Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eddie Long's Staged Offering, And The Problem With Black Church Enablers.

By now you're probably seen the video of a recent service at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, in which a congregant walks up to the pulpit and hands Bishop Eddie Long an outrageous stack of cash. If not, here it is.[1]

In street parlance, we'd refer to this pile of cash as "racks on racks on racks". In church parlance, I can only look at this and think "what in the Hades are folks at New Birth thinking?" Who justsohappens to bring a dope boy-sized stack of money (secured with a rubber band, of course) to Sunday service? Wouldn't someone bumrushing the pulpit like this typically be tackled by church security? This is such a transparent money grab, I halfway expected to see a getaway car pull up. If Long and Co. are stooping to using performance art to convince congregants to give, what's next?

Personally, I really, really, really dislike it when people paint all pastors with the same stereotypically "shady" brush. An overwhelming majority of those who head black churches are ethical, Christ-driven, and trustworthy. It's knuckleheads like Long who give preachers a bad name. And it's congregations like New Birth who clap like otters when such a spectacle occurs instead of getting up and walking out, that give church folks an even worse name.

In the wake of Long's (alleged) $25 million dollar settlement with four young men in a civil lawsuit for sexual misconduct, it's only natural to wonder if this sort of act is aimed at raising money to cover his indiscretions. How else are Long and New Birth supposed to be paying that massive tab? Various reports seem to indicate that the settlement might have been far less had Long simple issued a public apolofy, which he reportedly refused to. If I'm still a member of New Birth, I might need Long to thoroughly reassure me that my tithes aren't paying to protect what remains of his reputation. Better yet, if I'm still a member of New Birth, I might wanna look for a new church.

Shortly after the four your men filed the initial lawsuit last Fall, Long addressed his congregation, telling them the charges were bogus and he'd fight them "in the court of justice" just like David fought Goliath.

"I've got 5 rocks, and I haven’t thrown one yet,” Long boasted at the time.

I guess those rocks were worth $5 million apiece.

Question: What do you think about this?

[1] This post was originally intended to run elsewhere. Before you gripe about two straight days of Bishop Long, cut me a break.

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