When the sexual misconduct allegations by four young men against Bishop Eddie Long were made last September, there was a myriad of reactions in the Black community–specifically the Black church. Some rushed to judge and essentially deemed the pastor of New Birth guilty until proven innocent and felt he should step down from his role. There were others, many in his congregation, who completely disbelieved the accusations. However, there were others who suspected his guilt, but waited to make a judgement until the case went to court.
In November, it was announced that Bishop Eddie Long and his accusers were in mediation, which ended the possibility of a court trial. So we’ll never know if he is guilty of the allegations which included engaging in sexual activities with young male members of his church.
After speaking with someone off the record about Bishop Long and the accusations against him, it was surprising to hear this perspective: If Bishop Eddie Long is guilty it doesn’t matter if several young men were adversely affected, because he’s done so much good for so many others. While this theory may seem shocking, it is consistent with the collateral damage theory of war: Innocent people and soldiers die, but their sacrifice benefits the masses, making war acceptable. Do the needs of the many outweigh the few?
If Bishop Eddie Long did engage in appropriate sexual activity with young men, would it be better for the thousands of parishioners to exit New Baptist and potentially lose their faith? Or is it okay for a pastor to engage in questionable behavior with a few if he or she is bringing thousands closer to God? Please let us know your thoughts in our poll…