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