Monday, September 27, 2010
In lawsuits filed this past week, four men who were members of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church claimed Long coerced them into sexual relations with gifts including cars, cash and travel when they were 17 or 18 years old. The sprawling church in Lithonia, Ga., about 18 miles outside of Atlanta, counts politicians, celebrities and the county sheriff among its members and hosted four U.S. presidents during the 2006 funeral of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow, Coretta Scott King.
One of the claims in the lawsuits is that Long had sexual contact with the young men, who were enrolled in New Birth's ministry for teen boys, during trips he took them on in the U.S. and abroad. Attorney for Bishop Long, Greg Gillen, has said the travel was part of a mentoring program that other young men also participated in.
Bishop Long has often preached against homosexuality and has supported many rallys banning agains "same sex marriages!"
Like anyone accused of a crime, the law states you are "Innocent until proven guilty!" However, being such a powerful and notable figure in the African-American Christian community and country for that matter; has the church and the character of the men and women of the gospel been damaged?
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If you would like to view the video of Bishop Long's address to his church, please click on the link below: