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|Cynthia Tucker calls out Eddie Long as 'homophobe, narcissist, con artist'|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|April 27, 2011 16:10|
Cynthia Tucker, former editorial page editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now tucked away in Washington, D.C., as the paper's national political columnist, doesn't mince words when talking about Eddie Long.
Long, the minister at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, was sued for allegedly coercing young male church members into sexual relationships. A settlement between Long, the church and the four men is reportedly close at hand. Long denied all accusations.
But in her blog today, Tucker calls out Long as a "homophobe, narcissist and a con artist."
"Given Long’s extremely flexible ethics over the years, it’s no surprise that he chose to engage in hush-hush negotiations aimed at settling the sexual misconduct allegations brought against him by four young men," Tucker writes.
"If the civil cases are settled — a settlement is reportedly close — they will likely require non-disclosure agreements by all parties. Long would then continue to insist that he did nothing wrong."
Tucker continues by saying that there is a long history of closeted gay ministers, in black, white and mixed churches.
"But nowhere have those closeted gays — and their bigoted but straight brethren — done more harm than in the black church, where homophobia drives gays into the closet and fuels covert sexual activity. That, in turn, allows HIV/AIDS to thrive," Tucker adds.
When the story broke last year about the lawsuits against Long, who led a march of thousands through the streets of Atlanta decrying same-sex marriage, local black gay pastors and activists said the scandal would "blow the hinges off church's closet doors."
“It’s an opportunity to examine why we continue to put blind faith in a charismatic figure and follow him/her even when there is suspect behavior,” Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, told the GA Voice last year. The NBJC is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“The black church has a dire need to learn more about human sexuality and not leave the human condition to dichotomies of good versus bad, saint versus sinner," Lettman-Hicks added. “If we do not do this work, our most vulnerable populations, youth, will continue to fall prey to religious leaders who have essentially been given license to do whatever they want, in the name of God, unquestioned.”
Julian Bond, civil rights icon, said that if the allegations were true against Long, "It's going to be a victory for gay rights in black America. A sad victory."
But if we don't know what happened, if the settlement is kept silent — which may imply guilt to some but still doesn't answer the question if Long is guilty or not — will the mainstream black church have learned anything? Maybe.
"When a popular minister is charged with wrongdoing, he can always count on the unquestioning support of some. But many members will find that the spell has been broken; Long’s aura of invincibility has faded; his air of authority, once so powerful, is greatly diminished. And that’s a very good thing," Tucker writes. "It’s unlikely he’d be able to draw such crowds to march under his banner again. And that, too, is a very good thing."
Top photo: Eddie Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, is accused of sexually coercing four young men. Settlement talks are reportedly close to being finished. (publicity photo)
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