Bishop Eddie Long‘s message about charges of 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), (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.
- Bishop Eddie Long Denies ‘False Allegations,’ Plans To Address Church (huffingtonpost.com)
- Bishop Eddie Long Accused of Sexual Abuse (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)
- Bishop Eddie Long preached “Gays deserve death!” (mojoey.blogspot.com)