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.

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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. tct

    Was he wearing the Star Trek jacket during the ceremony?

    February 3, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Church of Suicidal

      Star date 2/3/12. Captain Eddie led the away team down to the planet of the twinks....

      February 3, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  2. Sonya

    Religions, not wars, are responsible for the greatest number of civilian deaths.....after all, my imaginary friend is better than your imaginery friend!!!

    February 3, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • WaxTheCarrot-ChokeTheBishop

      I agree.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  3. Code

    What a disgusting person. Reverend Ike was far more honest.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  4. shelly

    It's probably just a baby blanket he stole off some little boy.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  5. Nothing But Smiles

    You gotta be f*****g kidding me.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  6. longtooth

    "Ye shall know them by what they do."

    February 3, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  7. Carl

    This is a DESECRATION of one of the holiest and most sacred objects in Judaism. Both of these CHRISTIAN ministers should be ashamed of themselves and apologize for their abhorent behavior. And to those who believe Judaism is compatible with a belief in Jesus, you are absolutely wrong – that belief is exactly what differentiates the two faiths. No Jew, and certainly no Rabbi, accepts Jesus as the messiah.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  8. Byteme

    Hmmm....he loves to pray. Just look at all the boys he's asked to get down on their knees.

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

      It's all part of his semen-ar on How to suck-seed.

      February 3, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  9. Abri

    he suffers from sever narcissism

    February 3, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • AC Summers


      February 3, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  10. JohnQuest

    Does this, make him the "New" and improved Messiah?

    February 3, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  11. NorCalMojo

    ..and the king commands you to bend over, boy.

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

      LOL, good one. I am not religious but what I have learnt from religious leaders is that it is very important or a B.U.T.T F-U-CK little boys in order to go to heaven.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • ChokeTheBishop

      LOL, good one. I am not religious but what I have learnt from religious leaders is that it is very important to B.U.T.T F-U-CK little boys in order to go to heaven.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  12. Truefax


    February 3, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  13. Larry K

    Annoyed is right, in a sense. Yes, Jesus was Jewish, but the fundamental difference between Judaism and Christianity is that Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and Jews believe the Messiah hasn't come yet. Most rabbis will tell you that Jesus was a great, great jew, but it is absolutely against the Jewish religion to revere anyone as God-like or as the son of God. Jews for Jesus doesn't make sense at all, and for this "Rabbi" to disrepect the Torah this way is nauseating.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  14. Abri

    idol worship and nothing going on in there has anything to do with teaching Christ. all he had to do was be honest and repent does he think Christians cant forgive? we know we are all flawed but y do u think u get honor for that foolishness. pride comes before a fall, how lo u tryin to go? humility comes before honor. not only does he avoid the humiliation but he comtinues to try and exault himself. who can be right vsx. God. God be true and everyman a lie.people of God study to show urself approved unto God a workman that needeth not be ashamed . he is like the men in jerimiah that go behind the white wall and worship their idols and accomplishments they appear to be men of God but they work for the devil,

    February 3, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  15. E N Hollie

    This certainly falls under the umbrella of "...the tradition of men makes void the Word of God." Many church leaders incorporate such nonesense into the House of Worship where we are to revere our Creator of heaven and earth. Many of these pastors are so far off of what the bible really means, and in my opinion, are leading thrie congregation down a road of false belief. Many have not the full knowledge of the O.T.,and therefore, tend to gowith what they think the Word of God is saying, instead of following what 2nd Tim. 2:15 tells us to do. It is more than meets the eye so to speak. There is history aside from our precious bible to support the deeper and greater meaning of what we believe to be true. My belief is to recognize that there is a SUPREME BEING (God), and try to live a decent and meaningful life, by serving others, doing whatever you can to help, and taking care of family the best we can. Hhint: cease from all evil and to love one another.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  16. Michael

    Why does the media report such nonsense? Oh, I just figured it out. It's time for Eddie Long to have his 15 minutes of fame on Anderson Cooper's Ridiculist. But the bigger question is, why do we (that includes me, too) read such crap and then comment on it?

    February 3, 2012 at 10:18 am |

    wth? it's 1930s radio ministers all over again

    February 3, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  18. RS, CA

    Come on, people, use your heads! I'm about as far from "Christian" as you can be (although I truly believe that until we elevate from the stage of Neanderthal - just read some of these posts - religion is better than NO religion to keep people reasonably kind and civil toward each other. However, there is always a segment in ALL religions that defy logic by any means - this guy is one of them, Osama bin Laden was another - different religion, same loonies.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  19. JohnQuest

    This is Jacked up on so many levels, I am left Speechless!!!!

    February 3, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  20. NightCelt

    Anyone who continues to stay in this congregation and give this con money is an absolute idiot.

    February 3, 2012 at 10:15 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.