In an August interview, two of Long's accusers said they were haunted by what happened between them and the powerful pastor and added they are writing a tell-all book about their experiences.

"It's just not enough anymore. I thought I could cover the pain up. I thought I could move, start over and everything will go away. I was terribly wrong," Jamal Parris, one of the accusers, told CNN affiliate WSB.

Parris pointed to a "JL" tattoo on his arm, which he said stands for "Jamal Long." He said Long was with him when he got the tattoo.

He said that he grew up without a father and that Long preyed on that vulnerability. "To have a man love me for just who I was. I just had to be me and love him back," Parris said.

–CNN's Mia Aquino contributed to this story in Atlanta.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Leaders

soundoff (866 Responses)
  1. LH

    Religion IS the problem. Look at the suffering in the world, most of it caused because of my RELIGION is right, just read my book. Man can believe in God and the goodness he created in mankind without religion.

    December 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      The PROBLEM is believing things that are not supported by objective reality, and calling it 'faith' and pretending it's a virtue. If you cannot demonstrate the truth of your claims, then you have no place expecting others to take such claims seriously.

      Even if you take organized religion out of the equation, god as depicted in the Bible is still a sadistic monster, unworthy of worship.

      evilbible dot com

      December 5, 2011 at 1:14 am |
  2. jorjer

    @ farmerjeani beautiful post. For those of us who like to read, thank you!!!!

    December 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  3. Russ

    Follow a church or a religion, not a man. Men are flawed, which has been proven over and over again.

    December 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • RobinMO

      Religious folks are easily exploited by sleezebags like this guy. Frankly, I stay away from churches to protect myself and family, particularly my children.

      December 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      Yeah, we should totally trust 'religion' over fallible men. After all, it's not like YHWH does immoral things!

      2 Kings 2:23-24

      "From there Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on his way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. "Go up baldhead," they shouted, "go up baldhead!" The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two shebears came out of the woods and tore forty two of the children to pieces."

      What kind of twisted 'god' would decide that an appropriate response to children making fun of a prophet's baldness is to send two bears to maul them to death?

      December 5, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  4. EatYouAlive

    And all you idiots support this rip off artist. thanks religion!

    December 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  5. Krepuskulo

    ...Then she can remarried to a straight man!

    December 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  6. ComeOnMan9

    Talking about rats desserting a stinking ship.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • ComeOnMan9

      oh I struggled so, sinking or stinking. High class problems, I got.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  7. Chinee

    I'm sure this marriage ended long before his wife filed for divorce. The church should stop trying to spin the filing and let Eddie Long's wife move on with her life in truth and dignity.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  8. Frank

    when did the internet become filled with religious nuts. it took a couple years for them to learn computers I guess cause they weren't around 5 years ago.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  9. lloyd p

    My prays are with you bishop long and your family God know best you continue praying and ask for healing NO MAN SHOULD JUDGE YOU LET GOD DO THAT ALSO DO NOT THROW STONE AT NO ONE WE ALL NEED TO PRAY FOR HIM AND FAMILY GOD BLESS YOU

    December 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • midwestmatt

      I'm judging Long because he's a liar but mostly because he is a self loathing gay man who has made other gay men feel horribly about themselves while he pursued multiple gay relationships. In other words, he's a hypocrite and God does not take kindly to those.

      The black community better come to grips with the fact that there are just as many are gay and lesbian within their race as there are among every race in the world. To continue to denigrate black gays and lesbians is discrimination and the irony there is so thick that it can't be ignored. Stop hating your fellow gays and lesbians of all colors and accept people for what their genes made them.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • George

      LMAO. I just love how preaching against h.o.m.o.s.e.x.uality is suddenly considered hate by h.o.m.o.s.e.x.uals.

      December 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Preaching against something that is genetic in part is absurd and stupid, George. And your hatred of gays is patently obvious in every post you write about them. Grow up and get over it; being gay isn't a choice and it's no more your business than your s3x life is mine.

      Yer a moron.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  10. Choad

    She finally got sick of his cologne; Eau du Young Boyz.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • C

      LMAO...I like that response Choad 🙂

      December 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • midwestmatt

      Hilarious. He also loves "Nuh Uh. Scent of an Eye Turning Congregationalist" and "Down Low. With just a trace of hypocrisy".

      December 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  11. JM Foundation

    We need volunteers. join us by tweeting, or spreading the word to others.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  12. JM Foundation

    Change the world by VOLUNTEERING your time. join us by tweeting, or spreading the word to others. We need you

    December 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  13. George

    Yet again! And who are the real fools?

    December 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  14. dereck jones

    It was clear that this man prayed (lol) on children. The fact that many in his church supported him is sick!

    December 4, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  15. TxJim

    There is a very fine line between pimps, preachers, and politicians...

    The best ones are cut from the same cloth..

    December 4, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  16. hellhere

    Hell awaits you Eddie Long.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Ty

      That's not your place to judge, easy there, you might find yourself in the same seat some day.

      December 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  17. JFK57

    The "bishop" is a sinner like every one else in this world. 1. He should be removed from the authority of the church and not be allowed to pastor and 2. THose that follow him should learn the lesson that you never idolize a person, o matter who they are!

    December 4, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  18. ab

    I never heard of the guy but if CNN says it's breaking news I guess it is.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • ohdeargod

      Right behind you on that one – 🙂

      December 4, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Dave In Texas

      It's hard to believe that there is no mention of The DOJ and Eric Holders lying about F&F on CNN, but this no-name eddie-whoever is top-front page. This is the perfect example of why Fox is kicking CNN's backside.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • lolatyou

      Just because you don't know anything about him doesn't make it less breaking news to the rest of us.

      December 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  19. farmerjeani

    If you look at the universe, the one thing that strikes you immediately is the balance and harmony God created. The planets, the stars, the galaxies are positioned and held into place in an intricate weave, each stabilizing the others. This is the balance, the harmony that God has created for both his universe and his people. We should be in harmony with the earth, with each other and with God.
    The bible is a beautiful and amazing book. It contains all of the wisdom from the dawn of man to the present, and an awesome amount of wisdom it is. It reflects the search for God from the very beginnings of human kind, the desire to understand, to comprehend, to be in harmony with our creator. But too often, people, especially Christians, limit their search to a book-‘the’ book as they put it. To me this is as fruitless as attempting to study a bird by placing it in a shoe box and watching it day and night. Can we learn how it soars on an air current, how it cares for it's young, in which clear pool of water it chooses to dip and refresh its feathers? Or why it nests in a particular tree or which berries it chooses to eats? We cannot find the essence of a bird in a contained in a closed environment, We cannot find God in a book.
    Jesus didn’t say to his apostles, go out and write down each word I have said. He said “I will send the Holy Spirit to live in your heart, to lead and guide you.’ He even said “it is better for you that I go” Think of the significance of those words. “ I am the son of God and it is better for you that I go, so that the spirit may enter your heart and abide with you.
    The spirit does abide in us. In every one of us; Christian or Jew, Hindu or Buddhist, Muslim or Sikh. Even in the heart of the Atheist. Just because you don’t believe in God doesn’t mean God doesn’t believe in you. And I don’t think he cares what name we call him or if we all agree on how he should be served. The truth is in your heart. It doesn’t matter if you attend mass in a beautiful Cathedral or light a candle on a mountain top. The relationship with God lives in every heart. And when you do wrong-not the wrong that is listed in the many books of the world, but the wrong that causes the small still voice in your heart to say wait! Stop! Don’t do that! And you proceed to do it anyway, you have lost your harmony with God. The very moment you step out of that harmony, you have generated what is essentially a cosmic thump to the head. It is punishment. Not punishment from God, who loves us and wants only the best for us, but punishment of our origination. It can’t be avoided, it can’t be reasoned away, it can’t be mitigated; it is coming. Some people call this karma, some call it Devine retribution, but it’s coming no matter what you choose to call it and the impact of the thump will equal the magnitude of the sin. This is stated in the bible in the simplest of terms. Live by the sword, die by the sword. It could also be stated as ‘goes around, comes around’, ‘eat the calorie, gain the pound’, or in scientific terms, ‘for every action, there is a reaction’. I don’t believe in Hell. I believe in God. He created love. His capacity for love is so much greater than ours, and yet we, in our arrogance, who don’t kill our children for their transgressions, seem to think that our love is somehow more gentle and forgiving than God’s. We believe this magnificent perfection of love we call God would burn us in eternal hell for our mistakes or disobedience.
    I believe there are those who destroy their own souls. They have stilled the voiced and obliterated their hearts with evil. Is this the end of them? I don’t know. Perhaps they get recycled, as we recycle our empty soda cans. Perhaps they get a cosmic timeout that lasts for eons and then they return to Gods presence, chastised, for a chance at redemption. Perhaps they just cease to exist. Death really is the final stop for them. I have no idea. But the point is, neither does anyone else. It is all speculation and guess work from scholars who have spent many years studying the bird in the box. As for me, I will continue to listen to that still small voice.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • hellhere

      too long to read. learn to post.

      December 4, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • schrish

      ok,,,,but what about long corn-holing congregants?

      December 4, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • paganguy

      Death is the final stop for everybody.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Snot

      Hey, hellhole – it's not her fault that you're illiterate. Learn to read.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Vesi

      "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I've written a long one instead." – BlaisePascal, MarkTwain, and MrVoltaire and probably others

      December 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Stephen

      Your post caught my eye and I wanted to thank you for such a heartfelt expression of your belief. You put into words my on thoughts about the existence of God and our relationship to the creator much more eloquently than I could. You also helped me refine my beliefs a bit. Thank you very much for your effort.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • EatYouAlive

      koo koo bananapants

      December 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • chris R

      I stopped reading your post about 1/3 of the way through when you said, "The spirit does abide in us. In every one of us; Christian or Jew, Hindu or Buddhist, Muslim or Sikh. Even in the heart of the Atheist. Just because you don’t believe in God doesn’t mean God doesn’t believe in you." You couldn't be any further from the truth here. The Bible says that whoever places their faith in Jesus Christ have the Spirit of God. If one does not believe in Jesus, they do not have the Spirit.
      John 3:5-8 "Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
      Rom 8:5-10 "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness."

      And again in 1Cor 12:3: "Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit."

      Also, to have the Spirit of God in you is part of being "born of God," born of the Spirit," or "born again" It's the Christian's "new birth" as Jesus put it (John 3:5-8). John says this concerning being born of God in 1John 5:1-5: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"

      To sum it up, the Spirit of God is a gift to His children (believers in Christ and only Christ).

      And just on a final note:
      1Cor 2:11-14 "For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."

      The "natural person here are the unbelievers (non-Christians).

      I'm glad I was given the opportunity to explain this to you and to whomever would read it. God bless.

      December 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Mildred the Mouth

      I stopped reading at the "it contains all of the wisdom from ... bla bla bla". Clearly it DOES NOT. It is one small collection of books from ONE small society. That you are uneducated is the problem. And as for the "experience of wonder" at viewing the universe goes, that experience proves nothing. Yes it is amazingly complex. It does not justify the jump to your conclusions, which are not supported.

      December 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  20. Elijah34

    The hour is coming, and that hour is now, when the true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth. For God is a Spirit, and those that worship Him, must worship in spirit and in truth. The Lord Jesus speaking in the book of John. To all haters and those that just do not understand. As long as you look at the Word of God through your flesh, You will never get it. For the Lord said, I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, How can you understand if I tell you Heavenly things. For the Word says that He has taken the foolish things to confound the wise. To my brothers and sisters in Christ. These same haters were around when the Lord walked the earth as Jesus . They will die in like manner as their brothers befor them. The Word of God has and will stand the test of time. Heaven and earth Will Pass Away, But My Words Will Stand. The Lord Jesus speaking on His Words wether the Old or New Testaments. You say how can this be when He did not show up until the New Testament. John 8th chapter 58th verse, Befor Abraham was I Am. Moses found out who I Am was on the backside of Egypt in Africa. Through the bush that was on fire but did not burn. To all haters of God, tell it to someone who cares.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Snot

      When I want to read fairy-tales, I stick to the brothers Grimm.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Tbard

      Haters of RELIGION are necessarily haters of God.

      December 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Mildred the Mouth

      Ya, ya, ya. You people have been blabbing that crap for thousands of years. Yawn.

      December 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Haters of religious nuts like you do not necessarily hate God. They just hate people like you, who pretend to be God's special interpreters of truth and his appointees to the court of eternal judgment. Get bent.

      December 4, 2011 at 6:34 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.