"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Brumley Article: Is Eddie Long Being Prematurely Attacked? A "Gay Man Struggling with His Sexuality"?

Jeff Brumley, religion writer of the Florida Times Union, has an article this morning about Eddie Long, asking the questions:

"Why do so many people delight in the misfortune of others?"

and

"Do such attacks amount to kicking a man while he's down, or is it deserved scrutiny and punishment for a hypocrite?"

I really am at a loss for words. "Such attacks"? So Eddie Long is being "attacked"? Hardly. He has credible accusers. I expect pastors to call being credibly accused of sexual sin as "being attacked", but he is not being "attacked". If these men are telling the truth, he is the attacker and abuser.

And "misfortune" - are we to characterize Bishop Eddie as having experienced misfortune? Bishop Eddie is hardly a man who has experienced "misfortune". This is a man who has become wealthy by preaching a false gospel, a health and wealth gospel, telling people they were obligated to give 10% of their income and more to him, and who has become a millionaire preying on people's desire to be close to God.

And now we hear credible accusers (have you seen the video of the one accuser brave enough to speak publicly?): that Long used his spiritual position, gained the trust of their families, in order to transform young men into his sex toys. It is a sin so heinous that it is difficult to fathom for believers.

The part of the story that Brumley is missing is that any kind of criticism aimed at evangelical pastors is viewed as an "attack" on the "man of God." Evangelical pastors are so thin-skinned that critics are viewed as troublemakers and dividers. Eddie Long himself has claimed that he is under attack from these charges.

If there is another story here, it is not whether people are justified in "prematurely attacking" Long, it is why is there no accountability system for mega church pastors like Long - who is a "Baptist", and other Southern Baptist pastors? There is no formal grievance process for victims to come forward to get help, and the pastors absolutely do not police themselves. There is no "defrocking" process by which a misbehaving pastor has their ministerial credentials revoked as in other Protestant denominations.

But still, even though credibly accused, Eddie hasn't experienced much "misfortune" yet - he got a standing ovation from his congregation last week after the story broke while not directly denying the charges made in the lawsuits. He probably took in an even larger offering that day. His ministry will likely pay for his expensive defense against the lawsuit, and he will likely pay-off his victims with a large settlement from the ministry and Eddie will keep the gravy train running on the backs of the gullible sheep who worship their pastor.

And the story is whether people are piling on poor Eddie?

The article ends with an absolutely disgusting quote from someone who implies that Eddie Long himself is a victim! Brumley quotes Rev. Grant Lynn Ford, pastor of a local church with a mostly gay congregation:

"But Grant said he feels compassion for Long - partly because of the hit he's taking and partly because he may be a gay man struggling with his sexuality. Grant said it's an issue he once wrestled with himself and that for some gays the struggle ends in suicide. 'I feel sorry for the guy, Grant said."
Ugh! Are you kidding me? Eddie is "taking a hit"? Is he kidding? And Grant says Long is "a gay man struggling with his sexuality". I think I will throw up now.

The only thing that would make this story worse is to find out Long's mentors were a popular preacher and seminary president that knew of Long's sexual appetites and stood silently by while Long continued to pastor and gained access to more victims. Or that his successor knew of his deviance, and did nothing to step in and stop it.

Nah, that could never happen - in Atlanta. Only in Jacksonville.

31 comments:

JH said...

Tom,

Spot on about the Eddie Long story. If his accusers are truthful, then this man is much more than just a hypocritical preacher, he is a sinful predator that needs a work of God in his life, and should be removed from circulation for the safety of those around him.

All that is, if his accusers are telling the truth. If they are not, then they need to be dealt with accordingly.

Now that being said, without going back and looking, it seems to me that I have heard this statement from you more than once, "Evangelical pastors are so thin-skinned that critics are viewed as troublemakers and dividers."

I do not know if you intend to or not, but the impression that I am getting is that you're view is that "evangelical pastors, deserve, should expect, and willingly take whatever darts and bites are thrown at them." It seems that your thoughts are that somehow it is always Open Season on pastors, and that's what they signed up for, and if they don't like being stoned, don't sign up.

I doubt if that's the impression that you want to give, you don't seem to be that extreme. However that is the tone that has come through to me. Maybe I am wrong.

Anonymous said...

I do not know if you intend to or not, but the impression that I am getting is that you're view is that "evangelical pastors, deserve, should expect, and willingly take whatever darts and bites are thrown at them." It seems that your thoughts are that somehow it is always Open Season on pastors, and that's what they signed up for, and if they don't like being stoned, don't sign up.
"

Oh Puleeeeeze!

this is getting ridiculous. Pastors are so thin skinned. What darts? Can you please elaborate?

And by the way, if pastors are so pure and important, why don't they loudly rebuke their own peers instead of always finding some way to apologize for the real real bad ones but make sure to say all are not like that? One is too many and in the SBC,we have hundreds!

BTW: Did you speak out about Gaines protecting a pedophile minister? Where were all the SBC pastors on that one, as ONE example of many.

Anonymous said...

I bet Eddie Long just loves this article! (wink)

Lynn said...

I've noticed that if the victim finally says, "Ouch!"-that's considered an "attack" by the perpetrator. The perp designates himself as the victim.

Also, to me, this is not about gays. This is about a powerful spiritual leader using that power to abuse his trusting followers. He has much more power than the victims. He is much older than the victims. He is "the man of God" to the victims.

If a psychiatrist or therapist had a sexual relationship with a patient or client, would they not be charged with unethical behavior and have their license taken away? It would be neither here nor there whether they were gay or straight.

So where in the Baptist denomination is there anyone to do anything to him? It seems like fellow Baptist pastors who ARE being ethical would want to set up some way of policing their profession.

Anonymous said...

There are times when I cannot find words that are even close to what I feel when I read these reports.

As a victim of childhood incest, I honestly think it is worse when sexual abuse is from a supposed Christian minister. Abuse isn't even an accurate word. It is devastating to the spirit and I can attest to the fact that only the soothing balm of Gilead can even begin to heal this. It never, ever goes away completely. In all things however, Christ is sufficient.

I don't really know what happened here. I think WD is correct that it probably did happen. It's not about being gay, it's about being a wretched sinner.

As long as Christians sit back and make excuses for the serious sin of their leaders, then they [the leaders] will continue to be an issue for the church at large. Though some of you may not think so, you are complicit in the sin if you do not speak up against it. If Eddie Long had any sense at all, he'd have stepped down. Of course so would the likes of Ergun Caner and his band of SBC supporters. God will hold us accountable if we look the other way. It really is waaaaayyyy past time that Christians started looking to Christ instead of their leaders who lie to them every time they stand behind a pulpit.

I am sick to my stomach and sick at heart that anyone would support this.

Come Lord Jesus.

Anonymous said...

I am waiting cautiously to see how this whole episode turns out. I do find it very damning that not one, not two, not three but so far, four accusers have surfaced. And the fact that Eddie Long has not defended himself well in the press and horribly before his own congregation, makes this thing look even worse.

However, I am reminded from the book "They Could Not Stop the Music" by Ron Owens that when the communists began to take over in Eastern Europe, one of the very first things that they started to do is to find people who would come out (no pun intended) and begin to discredit and undermine the well known preachers in the regions and countries that they were taking over. And no one can blame the influence and prominence of Eddie Long. We certainly see a huge influx of socialism and godlessness growing in our country and government (and yes, some churches and preachers are to blame for that). While I am not saying this is the same thing, I am saying that while it is easy to jump and come to conclusions on one side or the other, I think I will wait and see what all of the evidence is and come to a conclusion at that point.

John H said...

What's disturbing is the implication that if he's gay and struggling with his sexuality, his behavior is excusable.

Nothing about these allegations is excusable. If he did it, which I doubt you could convince 4 people to walk through the madness they are in for fun, then he's inexcusable, and should rightfully be expelled by his church and punished by the temporal authority, hopefully that he will repent before God.

If, and it's a big if that I see as unlikely, the allegations are fabricated, then that's inexcusable, and the same holds for the accusers.

However, if the Scripture says everything is to be established by 2 or 3 witnesses, including an accusation against an elder, then 4 covers it, does it not?

Anonymous said...

if he did what they say, it was about power. not being gay. it was about power over people. thats why you should NEVER give your personal power away to people ever.

Anonymous said...

However, if the Scripture says everything is to be established by 2 or 3 witnesses, including an accusation against an elder, then 4 covers it, does it not?

Tue Oct 05, 10:32:00 PM 2010

I always worry about this interpretation. There are usually NO witnesses to sexual molestation. This case might be different but when it is a 6 year old, why would you think that verse should mean it is not investigated unless there are witnesses?

So we wait until the right amount of children are molested and speak up before we investigate the first one?

No wonder so many perverts become pastors! What a safe place for them!

New BBC Open Forum said...

However, if the Scripture says everything is to be established by 2 or 3 witnesses, including an accusation against an elder, then 4 covers it, does it not?

Apparently not according to Paige Patterson when women were complaining about Darrell Gilyard back in the day.

John H said...

The point about the 2 or 3 witnesses comment was that even that is no defense for him.

I am well aware that in many sexual assault cases there are no additional witnesses to each incident. My point is that each victim constitutes a witness, so that defense doesn't work in this case.

As to the overall issue, the statement of a victim, any evidence or expert help to establish that victim's credibility, would make 2 witnesses, would it not? And, unfortunately, too often there are multiple victims, which again, establishes the issue.

I wasn't attempting to comment on the overall problem of abusive clergy, just pointing out that in this one specific case, he cannot fall back on that defense. He has more than 2 or 3 witnesses against him, and needs to address the charge, in court, under oath, and away from the pulpit.

It's misinterpreting that verse to insist that 2 or 3 people observe the exact same incident. When you see 2 or 3 or 4 or dozens witness separate, similar incidents, that should be adequate, and should have been adequate.

However, the High Ones of the SBC don't listen to me or anyone else they don't agree with, so it's kind of a dead issue.

Anonymous said...

Off topic: Mac angrily and aggressively asked his adoring congregation for more money...again...on Sunday morning.

Let's keep the focus of this blog on Mac's insatiable love of money as evidenced by his ongoing preaching that calls for people to give more of it to him.

Don't let Eddie Long divert attention from what mac is, and has been, doing.

Anonymous said...

This is Eddie - the article has a big picture of Bob Gray in it. That reminds me. Can someone put me in contact with Tom Messer please. I need to know how he was able to deflect the Bob Gray molestation charges off of Trinity and to keep on rolling as if decades of child molestation never occurred. Do you think I could get Messer to have me reassigned to Germany as a missionary? At least let me know the names of those lawyers Trinity hired. They have handled this quietly, and out of the press. And folks in Jacksonville continue to bring their children to Trinity's church and school. And I think we all agree that what I have been accused of doing is no where near as bad as what Bob Gray was proven to have done.

John H said...

Anon, seriously, there are additional witnesses when a 6-year-old levels that kind of charge: parents/guardians who are aware the 6-year-old was in the presence of the pastor, a counselor or other expert that interviewed the child and can swear the child truly experienced abuse, the child him/herself. There's 3: witness to the opportunity, witness to the credibility, and witness to the fact.

No one with any real sense would expect a molester to have actual witnesses beyond the victim, and shouldn't expect actual evidence. That's why police and experts should be involved, because they can establish what happened from 1 victim.

That this verse has been misused to shield predators doesn't mean it's not valid, just that it's misused.

And yes, no one with real sense would expect that, and that includes the highnesses of the SBC.

As to Patterson and Gilyard, it should have been enough. Why it wasn't, you'll have to ask them or the churches that didn't examine the situation, or the police that didn't examine it. I can't explain most behavior from the highnesses of the SBC, especially these types of things.

Again, my statement was about this one case, that Long can't use that defense.

Jim said...

Anon. Oct. 6, 2010 11:04 AM, the current WD post regarding "Bishop" Eddie Long is relevant to the postings about Mac. Those guys are "cut from the same piece of cloth." The ego and greed which drives each of them is identical. They are wolves from the same mega church mentality wolf pack.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Jim - there are similarities in how the men raise money for their mega churches. They both push the tithe, and push it hard.

But the similarities stop there. Mac has never had a hint of any sexual or moral scandal any time in his ministry. His devotion to his wife and kids are a great example to his church members. Come on, Eddie Long: grooming male teens, using his spiritual authority to gain their trust to have sex with them after they pass the age of consent, just makes me want to vomit when I see the guy's picture.

But I don't understand why these mega church pastors stay so silent when one of their own is found out. Why were Vines and Brunson so silent about Gilyard, but when it comes to critics and bloggers, they are outspoken? I don't get it. I didn't see Brunson calling Gilyard a sociopath. He said nothing publicly about it. But criticize them, and you are public enemy number 1.

Anonymous said...

The main similarity I see is the reaction of the congregation. Standing ovations, hootin and hollerin, whenever the press attacks them.

And the fact that these guys both are able to use their positions as pastors to get whatever they want. If its money, its money. If its something else, its something else. No accountability or transparency until the press shows up.

But you are right. Even after years of blogging about mac with thousands of supposedly blogger comments from "pastor haters", there is not one single person claiming or "attacking" that Mac Brunson is not a great husband and father and not even any innuendo that he is anything less than a law abiding citizen in all respects.

Anonymous said...

WD - you must be jealous of Eddie Long right? Otherwise, according to Brunson supporters, there is no other reason to "attack" Eddie. So according to their logic, you must wish you could have access to young boys too. Anyone that attacks these pastors are really just jealous of the money and sex these guys get from their followers.

I hope I don't have to hear the "you are the jealous" comments anymore. :)

Anonymous said...

Brunson is not a great husband and father and not even any innuendo that he is anything less than a law abiding citizen in all respects.

October 6, 2010 2:39 PM

And he is quite clever at using the civil government to his advantage!

And a good husband and father that knows how to put his family on the church payroll!

What a guy!

WishIhadknown said...

WD said, “But I don't understand why these mega church pastors stay so silent when one of their own is found out. Why were Vines and Brunson so silent about Gilyard, but when it comes to critics and bloggers, they are outspoken? I don't get it. I didn't see Brunson calling Gilyard a sociopath. He said nothing publicly about it. But criticize them, and you are public enemy number 1.”
WD, you basically answered your own question, “…criticize them, and you are public enemy number 1.”
I saw it happen here to a dear friend and brother when he spoke up indirectly about the lack of judgment by our local celebrity preacher. He didn’t even name anyone it was if this happened then the celeb needs to resign.
What happened, my friend, who was dead on right, got nailed to the fence post while the celeb preacher gets standing O’s and pats on the back and “that’s OK we’ll just reprimand you,” wink-wink, “and that will settle it.”
Do you think my friend will step out again. Not a chance, that is my advice to him as well; don’t put yourself in that position.

New BBC Open Forum said...

MS?

WishIhadknown said...

Who else

Anonymous said...

No proof he has done anything wrong. No proof of these accusations. No proof that he has in any way been inappropriate.

Satan is having a field day carving up Pastors!!!

And he is using Blogs like this to tear down God's men.

Lynn said...

Can I declare myself "God's woman" and thereby deflect all criticism?

If I call myself "God's woman," who can say I'm not?

What if I'm really successful and have lots of followers and a charismatic personality? Can't I say those are proof that God is approving of me?



This idea reminds me of The Blues Brothers. They were on "a mission from God."

Anybody can say they are God's annointed, God's man, God's messenger. That does not make it true.

WishIhadknown said...

Question. Satan is neither omnipresent nor omnipotent so his time and power is subject to physical limitation. Strategically, wouldn’t it be better to concentrate on misleading as many men who fill the pulpit as he can rather than spending his time on a blog hardly anyone reads?

Anonymous said...

And he is using Blogs like this to tear down God's men.

October 7, 2010 10:34 AM
___________________________________

No, but He is using PASTORS LIKE THAT to tear down Jesus' name

New BBC Open Forum said...

Can I declare myself "God's woman" and thereby deflect all criticism?

Nah, it only works if you're "God's appointed and anointed" man. Or a mega pastor's wife.

:-)

Anonymous said...

"But I don't understand why these mega church pastors stay so silent when one of their own is found out."

It goes back to the way a lot of churches are set up. Southern Baptist churches are autonomous as are most other denominations to include independent baptists, Church of God, Holiness, Pentecostal, etc.

Typically, only the Catholics, Mormons, Episcopal, Methodist, Greek Orthodox and a few other denominations that have a dioceses type structure are literally one large organism.

Although I would like to see total disclosure on anyone convicted or credibly accused of sexual molestation, if it wont happen in the denominations like Catholic, etc. which has 100 times more blood on their hands I cannot ever see it happening within the loose knit denominations like the first group mentioned.

Due to the nature of jurisprudence, I think it would be very hard to find every scumbag before they move on to another church. Perhaps Christa and get something like "Christa's Law" passed by those idiots in Washington to tart a national database. I doubt it, but it would be worth a shot.

Anonymous said...

Thop it you know I'm thenthative!

Anonymous said...

I only count nine people and the pastor in the picture. Is he holding one of the dollar bills? - -HM

Anonymous said...

HM. The nine are together holding 9 one dollar bills and the lady in blue is holding a one dollar bill. She represents the 10%, i.e. one of ten.