Associated Press Writer Errin Haines has posted an article titled “Ga. megachurch pastor’s flock standing by him.” Would you expect anything less? Bishop Eddie Long is a very conservative church leader, of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, who is, according to other articles, battling to make this country like the Bible. However, he has been charged in a lawsuit as our reference article says “of abusing his spiritual authority” in allegedly luring four teens into sex.
Of course he has not been convicted, and people who are in the limelight sometimes are falsely accused, but we really have no idea at this time. Long did not say he didn’t do it. He just vowed to fight it. He was quoted in Haines’ article as saying, “I feel like David against Goliath. But I got five rocks, and I haven’t thrown one yet.” Well, actually, he has. He has called on the church to support him and it has; his congregants are supporting him.
Both of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church’s services were packed, and applause filled the services that were, as Haines says, part pep rally and rock concert.
Bishop Eddie Long is hardly the first church leader to get into trouble over sexual issues. There were two televangelists in my life that rocked the Christian world, and, as Long has, they preached against sexual sin.
In the late 1980s, there were two competing evangelists, Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Bakker (pronounced Baker). Bakker hosted the PTL (Praise the Lord) Network with wife Tammy Faye Baker. Swaggert actually set up Bakker getting hooked up with church secretary Jessica Hahn.
Bakker ultimately went to prison for accounting problems and his wife divorced him. Swaggert, of course, belittled him.
However, it wasn’t long before Swaggert was the victim of counter-espionage and found to be having affairs. He made one of the well-publicized acts of contrition when he went on television and tearfully asked his wife to forgive him, along with his daughter, the Lord and the congregation. Ultimately, he was gone. His “I have sinned against you” will go down in history.
Swaggert never admitted to specific acts. However, he did admit guilt.
So far, Long has neither denied nor admitted to allegations. We’ll just have to follow the situation. I would add that, so far, there is absolutely no guilt associated with the situation.
What about Jessica Hahn? She got a couple of television appearances; so much for inequality toward women.
Associated Press Website, Errin Haines, “Ga. megachurch pastor’s flock standing by him”
People Website, Joanne Kaufman, “The Fall of Jimmy Swaggert”