How Bishop Eddie Long is helping to flip the script on church scandals

Last week, Bishop Eddie Long appeared on the Steve Harvey show launching his presumed comeback from a recent sex scandal.

In 2010, the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, was sued by four men who alleged the bishop traded his influence and money for sex.

Bishop Eddie Lee Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist in Lithonia, Ga. and wife Vanessa Griffin Long arrive at the 13th Annual Trumpet Awards Monday, April 25, 2005. (KEITH HADLEY/AJC staff)

Bishop Eddie Lee Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist in Lithonia, Ga. and wife Vanessa Griffin Long arrive at the 13th Annual Trumpet Awards Monday, April 25, 2005. (KEITH HADLEY/AJC staff)

The interview with Harvey — timed to coincide with the release of Long’s new book — caused a social media uproar, mostly from viewers who felt the pastor revealed absolutely nothing in the interview.

Lost in the sound and the fury is the fact that while Long may not have proven his innocence, he has proven that he quite literally embodies the name of his church — New Birth. His plans for a comeback are noteworthy as is the fact that we are still talking about him. Long has survived and remained relevant despite at least three scandals involving money and sex.

For his first scandal, Long created a charity to aid the poor which prompted an investigation when it surfaced that he was the charity’s biggest beneficiary. The charity paid Long millions in salary and benefits, including a home and Bentley, between 1997 and 2000.

Last year,  Ephren Taylor, a Long associate who had been invited to host a series of financial seminars at the church, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for a nationwide Ponzi scheme. Church members said Long had encouraged them to invest their money with the crooked adviser.

Some may argue that Long hasn’t escaped his scandals unscathed. He claims to have considered suicide. And while at its peak the megachurch had 25,000 members, current estimates are around 2,000 – 5,000 depending on the source.

But there are plenty of other mega-popular preachers who faced scandals and didn’t fare nearly as well as Long. Remember the names Jim Bakker and Ted Haggard?

Not to mention a few others that hit closer to home, right here in the metro-area, like Bishop Earl Paulk, senior pastor of Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill Harvester Church in Decatur.

In the late 1990s, the megachurch had a congregation of 13,000 members and was one of the top 10 megachurches in the country until several women in the congregation accused Paulk of engaging them in affairs.

Then came the bigger blow when a court ordered DNA test showed that Paulk had slept with his brother’s wife. The son from that union — the heir to the empire — had grown up thinking his father was his uncle. After that revelation, the church collapsed. In 2009, the building sold for $17.6 million.

But those were the old days of church scandals.

Today, Long and his cohorts are forging new paths back to prosperity.

In 2013, Jim Bolin was installed as senior pastor of Trinity Chapel, the Powder Springs megachurch he founded with his wife back in 1983. Bolin had previously been removed by Church of God officials in 2008 after he confessed to “inappropriate, consensual sexual conduct with an adult female.”

And just this week, reports surfaced that Mark Driscoll had returned to the ministry just two years after he was ousted as senior pastor of Seattle’s Mars Hill megachurch. While Driscoll still faces a RICO racketeering suit by former church members in Seattle and can’t quite shake his reputation as a misogynist and homophobe, Driscoll has risen again — in the Phoenix area — with plans to start a new church.

Reader Comments 0

23 comments
Linda Thomas
Linda Thomas

And with young men no less, and I et they people of his church still unloading their wallets, for this pervert...

Merisa Davis
Merisa Davis

His mess makes it hard for legit ministers of the gospel. I can't understand how people stay loyal to mess the bible condemns

POV1948
POV1948

What script has been flipped?  More like variations of the same old script of greed, power and lust continue to be repeated by many con artists in many places.  Elmer Gantry recycled.

Robert Karma
Robert Karma

Eddie Long is just one of a long list of religious leaders who have used and abused the faith and trust of their followers to enrich themselves and commit immoral acts. When caught, they all follow the same script, deny the facts until they can't anymore, pretend to be sorry about their sordid acts, claim they have asked their God for forgiveness and then return to fleecing their flocks, rinse, lather and repeat, ad infinitum. I don't blame these religious leaders for such behavior because history shows that they are highly unlikely to ever face criminal repercussions for their actions and they tend to be welcomed back by their followers. 


When you have people willing to believe in an invisible mythical supernatural being, it is easy to convince them of just about anything if you use the name and authority of that alleged deity. Like sheep being led to slaughter, they go willingly despite all of the evidence that they are going to meet a terrible end. Faith stops a thinking mind. So I look for Eddie Long to be back in the pulpit and raking in the taxpayer subsidized money again along with more women he will find to have affairs with because he is a proven predator. 

jesusisking7777
jesusisking7777

Dont blame The Most High for this monsters action. God gave us all free will. He chooses to live that wicked lifestyle, and for the people who blindly follow him, God will deal with them also. Never put your full trust in human beings. The bible says that man will ALWAYS fail you, but the Most High will never fail you. Also for the people that say dont judge. The bible say we are to rebuke our brother if they are living in sin, its called righteous judgement. If we dont warn are brother on their wrong doings and they die and go to hell their blood is on our hands.

SusanCE
SusanCE

This is good stuff!:)


Susan89
Susan89

Wow..you are so ignorant.  There much more than 2 - 5k people at New Birth.  You should get your behind kicked for this article.  Maybe it's your tacky so called relaxer in your hair that's confusing you.  He was invited to Steve Harvey's show.  He did not request to be on it.  I refuse to read this tacky behind article.  It's just as tacky as you are....you are pitiful and sad!!! and VERY unimportant.  Thot.

brion77
brion77

In order for you to know that you had to have read the article Susan lol

brion77
brion77

She said depending on the source, the church estimate is at 2-5000. She didn't say it was just based on whatever skied she used.. Susan you aren't being a Christian in respond to those article lol. Guess the bootyman pastor has you brainwarped. Not once has he stated Publicly that he didn't sleep with those men hmmm

Winston Yarde
Winston Yarde

And they wonder why young people don't go to church anymore.

REAL ATLIEN
REAL ATLIEN

...Say ummmm.....where's the rest of the article?? Namely the content related to the title, of the article.

Zachary Thomaston
Zachary Thomaston

This is what happens when you don't institutionalize Christians.

John Fair
John Fair

"Relevant", you keep using that word, i don't think it means what you think it means

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson

Preying on the weak minded, and making bank, tax free! Awesome!

Ian DeLeon
Ian DeLeon

Money can fix your legal issues.

tc57
tc57

Religion is the oldest con game in the world.

Scamwatcher
Scamwatcher

Huckster Long appeals and sucks in the dumbest of the dumb lemmings folks and they deserve to be fleeced out of their money. If I ever decide to become a scamster I am going to mimick the Rev Huckster Long,lol.