Pastor Eddie Long accused of rape by two men.

Bishop Eddie Long, a famed pastor in Atlanta, Georgia and staunch advocate of banning same-sex marriage has been accused of raping two men in his congregation. Well, CNN said he “coerced them into having sex,” but to me, that’s rape.

In an article published at the Southern Poverty Law Center a few years ago, Brentin Mock writes about Long as one of the most homophobic black leaders in the anti-gay marriage movement,

“It is the most unattractive thing I have ever seen, when I see women wearing uniforms that men would wear, and women fighting to get in the military!” Long shouted to his congregation then. “The woman gets perverted to turn towards woman … and everybody knows it’s dangerous to enter an exit! And everybody knows, lady, if you go to the store and buy these devices [marital aids], it’s Memorex! It ain’t real!”

The audience, seated in a congested sanctuary, erupts in laughter. But what Long says next is no joke.

“God says you deserve death!”

Long’s message is: Hate the sin and the sinner. It’s a popular message. His congregation now tops 25,000.

In 2004, Long and his followers vigorously supported a proposed amendment to the Georgia state constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Civil rights activists cringed as Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Bernice, handed a torch to Long, whom she has referred to as her “new father,” as they marched side by side to her biological father’s gravesite in a demonstration held “to protect the institution of marriage.”

The amendment ultimately passed.

I suppose at this point it is no longer surprising to see a bigoted homophobe also involved in coercive same-sex relations (rape), but it is still infuriating. CNN reports that Long’s spokespeople vehemently deny the accusations claiming this is a stunt to get money and media. The fall out should be interesting, but pastor doth protest too much, methinks.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted September 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    People can be hypocrites at all ages, regardless of what they may do for a living. It’s just that we grant a certain amount of respect and deference to a person of the cloth that we would not do for a politician.

  2. Posted September 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Samhita,

    Aren’t you jumping to conclusions here? I don’t know the Pastor, and I really don’t know anything more about the case than what is reported here.

    But to say he is “involved in coercive same-sex relations (rape)” – as if it were a fact – is too severe. After all, he *has* denied the allegations, and claiming that the two plaintifs are trying to extrort money from seems not unreasonable.

    As far as I can tell, there is little concrete evidence to support the claims. It seems to me that you have already made up your mind, based solely on the fact that you do not agree with the man’s politics. Is that fair?

    • Posted September 22, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

      “pastor doth protest too much, methinks”? If he is actually guilty of this, then sure. What if he isn’t? If I was in the same position and I had not done something I was accused of, I would protest it to the moon and back.

  3. Posted September 22, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    pastor doth protest too much, methinks

    He’s accused of rape. Let’s say he’s innocent, what do you think he’s going to do, not protest too much? The implication of this sentence, and of the whole of the article, is that you think he’s guilty, but I would point out that currently we only have conflicting testimony. It is not inconceivable that a person of public stature would be smeared or blackmailed in this way.

    He sounds despicable regardless of his criminal acts.

    • Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I read Samhita’s “doth protest too much” comment more about his professed anti-gay sentiments (and then going after me) than about his denial of the rape charges. We see this a lot in right wing, anti-gay conservatives…they’re actually GAY. And that’s what was quoted here…his homophobic language. I think there’s a lot of “doth protest too much” amongst homophobes.

  4. Posted September 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I think “you do not agree with the man’s politics” is a little mild for the feelings evoked by someone who believes anyone who is not utterly straight, or even slightly resists gender roles, *deserves to die*. I think that’s not disagreeing with his politics, it’s disagreeing with his ability to be a functioning member of society (I don’t think preaching hate is really very functional in the traditional sense).

    Also, personally, given how fucking hard it is to go through with a rape conviction, especially for men (no rape is “better” or “worse” than another, but often men get even more fucked over by those they know and the police than women, which is saying a lot), I tend to take people on their word.

    Innocent until proven guilty applies to courts, not my opinion, before you get there.

    • Posted September 23, 2010 at 5:36 am | Permalink

      I’d apply that to friends and people I knew, and I get the emotional appeal of backing one party. I think though that if you run a big blog or news outlet, you have an ethical responsibility to maintain balance about accusations of this sort, simply because people don’t read posts closely and it’s easy for rumours to fly. To be fair, though, the word “accused” is clearly used in the title so my complaint is limited about this particular post. But you do see it all the time that crimes are misreported, people being called the victim etc before there’s been a trial.

  5. Posted September 26, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know how one would consider nonconsensual sexual acts *not* rape.

    And apparently, the law discriminates as well. According to the NYTimes: “But federal and state authorities have said they will not investigate the allegations because all four men were 17 and 18 years old when the relationships with Long began — older than Georgia’s age of consent, which is 16.”

    That’s fucked up. So if you’re a queer or (or even non-queer) person over the age of consent, there’s no such thing as personal boundaries?

One Trackback

  1. By Dating White or Dating Right? : Ms Magazine Blog on October 1, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    [...] often seen as an accomplishment, and being a father proves that one is hetero. Atlanta mega-church Bishop Eddie Long’s virulent homophobia and the recent reactions to charges that he forced male teenagers into sexual relationships with [...]

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