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. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer changes lives

    February 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      February 4, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  2. Mike

    The King of Peter Puffers.

    February 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  3. wisdom4u2

    I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice
    To worship you, Oh my soul rejoice!
    Take joy, my King, in what you hear
    May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear

    I love you, Lord, and I lift my hands
    To worship you as my soul demands
    Take joy, my King, in what you see
    May I be a sweet, sweet child on your knee

    February 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Sgt. Joe Friday

      The music that those words belong with is the theme to Dragnet. You know,

      Dumb dumb DUMB dumb
      Dumb dumb DUMB dumb DUMB!!!

      February 3, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      You're a ph ucking as shole liar!!! Jesus said said to be meek, not 'weak', a ss wipe!!!! Sorry, but it's true.

      February 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Ha-ha....gotta go to Walmart!

      February 3, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • bringoutyourdead

      The ugliness of dead souls mocking worship and stealing an honest reply
      Demons hate worship

      February 3, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • periwinkle

      Look up the definition of "meek" before you blow your top.

      meek: Quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive: "the meek compliance of our politicians".

      pretty much the same thing...

      February 4, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • A Little Help

      The word translated as meek is πραΰς, an adjective meaning something like mild or gentle, even soothing.

      February 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  4. Otasawian

    Religion is supposed to be a code of conduct for individuals who can't figure how to act and behave on own, but more often than not it also turns into a belief system for those who can't think for themselves. In this instance religion is just a spectacle for the truly gullible and stupid.

    February 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • periwinkle

      well stated

      February 3, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  5. periwinkle

    There is no explanation other than these people are idiots and must have IQ's of 40... Just another ridiculous example of self gratifying behavior and false grandiose beliefs of oneself. So ignorant.

    February 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  6. BoldGeorge

    I can't blame unbelievers for their reluctance in approaching Christianity, as some of these clowns, who pose as christians, give Christianity a black-eye. May God change their clownish hearts.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      These kinds of things merely make us laugh. What makes us push away is the complete intolerance of many of the religious to any view besides their own.

      February 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • periwinkle

      @hawaii... they can't be tolerant because that goes against the very exclusive nature of believing in any one religion....

      February 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  7. AH

    This is a disgrace to both the Jewish and Christian religions. Shame on both of these men for their actions.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  8. The moon is made of green cheese.


    February 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  9. onoudont

    what is wrong with the people at New Birth Missionary Church??? Do they have brains?? What possible explanation could there by for putting up with this maniacal, hypocritical predator??

    February 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  10. chinee

    What a sad commentary! Eddie Long should be ashame of himself.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  11. E. Brown

    I'm still deciphering which was more minute-wasting to see: this or the inital "Miami Thrice" coming out/psuedo-championship pre-season party last year.

    I say this. At least LeBron's/Wade's/Bosh's basketball blasphemy didn't involve them being carried out on chairs....and Miami had Pharoah Monarche's "Simon Sez" on the loudspeaker in the American Airlines Arena when they were introduced. Now, THAT's a coronation.

    But, seriously: you all WONDER why people say things such as "I HATE religion, but love Jesus". If THESE are the egomanical yahoos "chosen by God" to deliver his message and save our souls, I'm better off on my own path to heaven/hell/purgatory.

    I blame the dummies in the congregation weak enough to actually believe this tripe of a sham. Next thing you'll know, this Bible-toting dyckbrain will be having a statue erected outside his multiplexed joke of a holy grail.

    And I'm SO serious about this right now. I'm about THIS close to becoming agnostic.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • periwinkle

      This is just the tip of the iceberg.... why don't you start with why humans invented religion in the first place, the origins of the books of the bible, the multiple "christ" (copied) stories throughout the history of time, fossil evidence of evolution of man and all species, all the discrepancies in the bible, knowledge of all the gods that humans have believed in through recorded history, the political uses of christianity in the time of it's origin, the fact that every other religion has followers who believe just as strongly in their own god/book, that fact that if you had been born in another part of the world you would be a different religion and going to "hell", and that a good, kind, omniscient god wouldn't allow all the suffering and evil to happen, and wouldn't need "help" as christians like to tout ....and then we'll get to all these ridiculous fools.

      February 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  12. corrie3

    I'm unspeakably shocked and sadden by what I just saw. God's children being led astray by someone professing to come in His name. To that I can only go back to my source – Matthew 7:15 – and the holy spirit which lives in me to say – this man the good sheperd or even a good steward of the blessings God has given him? Doesn't seem likely. Pray that he repents and gives that ministry back to who he claims its for – Christ. And for the people following him – ask yourself if you are truly in a ministry that is serving God or are you serving one man?

    February 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Numbers 31:17-18 (New International Version)
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  13. HSB

    ATTENTION ALL JEWS: I think Kyril needs to go on BLAST for that comment.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  14. blaqb0x

    Are there any OTHER instances of gay kings in history?

    February 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  15. kyril

    What an abomination! That Jew trash should be burnt not paraded around like some holy relic.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Ah the much touted "love for mankind" in religion is on display everyone. Come bask in its glory!!!! lol

      February 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • sam

      Damn...*someone's* cheerios got p.issed in this morning.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Carl

      I thought Christianity preaches love for your fellow man, kyril. Or perhaps you belong to some hateful cult that doesn't tolerate people who are different from yourself? That Torah scroll is what Christians revere as the "Old Testament" of their Bible.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  16. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for Children and other living things.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Nope

      "Prayer changes things"

      -The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.~~

      February 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Greg

      'Atheism is not healthy for Children and other living things.'

      A new study shows that many devout Americans know less about religion than do atheists. To some observers, it suggests a shallowness of faith

      February 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • I_get_it


      Don't bother responding to the bot... she has no mind and is just stuck on 'replay'.

      February 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things,

      February 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Nope

      ~~~~~-The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.-~~~~~

      February 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • just sayin

      don't study studies study God

      February 3, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • TR6

      @just sayin:”don't study studies study God”

      If you put your fingers in your ears and go LA LA LA…. real loud, it will also help to block out reality

      February 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  17. yfb

    John after reading your article, and watching the video the only place I can think of where
    Eddie Long's charade belong would be on Anderson Cooper's "Ridiculous List". I am so disgusted by this outlandish display of modern day rubbish!

    February 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  18. tallulah13

    Religion is a funny, funny thing. All these little ceremonies and made up ti.tles. It just cracks me up.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • HSB

      That's why you can't learn about it watching TV or CNN news stories about it. You need to read the scriptures for yourself to learn what it REALLY IS and how it really is supposed to be.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Yes, please read the scriptures. Like:

      “All right,” the Lord said. “You may bake your bread with cow dung instead of human dung.”
      –Ezekiel 4:12-15

      February 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Bizarre


      Which "scriptures"? Every religion has them... Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, even Kim Jong Il's. There are *some* pearls of wisdom for practical, beneficial human behavior in *all* of them (well, not sure about Kim's!), but that does not mean that every word in them should be taken as fact.

      There is no evidence for the supernatural beings or events told about in *any* of them.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      HSB, made up ceremonies and ti.tles are just that. Humans are very good at inventing ceremony and rituals to create an artificial sense of importance. There is nothing real about Eddie Long being crowned "king". There is nothing real about someone being named grand poobah of the moose lodge or whatever. It is just humans trying to feel important by putting on costumes and making speeches - trying to elevate themselves through play acting.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  19. Reality

    Only for the "newbies":

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:

    Adulterous preachers like Eddie Long, pedophiliac clerics like Eddie Long, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals like Eddie Long and atonement theology,

    February 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • phoodphite

      you forgot "probateening"

      February 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  20. Pasinez

    His expression shows his worry over being struck by lighting. I'll bet he's still asking God for forgiveness and not sleeping well.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:05 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.