Bishop Eddie Long to Settle Sex Case With Four Male Accusers. Repercussions Could Be Devastating

Bishop Eddie L. Long, the pastor of the suburban Atlanta mega church who denied having inappropriate gay sex with young boys, is working to settle the civil lawsuits through mediation, the media reports.

This stunning news counters Bishop Long’s public declaration to his congregation at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., that he would fight the charges of having sexual relations with male members of his congregation. The proposed settlement subjects Long, rightly or wrongly, to speculative charges that he is indeed guilty of having been on the “down low.”

Bishop Long will also open himself up to charges of hypocrisy. For years, he has preached against homosexuality, which he said was immoral according to the Bible. He also led a nationally televised march with church members publicly denouncing homosexuality as a sin and abomination against God.

“You cannot say that you were born this way. I don’t care what scientists say,” he said in a sermon years ago, according to an old video obtained by CNN. “if you are saying that you were born this way, then you are saying that ‘God, you are a liar.’ You can be converted.”

He admitted already through church attorneys that he did take national and overseas trips with the teenage boys and even stayed in the same hotel rooms with them on occasion. However, previously, he categorically denied that he used the name of God and Scripture to lure the young men into sexual activities.

According to CNN, Long is now seeking to settle through mediation — behind closed doors — to avoid a nasty, public trial.

But if Long is indeed innocent and promised to fight the charges, what happened in the last month to encourage him to change his mind? And does he understand what the settlement will mean in the eyes of those inside and outside his church? There has already been a rally on the steps of the Georgia state courthouse against Bishop Long by a South Carolina pastor where his accusers asked him to step down. If this is true about Long, how will the public now view the four young men who filed the suit, not to mention any others who may have chosen to remain anonymous lest they incurred the publc wrath levied against Long’s accusers?

And, in a final strike of humiliation, the longtime minister has been asked to undergo testing to determine whether he contracted a sexually transmitted disease, particularly HIV or AIDS.

As in the sexual impropriety cases a generation ago that toppled the immense religious empires of televangelists Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, there are bound to be a throng of religious leaders who will speak out against Bishop Long and demand that he resign from his position. –terry shropshire

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