By Elliot Adams
Now I’m no theologian, and apart from my time as the Archbishop of Canterbury have little experience of how you should conduct yourself as a member of the clergy – but I’m pretty sure ‘practice what you preach’ is a good start. So why then have we been gifted a new journalism cliché over recent years? the recurrent story of the homophobic priest caught in a gay sex-abuse scandal, it’s so frequent as to make its reportage almost redundant.
The latest one is a prime example. Bishop Eddie Long of the New Birth Church is one of the most influential Christian leaders in the states. He has a following in excess of 25000 people and Martin Luther King’s family chose him to officiate the funeral for Coretta Scott King, with an audience of that included four US presidents. Bishop Long is a regular media pundit on matters of homosexuality, has marched against gay marriage and describes his views on homosexuality simply as, “Everybody knows it’s dangerous to enter an exit.” His church even provides ”Out of the Wilderness” counseling for homosexuals “who desire healing and deliverance through the Word of God” so that they can be degayed and prayed for.
Can you guess what happens next in the Bishop’s war on gay? Oh yes, it’s that oh so familiar gay sex-abuse scandal that bigoted men of god know and love.
It seems Bishop Long has been preying on the very people he claimed he was praying for, as he got hit with lawsuits from three young men who say the pastor coerced them into sex, oral and anal, while they were teenagers – reciting scripture to them to justify the activity. His alleged victims say that Long sexually pursued them relentlessly since the moment he recruited them into his youth ministry and began buying them expensive gifts of “cars, clothes, jewellery” and holidays in private jets and luxury hotels. This is what his lawyer calls his ”mentoring program”, and fair enough, where better to mentor teenage boys than in an isolated hotel room on a romantic tropical getaway?
Rick Sanchez added the real kicker to the story on CNN, pointing out that the wayward Bishop had financed all this with “monetary funds from the accounts of New Birth … money from the congregation,” apparently fleecing his flock to sexually abuse young boys.
I know it’s controversial but perhaps should we consider the possibility that bigoted morons aren’t the most trustworthy of people?