Teachable moments on Bishop Eddie Long provided by Wallace Best, Ph.D., Professor of Religion, Princeton University:
Public denunciations of homosexuality often mask private same-sex desire. Just ask Ted Haggart, Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Richard Curtis, and Ken Melman. So, I was not surprised when I learned that Bishop Eddie Long, the Georgia mega-church pastor now facing charges that he abused his “spiritual authority” to win sexual favors, is a staunch opponent of gay marriage and a vocal critic of gay rights. In December 2004 Long led a “Re-Ignite the Legacy” march through the streets of Atlanta to, in his words, “present a vision of righteousness and justice.” Opposition to same-sex marriage was at the top of the march’s agenda, earning Long the title of “Anti-Gay Bishop.”
The charges by four young men have only recently been filed, and it is not yet clear if Long broke any laws. But as we wait for this story to continue to unfold and for the facts to become clear, there is much to learn from it already. If nothing else, the Bishop Long same-sex scandal has provided us with a crucial teaching and learning moment, and we must seize it.
To my mind, one of the most important lessons is this: If your pastor drives a Bentley and wears a watch with a value equivalent to your annual salary, it is time for you to find another church. But the lessons go even deeper, cutting to the heart of black church history and culture, particularly as it relates to issues of sex and sexuality.
Is it me, or is this scandal not being covered properly in the mainstream cable media? I’ve seen scant segments on the continuing story and fascinating observations from African Americans on their perception of the Bishop Long news item.