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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. starr

    Let the first one of you who is without sin speak on this matter. Only if you never committed a sin should you speak on this matter. I don't condone, nor judge this man and his questionable behavior. It is between him and God....As for all you who has wrote harsh things against God and His Holy spirit, please be aware that according to God, there is only one unforgivable sin and that is speaking against God and His Holy spirit. I am not attempting to defend God because that would be absurd, for he needs no defending. Nor am I judging you, for that is Gods Job and His alone.

    February 4, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Richimo

      Wthout Sin? I'm without the sin of sack-touching young boys I was in a position of power over. This so-called 'Man of God' represents everything disgusting to me about religion, and any belief in something more powerful than ourselves. And anyone that would overtly defend this 'man' is just as disgusting of a person, and deserves to be in their own self-made, delusional Hell. Which it sounds like you are, Starr. Whoomp. There it is.

      February 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • starr

      @richimo, God does not put degrees on sin, In His eyes sin is sin, His word states that if we are guilty of breaking just of one of His commandment than we are guilty of breaking them all.....richimo have you ever lied, (even just "a little white lie" is lying, lying to make someone feel good, is still lying. Have you ever took something that was not your? even if it just a paper clip from your work place without permission, is still stealing. So, richimo, jude not that you be not judge. I would rather be in What you call my delusions, than your reality any day.....may God bless you with salvation.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • rick

      starr: did you ever consider the possibilty that what was "sin" to ancient middle eastern people is not relevant to 21st century man? or that no one can fear retaliation (or "judgment" to the pious folk) from a being in which they do not believe?

      February 6, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • rick

      Or have you considered how pretentious it is claiming to know what "god" thinks?

      February 6, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • starr

      @ rick; I am not concern with what mankind defines as sin. I am only concern with what God consider sin and since He is unchangeable, I am sure what He considers sin is the same. God's word does not change to fit the trends of this world. The ideation of society changes but God and His Word stay the same, yesterday, today and forever. ...As far as knowing what God thinks, I know what He think from reading the letter He left for me...It is called the Bible.

      February 6, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  2. ping

    ping

    February 4, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  3. 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 can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    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 7:59 pm |
    • ping

      I'm so gay that I take it up the @ss from anything!

      February 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  4. urafkntool

    can I crown him a stupid, useless n-i-g-g-e-r?

    February 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • rick

      i think that has already been done

      February 6, 2012 at 3:18 am |
  5. mspattymelt

    Zombies in the church.............

    February 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things!!

    February 4, 2012 at 4:53 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 can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      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 7:59 pm |
  7. Eddie Long Here

    KNEEL befoe me an pray I dropz mypants an whip n2 yo mouf King Eddies thick black septre. PARTAKE of my jesus juices ab day fwo down ya froat. AMEN!!

    February 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  8. tea party

    2012 can not believe there are still religions religious people.....such idiots

    February 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  9. MS12

    What manner of MADNESS, FOOLISHNESS and ERROR this!?!? HAVE MERCY LORD! UNBELIEVABLE

    February 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  10. MS12

    WHAT MANNER OR FOOLISHNESS, MADNESS AND ERRORR IS THIS!?!?!?!

    February 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  11. ShavonyaC

    Wait... Jesus himself didn't get a ceremony like this when he was on earth... smh...

    February 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  12. Ernesto

    Disgusting.

    His followers are truly pathetic!

    February 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  13. chief

    this is almost but not as bad as the pope thinking he is the voice of Christ on earth.... wierd how both of these orgs have issues with young men or boys

    February 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • George R

      This is a slur against the Pope. No way was the Pope ever involved in molestation. Why do you lie?

      February 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • rick

      George R: How do you know what the pope was involved in? Chief did not say the pope molested anyone, but the organization he heads sure did/does protect those that do

      February 6, 2012 at 3:20 am |
  14. Tazmatic

    Here is a quote from Phillip B. Lewis, the man who originally uploaded the now infamous Eddie Long vid.

    ""What a powerful demonstrtion in faith as Jews and Christians came together As One in services yesterday. Rabbi Messers messages gave us a great deal of information to process as we move in our kingdom authority. If you missed the services, be sure to get the CD/DVD from our calledtoconquer.com bookstore – you will be blessed with the wealth of information Rabbi Messer dispensed." – Phillip B. Lewis

    February 4, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  15. 11 Romans

    True Kings are aware of the sufering and pain all around them, they pour themselves out as a love offering.
    An instrument of positive change,using their resources to encourage good in mankind.

    February 4, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  16. NorEaster TC 6

    I'm wondering how much it cost Eddie Long to stage this phony ceremony.

    February 4, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Sanstar

      Those men were looking like they wanted to throw Eddie down. I am tired of the ritual and ceremonies that goes on at this ministry can they please sit him down. He is not even suppose to be a bishop?

      February 4, 2012 at 5:02 am |
  17. 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 11:42 pm |
    • ......

      Hit report abuse on every reality post

      February 4, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  18. Mismo

    Disgusting and pathetic. And he probably blew every man in the congregation afterwards.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer changes lives.

    February 3, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Axis

      Let's ask Dr. Science.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRLstHNRsdU&w=480&h=360]

      February 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • just sayin

      Let us ask God

      February 4, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • TR6

      Yes, just see how much good praying has done for Eddie: pretty cars, pretty boyfriends and now a pretty crown!

      February 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • just sayin

      If Eddie misrepresents God, it is Eddies fault not Gods. Prayer is honest communication with God and has no part in rewarding evil.

      February 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • periwinkle

      wrong... the whole concept of "gods" brings on all this egotistical, grandiose, and narcissistic behavior.

      February 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  20. Beverly Pollard

    This is disgusitng, ignorant and pathetic, on behalf of all involved. How could someone of "average" intelligence witness this, or still be attending that church. Woefully weak and ignotant.

    February 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • rick

      i don't think intelligence has anything to do with it. these people are gullible, and the need to believe this tripe overrules reason.

      February 4, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Jai Rose

      He's not wrapped in a Torah. He's wrapped in a prayer shawl and holding a Torah. And there's something very disturbing about the man to begin with, so the 'ceremony' is just more of the same.

      February 4, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • periwinkle

      intelligence has EVERYTHING to do with it. Ignorant, stupid, weak people are gullible...

      February 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
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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.