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February 3rd, 2012
09:13 AM ET

Bishop Eddie Long crowned 'king'

By John Blake, CNN

Atlanta (CNN)–Bishop Eddie Long has been called anointed, but he was recently awarded another title, as shown in a video that’s gone viral. He’s now a king.

Long was wrapped in a “Holocaust Torah” and crowned a king during a recent Sunday ceremony at New Birth Missionary Church, his suburban Atlanta congregation.

A visiting rabbi wrapped Long in the Torah, which he said was recovered during the Holocaust. The rabbi then directed four men to lift a seated Long in his chair and parade him before the New Birth congregation.

Long wiped tears away as he looked over his cheering congregation.

“He is a king. God’s blessed him. He’s a humble man, but in him is kingship, royalty,” Rabbi Ralph Messer shouted.

Word of the pastor's crowning ceremony spread across the Web. Last year, Long settled out of court with four young men who accused him of coercing them into sexual relationships.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

A rabbi and Christian scholar questioned Long and Messer, the man who led Long’s crowning ceremony.

Messer said during the ceremony that the Torah was a “priceless” 312-year-old scroll that had been recovered from the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. He said he wanted to honor Long “on behalf of Jewish people, and the land of Israel.”

Rabbi Hillel Norry of Congregation Shearith Israel in Georgia said the ceremony was “ridiculous.” There’s no Jewish coronation ceremony where someone is wrapped in a Torah and made a king, he said.

“We just don’t do that. We treat it with deference,” Norry said of the Torah. “It’s not a shawl, not a crown. Don’t treat it that way.”

Norry said Messer doesn’t appear to be an ordained rabbi in the Jewish faith. He also doubts that the Torah that Long was wrapped in is actually 312 years old, and had somehow escaped detection in a concentration camp.

“The Torah is the size of a person. It’s not like you can hide one,” he said.

Brent Strawn, an associate professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, said Christian pastors are not treated as kings in the New Testament.

“They are almost always spoken of as servants,” he said. “This is exemplified by Jesus in the New Testament, when he wears the garment of a servant and washes his disciples’ feet.”

Long declined to speak, but his spokesman released a statement from the rabbi who led the ceremony.

Messer leads the Simchat Torah Beit Midrash congregation in Colorado, which describes itself as a community of Jewish and non-Jewish believers in “Yeshua,” or Jesus Christ. He said the ceremony was held to honor and encourage Long because the pastor had given so much to his church, and the world.

“It was not to make Bishop Eddie L. Long a king,” Messer said in the statement. “Lifting him on the chair was to acknowledge and honor him. It is done all the time at Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs.”

Long is one of the most well-known televangelists in America. At its peak, New Birth had around 25,000 members, and Long’s sermons were broadcast around the globe.

Two years ago, Long’s public image took a hit when four young men accused him of misusing his spiritual authority to coerce them into sexual relations. Long’s wife, Vanessa, filed for divorce last year.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars • Israel • Jesus • Judaism

soundoff (712 Responses)
  1. Eddie Longs Cadillac

    Keep on talkin cuz I gonna run all ya asses over...

    February 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  2. Jim P.

    You can't make this stuff up folks. This man *knows* comedy! The Cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster can't make rleigion look any sillier than this. Now he just needs to staert wearing funny hats like some of the more esoteric eastern branches of christianity.

    Truly a laugh a minute in his "church".

    February 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  3. I love BIshop Long

    You all better shed up. Eddie Long b a goot man an hep mani peopuls cuz he wan 2 do rite by duh lawd. I lub me sub eddie Lone.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Dave, NYC

      He obviously did not spend enough time with you sitting on his lap so that you can learn to spell correctly! Now spending money to educate people and teaching them solid life skills is money well spent!

      February 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Lean6

      U love attention...and probably Elmer's glue.

      February 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Dave, NYC

      Elmers Glue is designed for your life. Whether you're a crafter or a teacher, Elmer's offers projects, tips and other resources to get your job done.

      February 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Carbona, not glue.

      February 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  4. Dave, NYC

    He just loves the "drag," honestly! He is a true narcissist. His ego is sadly fed by people who choose to put logic last. Eddie Long, his denial, and lying, coupled with this aversion to being worshipped, really disprespects the christian faith & gay people. He needs to come clean and be real. Believing in Gods forgiveness does not abdicate your self responsibility for your past, present & future actions. All religion is man made and cultish. God cannot be limited into boxes.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  5. Lee Hollimon

    I'm so tired of this phony and he deserves a great fall. All he is is self-aggrandizement.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  6. Shawn

    Just shows the ignorance of the folk in the audience. When I saw the video I couldn't believe the ludicriousness of the entire thing. I am not a Jew and new it was all fake.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Dave, NYC

      Here Here!

      February 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  7. Hail Eddie

    .,..doing more to discredit religion than a roomful of non-believers could do! Yay!

    February 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  8. Grob Hahn

    Shouldn't he have been crowned Queen? Just sayin.......
    Grobbbbbbbbbb

    February 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  9. momoya

    It's the American Dream!! If this doesn't shake up his congregation what will?

    February 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Hail Eddie

      I'm not so sure that his congregation keeps up much on the news... or comes to a forum like this to be informed.

      Can we air drop leaflets to them.... or print messages on the bottom of fast-food cups that Eddie Long is a farce (doubt they'd know what a farce is... so just say something real simple, I guess)

      February 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  10. TrigWit - Americas favorite tard baby

    Just more of the TYPICAL Atlanta nig ger SHYT!!

    February 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  11. Lean6

    If this is right, I guess i'll never be "saved".

    February 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  12. Peter

    This is easily the stupidest thing to occur this year. Anyone who knowingly supports this clown deserves to have their savings drained for following such a transparntly ignorant person.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  13. Paco

    I was hoping they would drop the chair or he would fall out of it...

    February 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  14. reggie

    Just got through reading about EDDIE LONG'S being crowned KING by some fly-by-nite- jack leg preacher.. what a shame this fool is trying to make a come back.. he should stay hid under a rock....what's really wrong is that church members went for this foolishness!!!

    February 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  15. rick

    So king = pedophile? Who woulda thunk?

    February 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • rick

      i suppose his congregants will follow him anywhere

      February 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Well, not quite a pedophile, since he craftily waited until they were of legal age, but a vile predator - yes.

      February 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  16. sam

    He just needs a giant clock necklace now and he'll be all set.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  17. Jennifer Hudsons gastric bypass surgery

    The funny or sad part is all those nig gers in the audience were applauding, clapping and yelling for more. Just a goup of dumb black sheep.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Intruth23

      Interesting how CNN will let an ignorant Dumb A$$ like you comment. LOL!!

      February 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Jennifer Hudsons gastric bypass surgery

      What wrong intruth...does the truth hurt or are you secretly sucking on Eddie Longs nig ger D!CK? HUH...speak up ya ho~mo.

      February 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • fred

      Internet anonymity is a great thing isn’t it you ignorant douche-nozzle.

      February 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  18. Mike

    Well, he is certainly still a flamboyant man. Does anybody really believe any of this crap?

    February 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  19. Tillie in Texas

    Organized religion is meant to control people and Eddie Long used it on those poor boys. Most of these mega-church "pastors" are frauds & grifters like the self admitted con man Joseph Smith. These "flocks" need to break free of these criminals and just live by the golden rule. Eddie Long, Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson and the rest of them have a special place in hell waiting for them for using God's name in vain, if you believe on that sort of thing. If not, karma works well too. Tax the religionists!

    February 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • TR6

      They haven’t used god’s name in vain. They have used if for tremendous prophets

      February 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  20. Billy

    ELVIS IS KING

    February 3, 2012 at 1:04 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.