Bernice King Leaves Bishop Eddie Long’s Church; Is the Empire Crumbling?

Bernice King Leaves Bishop Eddie Long’s Church; Is the Empire Crumbling?
Bishop Eddie Long, left, and Bernice King in 2006

In a move that will be seen as related to Bishop Eddie L. Long’s infamous sexual lawsuit settlement, Bernice King announced she is leaving New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

The move comes just days after Long reportedly shelled out upwards of $15 million to the four young men who accused him of coercing them into homosexual encounters.

The timing of King’s resignation will be dissected and mulled over by New Birth members, watchers and pundits alike. But then again, leaving at any time in proximity to Long’s settlement would have been viewed as a sharp rebuke of her longtime bishop’s behavior.

According to an inside source who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on this issue, King had been contemplating her exit strategy for the past few years. She has received Long’s blessing, the media reports.

In the first Sunday service following the dismissal of the civil lawsuit, Long did not address the case directly nor indirectly in his sermon.

In hindsight, it was a rather awkward handoff from Long to King at the Sunday service’s conclusion. After delivering an extremely abbreviated sermon, Long asked King to close out the second service with a prayer. Long pretty much double-timed it back to his study with his bodyguards orbiting around him, and then reappeared at the front of the church to greet parishioners, a move that this writer found most unusual. Meanwhile, King gave a prayer that was devoid of the usual passion that normally accompanies her appearances at the podium.

King and Long have a lengthy and celebrated history together. They headlined the now famous — or some say infamous — anti-gay march in December 2004 on historic Auburn Avenue near downtown Atlanta, past the memorial dedicated to her father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They were front and center when President George W. Bush and three former presidents joined a multitude at New Birth to pay homage during the funeral service of King’s mother, Coretta Scott King, in 2006.

terry shropshire

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