If Bishop Eddie Long is found guilty, “I’m sorry” won’t cut it.

Bishop Eddie Long‘s message about charges of sexual abuse were: I’m not perfect, but I am going to fight back.  His congregation at New Birth Church cheered like they were at a Falcons game.  To that, I say “bollocks.”

I read his comments to say “there’s going to be some stuff coming out y’all won’t like but….I didn’t mean any harm and I am sorry. Forgive me in advance.”  Either Long is being slandered (doubt it) or he exploited young people.  We will see.  Either way,  I would have liked to see his church take a solemn approach versus cheering for him  or even considering forgiveness.

If Bishop Eddie Long is found guilty, saying “I’m sorry” won’t not cut it. Every year, at least 80,000 young people are sexually abused, most often by a trusted adult.  The hypocrisy is bad but the sexual abuse is the most serious issue. Sexual abuse causes long term mental and emotional issues.  The impact is often lifelong. Our highest responsibility should be to the young people — not Bishop Long or his congregation.  Is  anyone within the New Birth church community defending the youth and praying for them — versus praising Long or figuring out how the adults would move forward (if he is found guilty)?

The Black community does not have a good track record of imposing cultural sanctions on our men, but it’s time for that to change. In our effort to support Black (heterosexual) men, sometimes we give them too much power and do not make them accountable when they are dead wrong.  The worst example was the R.Kelly abuse case.  A big time celebrity abused a young girl, filmed it and largely got away with it.  If you bring it up on the street, to this day people defend him and vilify the young girl. Part of that is ignorance.  Another reason is an almost desperate effort to support, uplift and embrace Black men and fight against historic and systemic attacks against them.

As a result, it creates a cultural dynamic where the rights of Black male perpetrators outweigh victims rights — especially if they are female.  If Long is guilty, it would appropriate to judge and to do so harshly.  We should demand that he seek help.  He should not be in a visible or leadership position again — and definitely not involved in youth development.

Some actions are bigger than just saying “I’m sorry.” The allegations against Long fit into that category. If the evidence is there,  accountability must proceed forgiveness.

Our community has a hard time airing dirty laundry for good reason, but it should be done. All crimes are not treated equally in the media.  Often the actions of a few bad apples are applied to all Black and brown people. Constantly having to educate people that we are not ALL alike is the best incentive for not wanting to be honest and open about our challenges — esp given media’s inability to portray us honestly or with integrity.

Blacks’ pathologies are also exploited in the media in ways that rarely apply within mainstream culture.  White criminals become celebrities and cult figures, while Blacks  are labeled monsters.  Exceptions exist but celebs such as Roman Polanski (admitted to drugging and raping a teen),  Rob Lowe (involved with an underage girl) and Woody Allen (became involved with his stepdaughter) maintain their status and privilege while Michael Jackson was labeled for the balance of his life even after criminal charges were dropped.  Even so, this is about moral authority, which means we must speak up for what’s right — even if it means risking the embarrassment that comes with airing dirty laundry.

Again, IF Bishop Eddie Long he is found guilty, him saying “I’m not perfect” or “I’m sorry” wont not cut it. This is about our kids and punishing people who hurt or exploit them. Period. End of Story.

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6 Responses to If Bishop Eddie Long is found guilty, “I’m sorry” won’t cut it.

  1. blackessence says:

    Wow, your article was dead on the money. DEAD ON IT! In the black community, it is a shame how we will run an innocent person in the mud and glorify someone who is guilty. I thought I was the only person who noticed this, and being a HUGE MJ fan since birth, I have always been his advocate and BELIEVED he was innocent from the start (And was not surprised when it was proved TRUE that he was INNOCENT the entire time.).

    We have so much to clean up and everything you described of the double standard that we form in the black community and in the spiritual community at times…is slavery in the mind and bondage of the soul. Glad I am not the only one who noticed this as well.

  2. convo_girl says:

    Thanks so much for commenting. The need to openly and honestly deal with our issues is a big part of what’s holding us back as a race bc silence is consent.

    We’ve tried forgiving and the ‘oh he’s not perfect” stuff. It’s time for us to stand up for women and children when they are victims. I really saw that with RKelly and the Chris Brown situation. WE let our men get away with murder and it’s getting us nowhere. I intend to continue discussions like these, so please stay tuned. 🙂

    Again, thanks for checking out my post and commenting.

    • blackessence says:

      Hey, no problem! When I see that someone is not afraid to call it like they see it, I have to respond on it. You nailed it with this article. It was something that NEEDED to be said!

  3. roschelle says:

    Don Lemon of CNN interviewed some very young members of New Birth, I think yesterday. In doing so, he revealed for the first time that he was a victim of a pedophile. Something he had never revealed on television and according to him, didn’t share with his mother until he was 30 years old.

    And all Long has to say is “i’m not perfect”. I say, NEGRO, PLEASE!!!

    Don is a true survivor. I’ve followed the Eddie Long fiasco via the internet until this morning/afternoon. I allowed CNN a bit of air time in my home today and caught Don’s subsequent interview with the one (out of the three from his first interview) female New Birth member who agreed to come back after this morning’s sermon.

    I don’t mean to be blunt or disrespectful. Hold up. Yes, I do. These three youngsters (God bless them for they are young) sounded so caught up in the Bishop Long is not delusion. Not giving pause and at least entertaining the idea that something…something was inappropriate is careless.

    The young woman made the following statement, “Bishop Long doesn’t fit the pedophile profile that I know.” Oh, little girl. Who does?

    One guest (and former member of New Birth) who wasn’t in the studio made an eery point. Long brought many of his followers to Christ. So, their allegiance is with him.

    What about Christ?

    • convo_girl says:

      The interview w/Lemmons, was so touching. HIS testimony is what this is ALLL about. It’s about an adult who allegedly took advantage of kids.

      Those young ppl interviewed on CNN were sort of sad to see. They really did not need to be interviewed bc they did not seem to grasp what the situation was about. You’re right. This is not about Long. It’s about Christ. The problem with these mega churches is that many do not have strong education programs. Most people aren’t in Sunday School – just church.

      Another problem is the Black church’s lousy record of how we deal with ALL sexuality issues. We exist with two messages: No sex until marriage and Gay people are bad. Besides that, nothing. If it were up to me, Black churches would have aggressive sex ed program. Under that program, kids UNDERSTAND power. They understand predation. They understand and have the skills to make responsible choices. The church has so much power. Sad to see it misused.

  4. Sir Winston says:

    The window of opportunity was immediately after the acusation was made. Mr. Long did not jump on it and hours went by with nothing from him! If a man is innocent, he would come out with everything he has; instead, we saw promise after promise being broken from Mr. Long’s appearance V-103 to CNN to addressing his own congregation…and on that last Sunday, September 26, 2010, he faced his own congregation and said…….nothing! He waited to address his church and still said nothing except…”he never said he was a perfect man.) The light went out then, and when he addressed the journalist, he also did not say anthing to make any of us doubt those who have came forth with this story/stories. A dark day has came to the New Birth Baptist Church where in the black community this is unheard of and while this is known by many ministers….it has indeed made all of us stand up and pay attention. What is even darker is the material things that was given and even one of the men’s fathers said that Mr. Long was called daddy in front of him by his own son! Unlike every other minister that has been charged with sexual violations….Long too, must step down from the pulpit because he is sending the wrong message to those who are in his present. I am deeply sad for his wife because this has impacted her more than it has touched him. What did these (4) men have in common with Mr. Long that made them come forth and give their stories. Long himself have drawn attention by making comments about “small town” preacher, taking pictures, dressing in muscle-shirts etc., as a leader you do some things out of the sight of those you are leading especially when you are holding title of a Preacher. Mr. Long never preached to his congregation; he merely talk to make his points. God called man to preach his word; I think Long was not called to preach, he just went and gain the support and committment from those who join his church. People, you all need to realize that you can’t follow man. You don’t join a church because how big and nice it looks; you all better remember one thing….Jim Jones followers did the same things and in the end, he killed all those who follow him instead of the word of God! The message he gave was not from the living bible; they were merely from his own mind and he also fathered children from women in his chruch and also had sex with men as well! Just because you are a member of New Birth Baptist Church, it don’t make you any better or above anyone else who do not belongs there. Some of you are starving, about to lose your cars and homes while this man lives good and continue getting rich on your dimes! Face the facts, he could not say he was innocent, now you all figure out why!

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