News of the death of megachurch pastor Bishop Eddie Long spread quickly over the weekend. Long died after a battle “with an aggressive form of cancer.” His death was announced Sunday morning. He was the pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia and was a major player in the development of the community. On social media, condolences and sympathy for the family were also mixed with criticism of Long and his alleged sexual relationship with young men at the church.
Long settled a lawsuit filed by four young men who accused him of pressuring them into sexual relationships while they were teenagers and members of the congregation by showering them with lavish gifts, trips, cars and even places to stay. Despite the scandal, Long was able to maintain his power in the church when many thought he should have stepped down. Noted minister and daughter of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Bernice King was an active part of the ministerial leadership at the church and it was thought that she would have taken over leadership of New Birth. Instead, she resigned from the church during the height of Long’s legal issues. King stated that it had nothing to do with Long and the sexual allegations; instead, she declared that she was going to start her own ministry.
But many cannot separate Long’s good deeds from his hypocrisy and sex scandal. Long gained wide support for his anti-gay sermons and rhetoric while he allegedly lived a secret life and people are not forgetting or forgiving him for his actions. Social media was harsh towards his death and life as seen in some of the following tweets:
IF EddieLong is in hell he put himself there?? I have 0 for ppl who take ANYTHING fr innocent/weak/elderly/disabled. #EddieLong died *shrugs
— SittingWithKap (@lifeandmorelife) January 15, 2017
The real tragedy of #EddieLong is that as long as his rape victims are still alive, he will never be dead.
— Villarreality (@_Villarreality_) January 15, 2017
I’m sorry #EddieLong died & his family experiencing grief. I’m more sorry for the boys whose experiences were invalidated by the community.
— floodazzlee (@TeeFixin2SkoolU) January 15, 2017