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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. sonofgadfly

    Isn't it time we stopped referring to this clod as "bishop"?

    February 3, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  2. tct

    Stop getting so upset, it's just his way of denying he's a queen!

    February 3, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Walker

      Wrapped in a Torah or a Boy-ya?

      February 3, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  3. Matt

    I'd say the Zionist lobby co-opting Evangelicalism is getting ridiculous, but apparently it's working. Honestly, I'd be willing to support the US going in, wasting all of Israel's enemies and funding the rebuilding of the temple just to make the stupid stop. I'd love for the temple to be rebuilt and when nothing happens those dolts can realize their prophesies might as well have come from a store front psychic.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  4. el_incr

    Eddie Long is a foul stench in the Christian church. He is nothing but a long, messy bowel movement!

    February 3, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  5. Yashar

    Rabbi Ralph Messer is a Messianic Minister, not a rabbi. No Jewish organization has a belief in Jesus as messiah. Would any sane Christian allow a minister/priest/pastor to run a program called "Christians for Mohammed" or "Christians for the Buddha" or (pun intended) "Christians for Krishna?"

    Shabbat Shalom

    February 3, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  6. Outraged

    Mishugina schvartze. Oy vey...

    February 3, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • todd in DC

      LOL. But Long is corrupt. It's his followers who are crazy.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  7. Douglas

    What a joke after molesting boys now he's a king what a joke and now he can have all of his followers do anything that he tells them to do even molesting young kids again

    February 3, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  8. hippypoet

    has he started worshiping himself yet?

    i too was onced crowned, however at the end of the pageant i was told to give it back!

    February 3, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  9. blondie

    Sorry you Christian sukkas. Really, TRULEY, can you look at yourselves in the mirror, with ALL your hipocracy, ALL your judgement and condemnation of others, ALL your LYING and GREEDY leaders blatantly to your face , ALL OF IT, can you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and say that everything is alright?

    February 3, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • wolfpackbob

      Long is not a Christian any more than Hitler. Words mean nothing. Actions speak. Long is a greedy creep and if he said he was a practicing atheist, would you stretch to come to the same conclusion?

      February 3, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  10. Matthew 18:37

    “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  11. John

    More of a queen, actually.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • blondie

      Oh Girl!

      February 3, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  12. Anne Fluellen

    How arrogant! There's only one King! and He's King of Kings!

    February 3, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • James PDX

      It's nice to see another Elvis fan here.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • blondie

      Oh you speak so highly of me, and we haven't even met!

      February 3, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Andrew Friet

      My thoughts exactly. What a small arrogant man to make himself a "king". I am not religious but know that to stage something like this in the name of god is wrong on so many levels.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • PDinKC

      There's only one Kong and He's the King of Kongs.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  13. PaulNYC

    Silly.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  14. commenter2012

    "Dayyum, religious people – you GOOFy!"

    February 3, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  15. WASP

    exactly why i'm atheist. don't any of his followers read the bible? i grew up sothern baptist and even i know this is against evrything written in it. all well practi.tioners of religion get fooled into giving their money away everyday; from various scams. i.e. this one, and don't get me started on the whole may 21st thing last year. people died because that man, lost their whole life savings because they believed him......doesn't anyone that believes in god really read the thing? it saids "man will not know the day nore the hour of his demise" so why do you all fall for this stuff so much? lmfao

    February 3, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Seriously

      You are lumping every believer into the same mold. not quite fair is it? You can't possibly know how all people believe, act out their belief and whether their faith actually is a positive force in their lives.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • xatira

      If you grew up southern baptist then you should know that everyone who goes to church on Sundays is NOT saved! This can include a pastor. True believers know that this ceremony is "obscene and blasphemous". Your being an aetheist is just you choosing to deny the truth of the perfect Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel sorry for you, you lack knowledge.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • WASP

      @seriously: i didn't say all, i was refering to those that attend that church. the statement practi.tioners get scammed everyday was refering to in all religious people are more trusting due to their teachings of the bible, so they get conned a lot more. there are always exceptions to every rule, that's why i don't generalize any group.
      @xatira: if you can achieve this test for me, i will go back to church. put down your bible, pretend it never existed and you know nothing of the concept of "god" now without using scripture, prove god. i lack knowledge? explain what knowledge i lack. i'm pretty certain i can teach you a thing or two about lack of knowledge seeing faith doesn't require knowledge, just obedience. i watched events around me, studied the bible, and made up my own mind. i found it impossible to say their can be only one god, seeing christians as an organized faith is still pretty young, then comes the whole fact of which christian faith came first, and which is truly leading you to god, seeing neither denominations,jewish or catholic beliefs follow the same ideals.....almost forgot about the mormons and jehovah witness'. so do tell me how i'm missing knowledge.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  16. Annoyed

    A Jew for Jesus is like a vegatarian for hamburgers. They don't go together. I doubt this guy is an ordained Rabbi

    February 3, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Seriously

      How do you explain that Jesus being a Jew?

      February 3, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Seriously

      How do you explain Jesus being a Jew?

      February 3, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Dan of The Prophecy Society

      A Jew without Jesus is like a hamburger without meat.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • arthurrrr

      hey mr ignorant , all of Jesus's first disciples were Jewish, as was and IS Jesus. what a dummy.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • James PDX

      I think he was pointing out that Jews don't believe that Jesus was the son of God. So, oddly, based on Christianity, it's the favorites of God who cannot get to heaven because they cannot complete the covenant with God's son.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • mthomat

      Yes. Jesus was a Jew – he wasn't a Christian – there's nothing in the bible about Jesus being a Christian.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Rukhama

      Annoyed is correct. Although Jesus was a Jew, he did not found Chr*stianity. Paul did. In Judaism one does not worship a man. A man cannot be G*d. G*d cannot be a man. To believe otherwise is to commit blasphemy and idolatry. And as an observant Jew, Jesus would've known that.

      To anyone who is tempted to flame me: I am not trying to offend anyone. I am only stating fact. It is what it is. If you want to worship Jesus, just be aware that doing so is not Jewish.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • NorCalMojo

      They exist.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  17. Church of Suicidal

    "Here comes another con hiding behind a collar, his only god is the Almighty Dollar."

    Eddie, this ridiculous farce of a ceremony isn't going to make any of us forget that you're a "down-low brother."

    February 3, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  18. Dan of The Prophecy Society

    It's no wonder that non-Christians think that Christians are a bunch of loonies when they see a report on something as un-biblical as this. For anyone reading this: The Bible does not advocate such shameless theatrical shenanigans by a pastor or church. The only thing that justifies a coronation for Eddie Long is his performance as a "drama queen."

    February 3, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Seriously

      Yes, but 'the world' will always hold up someone in error to prove their disbelief. That is why we are supposed to avoid even the appearance of evil. People see and that is what they think Christ represents.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  19. Seriously

    His congregation (that is left) consists of people too afraid to question or rebel against 'the man of god', they are taught that that is tantamount to rebelling against God Himself. Very sad.

    February 3, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  20. johnny

    According to the article Messer leads a congregation of Jews and non-Jews who believe in Jesus Christ. Is this one of those Jews for Jesus groups? And I cannot picture any Jewish congregation allowing anyone to wrap themselves in a Torah.

    February 3, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Seriously

      Yes, it's either Jews for Jesus or an affiliate.

      February 3, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • anotherthinker

      wrapping anyone in the Torah would be sacralige, against jewish law. it would be the equivalent of christians using 'holy water' to wash gin bottles.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:19 am |
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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.