Bishop Eddie Long Addresses Sex Alegations to Congregation

Posted By Staff Writer : YBM

Bishop Eddie Long addressed sex allegations made against him last week to his congregation today. It was the first Sunday service since the allegations have been made. Will Long keep his position, and respect of the people? Or will this ruin his reputation and possibly end with Bishop Eddie Long facing jail time?

"The more powerful a Christian leader becomes, the fewer restraints that other people can put on them," said the Rev. H.B. London Jr., vice president of ministry outreach for Focus on the Family. "Some of these men and women become so powerful that no one can tell them 'no.'"
In one of the biggest shocks ever for independent churches, "Some preachers see themselves as with the people," he said.

"Some see themselves as leading the people. And some preachers see themselves as on the mountaintop with God, above the people."

Over the last 20 years, Long became one of the most powerful independent church leaders in the country. He led New Birth as it grew from a suburban Atlanta congregation of 150 to a 25,000-member powerhouse with a $50 million cathedral and a roster of parishioners that includes athletes, entertainers and politicians.
This week, four young men who once belonged to New Birth filed lawsuits, claiming Long pushed them into sexual relationships when they were 17 or 18 years old with gifts including cars, cash and travel. Three of the young men live in Georgia, while the other was a member of a satellite church in Charlotte, N.C., run by Long.
Long denies the charges and plans to respond at Sunday worship services.
Meanwhile, Long, during a Friday conference call with supporters, said he was "under attack," WGCL-TV reports. The Atlanta TV station said it was on the conference call with parishioners from across the country.
"We will arise through this situation, and go forward, and we are moving forward," WGCL quoted Long as saying.
Long said several times that he had to be careful what he said because the case is in litigation, the station reported. He would not take any questions.
"I have never dealt with anything like this before. I have been under attack before, but everything else has been different levels and different challenges," Long said.
He said the truth would be revealed, and that he is praying for his accusers, according to WGCL.
"I always operate in the spirit of love, and we are going to move through this," he said.
Lavish lifestyles and autocratic leadership can combine to create a kind of religious celebrity and the temptations that go along with that, according to Christian journalist J. Lee Grady.

"In some ways, they're like television personalities," Grady said. "When they fall, it's loud, because everybody knows them. It's almost like success destroys people."