I woke up this morning expecting the day to be normal, but normal just doesn't seem to visit my house anymore. I am especially convinced of this fact after seeing some really "interesting" pictures of Bishop Eddie Long. These pictures were allegedly sent by Bishop Long to one of his "spiritual sons," who has not yet filed a lawsuit.
After these pictures were released to the public by the plaintiff's attorney, B.J. Bernstein, I am sure she said the word checkmate out loud. One cannot say with complete certainty that these pictures were sent to the young man to convince him of the importance of working out, to show off the latest fashion trends or to simply say, "Hey man, how ya' doin'?"
Instead, the images leave Bishop Long with a lot of explaining to do.
"She's trying to paint him as a predator," says Dr. Christopher Metzler, a Georgetown University professor and highly respected litigator out of Washington, D.C., said of Bernstein. "She's also trying to get a settlement quickly by suing the church, the nonprofit and Bishop Long. Given that Atlanta has such a large gay community, there may be gay people on the jury. He's pushed many gay people out of the church, so the perception of hypocrisy my cause him problems."
Here's the bottom line on the Bishop Long sex scandal:
If Long or anyone else were to send these pictures to any of my kids, I'd be standing in the pulpit with a baseball bat. No "spiritual adviser," teacher or cub scout master has any business sending pictures like this to the young men he is advising. I am also hopeful that the photographic evidence will be enough to wake up anyone in Long's congregation who feels that he might somehow have been framed by another party. While anything is possible, we must also consider that which is probable.
The allegations against Long might provide an opportunity for the black church as well. Why are we choosing to live a lie when it comes to homosexuality in the church? We have gay men in the church, around the church and underneath the church, living on the down low. The question becomes, "If Long happens to be either completely or partially gay, does this eliminate the impact he's had on the lives of millions of people? Should we love and respect him any less?" What's worse is that if it is the case that Long is gay (I am not yet saying this for certain), why in the world would he go out of his way to not only attend a rally against gays, but actively position himself as an anti-gay pastor? It's one thing to be secretly gay, and another thing to go out of your way to attack the gay community, attend rallies against them and even lead the rallies that you're attending. That, my friends, is the definition of the word audacity.
It appears that the Bishop Long sex scandal is just beginning. I am quite curious to see where it goes from here. At the very least, we can say that the attorney for the plaintiffs is going for blood. No, I'm not talking about the blood of Jesus. For Bernstein, the blood of Eddie Long will do just fine.
People around the world look to pastors, preachers, bishops and reverends for spiritual guidance and inspirational nourishment. In the black community, popular clergymen such as Bishop T.D. Jakes, Prophetess Juanita Bynum and Rev. Al Sharpton are held in high esteem and have much influence over congregations and countless followers alike. Take a look at them and other influential black spiritual leaders.
Influential Black Spiritual Leaders
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce's commentary delivered to your e-mail, please click here.