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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Who is Eddie Lee Long ?

Who is Eddie Lee Long? The entertainment and religious world knows him as Bishop Eddie Long. Long is the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a megachurch in unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, United States, near Lithonia.[1] When Long started as pastor for New Birth in 1987, there were 300 church members. Since his installation, membership has grown to 25,000.

Personal life

Long was born May 12, 1953 in Huntersville, North Carolina, to Floyd and Hattie Long and graduated from North Mecklenburg High School in 1972. Long is the husband of Vanessa Griffin Long and the father of four children, Eric, Edward, Jared and Taylor. Edward Long is New Birth's youth director for junior and senior high ministries.[2]
Long married Dabara S. Houston in 1981; they were divorced after a brief marriage. The couple gave birth to son Eric Long.[3]


Long attended North Mecklenburg High School before attending North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, where he received a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration.[4] Long is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity[5] and he received his Master of Divinity degree from Interdenominational Theological Center. He holds a PhD in Pastoral Ministry from the International College of Excellence,[2] a Bible college accredited by an organization not recognized by either the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or United States Department of Education, the two institutions responsible for recognizing educational accrediting institutions in the United States[6][7] (see Accrediting Commission International).[8] North Carolina Central University, Beulah Heights Bible College, and the Morehouse School of Religion have given him honorary doctorates.[9]

Pre-Pastoral career

After getting his undergraduate degree, Long worked as a factory sales representative for Ford Motor Corporation, but was fired after he submitted expense reports that included personal telephone calls.[10][11]

Pastoral career

After losing his job at Ford, Long moved to Atlanta to study theology and became the pastor of a small Jonesboro, GA church.[10] In 1987 he became the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which at the time had around 300 members. Under Long, membership grew to 25,000.[10]
In 2002, John Blake of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that Long "was consecrated a bishop in 1994 by the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, a relatively new movement within African-American Baptist churches that embraces Pentecostal beliefs."[12]
In addition to serving as the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Long has been active in the metro Atlanta community since the 1990s.[13]
Long was honored in 2005 at the Trumpet Awards for his leadership, dedication and service around the world.
In 2006, Long was chosen by the family of Martin Luther King, Jr. to host and officiate the funeral for Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wife of the late civil rights pioneer.[14] The event was attended by four Presidents (George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter).[15]
Long was a prominent supporter of George W. Bush's faith-based initiatives.[16] His ministry received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Administration of Children & Families.[16] Rev. Timothy McDonald suggested a link between Long's anti-gay activity and the grant saying "If you look at the black pastors who have come out with the faith-based money, they're the same ones who have come out with campaigns on the gay marriage issue."[16]
Long was featured on rapper Ludacris' album Release Therapy, delivering a short sermon about God and faith on the track "Freedom of Preach."[17]


Long's sermons, writings and teachings emphasize a "chain of command" [18] between certain superiors and subordinates characterized by "respect, submission and obedience."[18] Long sees the first link in the chain as being a man choosing to be respectful, submissive and obedient to God. A woman chooses to be respectful, submissive and obedient to her father or husband. To live otherwise is to be outside of the divinely established order, and will result in the loss of spiritual and natural benefits.[18]
The congregation of New Birth may be considered part of the Bapticostal movement.[19] Long says that he has experienced speaking in tongues.[19]


Salary and Senate investigation

On August 28, 2005 the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that during the period between 1997 to 2000, Long received more than $3.07 million worth of compensation and benefits from his eponymous non-profit charity, Bishop Eddie Long Ministries Inc. Long contended that the charity did not solicit donations from members but instead gained its income from royalties, speaking fees and several large donations.[20] In 2007, Senator Chuck Grassley announced an investigation into the tax-exempt status of six ministries under the leadership of Benny Hinn, Paula White, Eddie L. Long, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, and Kenneth Copeland by the United States Senate Committee on Finance.[21]

Teaching regarding sexual orientation

CNN has said "Long frequently denounces homosexual behavior."[22] Long has ministered “homosexual cure” programs to recruit gays and lesbians for what he called “Sexual Reorientation” conferences and his church offers an ongoing “Out of the Wilderness” ministry to help convert homosexuals into heterosexuals.[23]
In 2004, Long led a march with Bernice King to the grave of her father, Martin Luther King, Jr. The march was a protest against same-sex marriage and in support of a national constitutional amendment to limit marriage rights to couples comprising "one man and one woman."[24]
In 2006, Long's appearance at Atlanta's Interdenominational Theological Center's spring graduation stirred up controversy, and led to some students discussing a boycott. Long's invitation prompted Black liberation theologian James Cone—who was scheduled to receive an honorary degree—to boycott the ceremony. Thirty-three graduating seniors sent a letter to the seminary's president "questioning Long's theological and ethical integrity to be their commencement speaker." Many students did not agree with Long's beliefs that God can "deliver" homosexuals and his teachings on prosperity.[25]
A 2007 article in the Southern Poverty Law Center's magazine called him "one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement."[22]

Allegations of sexual impropriety and lawsuits

On September 21 and 22, 2010, Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, and Jamal Parris filed separate lawsuits in DeKalb County Superior Court alleging that Long used his pastoral influence to coerce them into a sexual relationship with him. In June, one of the accusers, Robinson, was arrested and charged with burglary in connection with a break-in to Long's office. An iPhone, iPad and other items—more than $1,300 worth—were taken from the office, according to the police report.[26][27] On September 24, Spencer LeGrande, a member of a New Birth satellite church in Charlotte, North Carolina, filed a similar suit, making him the fourth man to file a lawsuit claiming sexual misconduct by Long.[28] The plaintiffs state that Long placed the men on the church’s payroll, bought them cars and other gifts, and took them separately on trips to destinations such as Kenya, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands, Trinidad, Honduras, New Zealand, and New York City.[28][29][30] The lawsuits stated that Long would "discuss the Holy Scripture to justify and support the sexual activity."[29] Flagg's suit claims that Long presided over a "covenant" ceremony between the two of them; Flagg's attorney said that the ceremony was "essentially a marriage ceremony, with candles, exchange of jewelry, and biblical quotes."[26]
Long denied the allegations through his attorneys and spokesman. In a prepared statement, Long said, "I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply.[...]But my faith is strong and the truth will emerge. All I ask for is your patience as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges."[31][32][33]
Roland Martin, a commentator for TV One, was scheduled to interview Long during a segment on the Tom Joyner Morning Show to discuss the two lawsuits. However, the lawsuit filed by Parris on September 22 prompted Long's legal team to cancel the Martin interview as well as a planned news conference;[22] Long's attorney spoke to Martin on behalf of his client on Joyner's show instead.[34]
On September 26, Long spoke to the New Birth congregation but he did not address the issue directly. Long spoke of painful times and said, "I've been accused. I'm under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, I am not a perfect man, but this thing, I'm going to fight."[35] Long's unwillingness to address the accusations by name prompted a group of over 70 people, headed by the pastor of a small church in South Carolina, to hold a protest rally on the steps of the Georgia state Capitol on 31 October 2010, calling for Long's resignation.[36]
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on 27 May 2011 that the lawsuits were settled out-of-court; terms were undisclosed. [37]
On 30 May 2011, an episode of the documentary series, Sex Scandals In Religion[38] aired on Canadian television, VisionTV. It was an investigative look at the allegations of innapproiate sexual behaviour by Bishop Long with young men in his care.


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