Atlanta, Georgia – As camera-pics of Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, in tight clothing continue to spread across the Internet the conversation surrounding the story has started to shift.
When the scandal first emerged emphasis was properly placed on the discord between Long’s homophobic words and his homoerotic actions. However, the news coverage has morphed and is no longer simply a story about religious hypocrisy from a mega church pastor. As CBS wrote on their CRIMESIDER blog the story is now a “gay sex scandal” and is too often being presented with the notion that gay sex in itself is scandalous. This has naturally led some opportunistic conservatives and pundits to make associations between this religious scandal and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
News of Eddie Long and his alleged sexual relationships with four young men should not be associated with the LGBT community. For years Long has advocated prejudice and discrimination toward the LGBT community from his pulpit. Eddie Long is not a member of the LGBT community and his alleged religious hypocrisy with four young men should not be forcibly linked to our community in the news.
Atlanta’s gay community is proud, diverse and strong. We are partners, mothers, leaders, designers, lawyers, carpenters and just about everything else that Atlanta has to offer. We are a hard-working, law-abiding community and a community of acceptance and welcoming. Eddie Long and the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church are not a community of acceptance and welcoming. Long has often utilized his position at New Birth to promulgate his strong opposition to gay marriage equality. Additionally, Long lured gay men to his church by promising that he could turn gay men straight with Christian counseling. Based on the recent allegations made against Long it seems fair to reason that his Christian counseling cure for gay didn’t work.
As this story continues to unfold more information is likely to be revealed. It is also possible that additional allegations may be filed. There may be more young men in the Atlanta area that have been victimized by Long’s abuse of power in his role at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. It is also possible that the allegations are false. But it doesn’t matter one way or the other for Atlanta’s LGBT community: Eddie Long is not one of us and he has stood firmly against our community for years.
With the advancement of gay issues in the political world our community remains under a microscope. While we continue to fight for equality our opponents demonize our cause by linking our community with negative news stories such as Eddie Long or Catholic priests. Such comparisons are inappropriate and misleading. These people are not members of the LGBT community and we should not be demonized because of their actions.
For more information on the gay community and religion read The Fenuxe Interview: Bishop Gene Robinson in the current “Religion and Homosexuality” issue of Fenuxe. To read our current “Religon & Homosexuality” issue, click here.