Skip to Content

I Wanna Be A Macho Man: The Prosperity Gospel According to Eddie Long

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

by Sikivu Hutchinson

Allegations that Bishop Eddie Long lured young Black men to become his sexual playthings should come as no surprise, since his brand of “faith pimping spiritual ministry translates into emotional manipulation, psychological control, and sexual exploitation.” Long, a “self-proclaimed ‘spiritual daddy’ to a nationwide army of ‘wayward’ sons,” is the inevitable offspring of religious patriarchy and robber baron politics.

I Wanna Be A Macho Man: The Prosperity Gospel According to Eddie Long

by Sikivu Hutchinson

The arch homophobe and macho man mentor of boys Long would seem to be the devil’s latest casualty.”

Who was it who said that it would be easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a filthy rich pastor with a $350,000 Bentley to get into the Kingdom of God? And how long will it be before the Lord, working mysteriously, delivers New Birth Missionary Church Bishop Eddie Long--Bentley ditched for a Pinto--sobbing Jimmy Swaggart cum Ted Haggard-style in a warm lather of repentance on cable TV?

Accused of sexually abusing young men in his congregation, arch homophobe and macho man mentor of boys Long would seem to be the devil’s latest casualty.

In a week in which “God” has been routinely invoked to immunize crooks from criminal investigation and social condemnation, the Long allegations are yet another shining example of the sexually, morally and fiscally corrupt business of organized religion. In the scandal-plagued city of Bell, California, an indicted City Council member/pastor trotted out his belief in God as a cover for alleged misconduct. In an investment fraud case reverberating through the Los Angeles Police Department, victims cited the “Christian” orientation of the suspects as the primary motivating factor for their trust. Arguing for clemency, supporters of Virginia Death Row inmate Teresa Lewis piously vouched for her Christian prison “conversion.”

How many times have predators and hardcore career criminals been given a figurative pass or viewed as above suspicion because they were churchgoing Christians doing the Lord's (dirty) work?”

Having learned zero from the global pedophile priest scourge, our stridently Judeo Christian culture still routinely uses the assignation man or woman "of God” to shut down debate or consideration of how religion and religious authority gives license to those who act immorally. Indeed, how many times have we heard that a certain person could not have committed “that there” serial murder because he was a good man of God, a devout Christian and a churchgoer who could regurgitate scripture on demand? And how many times have predators and hardcore career criminals been given a figurative pass or viewed as above suspicion because they were churchgoing Christians doing the Lord's (dirty) work? Conversely, how many times have we heard the caveat that a certain person could not have committed “that there” serial murder because they were a humanist, atheist or agnostic?

The ATL’s very own ringleader of the prosperity gospel, Long has blazed a trail as an anti-same sex marriage Christian soldier and self-proclaimed “spiritual daddy” to a nationwide army of "wayward" sons. After the death of Coretta Scott King in 2004, Earl Ofari Hutchinson notes that, “Long's anti-gay phobia was so virulent that then NAACP president Julian Bond publicly declared he would not attend (her) funeral service at Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.” A prominent supporter of George W. Bush and his anti-gay policies, Long and several other prosperity gospel predators were the subject of a 2007 federal probe on fiscal mismanagement of their tax exempt status. Launched the U.S. Senate, the investigation was spearheaded by the Trinity Foundation, a nonprofit “religious media watchdog” dedicated to exposing fraud and financial improprieties within the billion-dollar megachurch industry.

Long and several other prosperity gospel predators were the subject of a 2007 federal probe on fiscal mismanagement of their tax exempt status.”

Long’s empire of niche ministries, books, gospel shows and seminars powers a robber baron’s lifestyle of expensive cars, homes and private jets. One of these niche ministries involves spiritual counseling for young men and “delivering” men from homosexuality. According to a former New Birth parishioner, Long evoked themes of hyper-masculinity and required obeisance to himself as divinely ordained patriarch. The trespasses of Long and other good Christian evangelicals was scrutinized in Sarah Posner's 2008 book God's Profits: Faith, Fraud and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters. Yet while the sex abuse epidemic in the Catholic Church has received much coverage, similar epidemics in Protestant churches have remained underreported. Commenting on the 2008 Chris Brown/Rihanna abuse incident black feminist anti-violence activist Kevin Powell recounted how he’d been approached for advice by a young woman who had been sexually abused by her pastor since she was five years old. Similarly, a young woman of my acquaintance related that she had been repeatedly molested by her pastor after her parents had entrusted her in his care.

Clearly, sexual abuse is an endemic social issue that is not peculiar to organized religion. However, the mindset of the religious sexual predator is markedly different from one operating in a secular context because of the presumption of righteous morals and a higher calling. Further, religious hierarchies (be they Muslim, Christian, Mormon, Orthodox Jewish, etc.) delineating masculine roles, responsibilities and privileges perpetuate a culture of patriarchal entitlement and heterosexist control. The Bible’s sanction of violence against women (e.g., rape and forced marriage) provides theological justification for viewing and treating women like property. If women are deemed to be second class citizens in scripture, and consigned to helpmate roles in the church, why wouldn’t male clergy act with impunity when it comes to sex and power? And if the culture of compulsory heterosexuality demands that men hew to rigid gender norms, it stands to reason that some closeted gay clergy will abuse their power by sexually abusing young male parishioners. Indeed, the heterosexist cult of the exalted pastor is based on the belief that “real men” should be inscrutable in their exercise of power and authority. Thus, the religious sexual predator may rationalize his behavior as being “ordained” by God. God confers him with ultimate authority and moral license. “His” ways are part of a divine moral order that mere laypeople don’t have access to.

The heterosexist cult of the exalted pastor is based on the belief that ‘real men’ should be inscrutable in their exercise of power and authority.”

From the time African American children become socially aware, the dominant culture reinforces the heterosexist perception of male clergy’s invulnerability and “above the law” status. Preachers are revered as founts of knowledge, wisdom and “reason.” In middle to working class black communities the absence of formal religious training or education is no barrier to having the title “Rev” “Dr.” or even “Reverend Doctor” slapped in front of one’s name. Consequently, the strong preacher (father) figure is one of the most universally respected models of masculinity in African American communities. Available for counsel and succor to male and female parishioners, the "daddy" pastor’s biblically sanctioned faith pimping spiritual ministry translates into emotional manipulation, psychological control, and sexual exploitation.

In America being a macho man and a professional homophobe is big business, one that jeopardizes the lives and mental health and wellness of thousands of gays and lesbians. Regardless of whether the allegations against Long are true or not, his prosperity gospel of gay-bashing and robber baron profiteering at the expense of poor black people is another indictment of the moral injustice that happens on "God's" watch.

Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of blackemlens.org. and a senior fellow for the Institute for Humanist Studies.

Share this

Comments

This is the horseshit agenda that Long and his ilk support

G-d’s Little Air Force

Air Force Academy "Brainwashing Cadets"

by Gordon Duff / October 1st, 2010

 

Here's a provocative read about those good little Christians that wouldn't know Christianity if it bit them in the ass.  This is the kind of poison Long and like-minded "religious leaders" are cosigning.  A Right Wing Christian Zionist vision hostile to gays, lesbians, Jews, women, Muslims and yes... Blacks.  This is why Long deserves every ounce of his comeuppance, his actions and words give heft to this tripe.  Hopefully, T.D. Jakes is next up, he lives in your neck of the woods Texas Tim

http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/10/g-d%E2%80%99s-little-air-force/#more-2...

Excerpt:

Mickey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been fighting the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs for a very long time. Weinstein’s group is working to restore normal constitutional rights and practices in a military organization that has been hijacked by Christian Zionists who call themselves “Evangelicals.” The idea is simple. To get into the Academy or to remain there, un-raped, unbeaten, you have to attend regular “bible study” groups and continually mumble prayers.

No Jews allowed. No homosexuals allowed. No Muslims allowed. It doesn’t stop there. Reports received today tell us that women attending the Air Force Academy are being told they are “second class citizens” and subject to “male domination.” How can someone serve as an officer in our armed forces and see themselves as a “sheep to be shepherded” by male “protectors.” This is what the Air Force Academy is teaching. Members who refuse to go along are threatened, attacks are reported. We are told it is safer to announce you are a gay communist than to let fellow classmates know you are not an “Evangelical.”

The controversy over religion is mostly just a front. The real issue is politics, not just any politics but extremist right wing politics and making sure that properly indoctrinated officers command our strategic nuclear forces. Why do they want that? We can’t say, but we are certain that serving a “higher power” or protecting the United States from enemies, particularly “domestic,” is not on the agenda."

Texas Tim, once again, it's "racial" to the extent Black folks on the whole want no part of this bunk.  This is not the collective agenda of Blacks in America, one of promoting militarism and wars of aggression, putting people in power and their hands on the lever of nuclear weapons who are "fighting a war against Islam or anything else that doesn't mimic them, their image, their ideology and narrow, insular worldview. I haven't even talked about their destructive economic and social policies.  None of us voted for Christian Fascism.  Ya dig??

Long and his ilk are cosigning Christian Fascism, by my reading of the Bible, that ain't "the Good News."  This agenda spells destitution, deprivation, oppression and outright Armegeddon for people of color, now do you understand why it's  more than just a tad "racial?"

I was wondering...

given Eddie Long Stroke's intimate embrace of GWB in that picture, do you suppose Bush was getting some of those phone pics also?

That's not a manly, "macho," embrace boys and girls.  What is Long whispering in Bush's ear, or is he trying to give him a "down low" smooch?  Maybe he's telling Bush, "If you think this $3,000 hand-sew suit is hot, YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN MY BLACK SPANDEX." 

I don't know, looks to me like they just finishing a slow drag to Peabo Bryson's "Feel the Fire."

"Something that you told me stayed in my head, all night long..." lol

p.s.  Hey I just noticed something, an epiphany of sort, looks like Homeboy done perfected that pose,-- he's got that mirror pose down pat, YA THINK?  Practice makes Perfect.  lol

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO43p2Wqc08

 

p.s.s.  Why do Indians get the guy in the head dress to depict them?  White folks just won't let up... will they?  An indigenous brother ain't getting no breaks.  lol

Sin piled upon sin, where do we begin???

I hope this "scandal" rocks the foundation of the so-called Black Church which has pitifully abandoned it's historic trajectory, the advancement of civil and human rights.  The ironies are endless.  Long and his sycophants marched against gays and gay marriage when, frankly, that's an issue of significant import to the White political class only.  Most Blacks in cities like ATL and Detroit where unemployment is hovering near 50%  could give a good goddamn about "gay marriage," or the "rights of homosexuals," or DADT.   Black folks want jobs, jobs, jobs, fair housing, decent public education.  How many have even encountered a Black gay couple who wants to marry? 

The sin and irony is that Long and his minions should have marched their asses down to Fulton Co. Jail and the Atlanta Federal Pen, and the Centers for Disease Control: (1)  to protest  black mass incarceration, and (2) demand an end to prison-sanctioned sexually predatory acts and exploitation against HETEROSEXUAL men and women, and (3) raise awareness of how AIDS/HIV transmission rates which affect Black women the worse are exacerbated by "down-low" Men, some of whom are raped and abused in prison with the resulting damage to their sexual and psychological identities. Why is Long and these phoney Black ministers concerned about CONSENUAL sex acts, but don't say shit about COERCIVE sex acts inflicted upon heterosexual men and women in prison????

NO ONE IS MORE VICTIMIZED BY BLACK HOMOPHOBIA THAN BLACK WOMEN!!!

Long, like most of these prosperty pimp ministers has latched on to White Christian Conservative concerns that in turn push the White Christian Conservative agenda, an agenda hostile and anathema to the Black Agenda.  These Black pulpit sellouts give prominence to the political agendas and platforms of the Robinson's and Falwells who deep down hate their guts.

$350,000 Bentley, private jets, trips across the world, million dollar home, skimming hundreds of thousands from a so-called church foundation/charity... by the minister who famously said, paraphrasing: "I ain't some bunk, store-front minister who can't string his sentences together, I fuck with presidents and popes, now what nigga?" 

Don't worry about the good Bishop though, he'll be fine.  Most of the 20,000+ syncophants will continue to shout, leap and swoon, hanging on to his every word.  And if Long is compelled to leave the ministry don't worry, rumor has it that his attorneys are working on commercial deals with Under Armour and Nike.  The ads will feature Eddie Long Stroke in Under Armour gear along with the Nike tag line:  "Just Do It."  LOL

p.s.  Eddie won't be wearing the hoodie version however, that wouldn't look too good soaked with Jheri curl juice.

http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en/mens/apparel/tops/hoodies/pid11007...

http://all247news.com/megachurch-bishop-eddie-longs-homophobic-crusade/5...

“You’ve got to put me on a different scale than the little black preacher sitting over there that’s supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering,” CNN quoted him as saying when questioned about his funds.

p.s.  Most of these Negroes are going to Long's church to network, business-style, so they can get their "prosperity" too.  Don't join LinkedIn, join New Birth, much more effective.

Yea

Yea, it's piled up, Enlightnened Cynic, but I had no idea it was as far gone as you describe it. It's so disrespectful to the under 20 males and females, the majority, who arrived in chains hundreds of years ago. Have we lost our minds or are we begging to be washed away with it all? The rest of our brothers and sisters all over the world are not that far gone, and they're ready for whatever new world emerges. Poor Black America. It is a tragedy, because in a way we bore the heaviest weight. All of our other brothers and sisters in the diaspora did not have to endure a system of white supremacy where whites were in the majority, not even Brazil,  where nobody who claims to be white was ever really white. I guess it destroyed many of us in the States, most people could not last as long as most of us have. 

Not a race issue

If you want to separate long for judgement by the Black Community based on his race, I leave that to you.  If it were up to me, I hang them all in public.  When a politician or a businessman abuses power, that's one thing.  It's bad but it's not so deeply offensive.  But when someone acts that way while purporting to work on God's behalf, that's another.  Frankly I'd stay outside of lightning-striking range of a person like that.

 

In case you're not well informed in Christian apologetics, Jesus never promised anything but a tough life for his followers while on Earth.  Our principles may serve us here but His promises are reserved for another time.  The best way to live is in a modest, honorable condition, quiet, humble and loving, hard working, recognizing God in all things.  That's biblical but it sure isn't a recipe for worldly success.  This is not our home and our treasures don't belong here.  Amen?

Agree, but only in small part

I'd hang them all in public too.  And certainly the names of star-studded, upstanding, powerful White Conservative Christians comprises a Long List (pardon the pun) preceding the good Bishop.  What is "racial" is that most of the Black folks hoopering and a hollering about gays, gay marriage and homosexuality either: (a) don't know one goddamn Black couple who wants to marry, or (b) have homosexuals in their families or churches (like the pianist or choir director), and (3) don't really give a shit, too busy struggling to keep bills paid and lights on and roof over head.  This is what makes the "debate" a White issue not a Black one.

I have a young white Lesbian couple living next door to me and I can assure you not a day goes by that I DON'T give a shit what they're doing over there.  I just want them to be able to I.D. the prick who breaks into my house or garage and keep their property neat. After spending about 60 seconds when I first met them wondering who was on top or bottom, I never thought about their sex habits anymore. (well.. I confess my 3-some fantasies kicked in once or twice.. Lord forgive me). 

But all joking and bullshit aside; on a list of the 50 most pressing problems for African Americans, gay marriage is # 509.  Homosexuality is only relevant in terms of men lying about their sexual habits and infecting Black women (or women in general) with AIDs/HIV and STDs.  As a medical and public health issue that puts it in the top 5, but as a morality issue I don't give a shit.  I struggle enough with my own libido, I could care less with your struggles with yours.

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm#aidsrace

And last but not least, people need to stop asking for forgiveness for shit they plot, scheme, deliberate and carry out.  God gave us free will and Christianity ain't a free pass for all wrongs.  Suppose I poison the water system in your neighborhood killing a few hundred people, I schemed the shit up for years, executed it clandestinely, am I suppose to get a "free pass" or "get out of jail or hell card" because I ask for forgiveness?  No, I like the Buddhist or Hindu concept of Karma much better.  If there is an after life your ass comes back as a cockroach or dung beetle, instead of singing all loud and off-key behind the Pearly Gates and (still) trying to out-do one another as far as getting "happy" and full of the Holy Ghost. I've had enough of that on this plane.

Prosperity Pimps

I totally agree with the author of this article. I have seen this kind of corruption for years in the Protestant church, with little being done to expose/stop it. I recall reporting clergy sexual abuse by one of my colleagues, along with diagrams drawn by the victim of the various sexual positions the minister would have him assume. I naively turned these drawnings over to the  Senior Pastor.  All I got was ostracism from the other ministry team, and a sermon from the pulpit by the Senior Pastor about letting the tares grow with the wheat and letting God deal with the tares. Bull! There is a ministry that does excellent work in assisting people who have been the victims of clergy sexual abuse.  The name of the ministry is called The Hope of Survivors.  The sad thing about this type of corruption is that many lives are hurt, not only directly but indirectly.  I have seen people leave churches for good, or become so brain washed that they will gladly "drink the kool aid" for a spiritual leader, or look the other way when proof of corruption shows up. I have spoken with young women who have been sexually abused by their "pastors", with the full knowledge of their mothers.  The mothers saw it as some kind of honor, or did not believe the girls.  Sexual exploitation has been going on for years, but the Black church has looked the other way.  Believe it or not, there is scripture in the Bible that speaks to this:  "Woe to the shepherds who only take care of themselves"  Ezekiel 34:2, and "It is time for judgement to begin with the family of God."  I Peter 4:17a.  Excellent article Mr/Ms Hutchinson. 

Amen

But let us not blame it all on "religion per se."  I attended a church in Decatur that actually moved into Eddie B's old church on Snapfinger Rd.  There were lots of educated people in attendance, few lawyers, engineers, physicians, ect.  We debated like hell over whether we could afford a baptismal pool because we were a struggling start-up.  No, I don't mind, btw, deferring to the minister on a need for a baptismal pool ON SITE so congregants wouldn't leave church to travel to another church for baptism services, even if the finances are thin.  That's what I classify as spiritual discernment, that's an easy cost/benefit analysis isn't it?  (Now if she'd want a Bentley or an S-Class Benz we would have dumped here).  But it was a spirited debate nontheless.  In retrospect, maybe we should have hit up Eddie for one of his "love offerings?) Maybe convinced him to downsize from a Mercedes E class to a "raggety ol Accura," or a "cheap" Lexus  for the good of the Kingdom?

A friend in South Chicago suburbs informed me this week he was pulling back from his church.  Seems the Finance Committee produced a 1 page document to reflect the church's million dollar a year budget.  The chairman and vice chair of the Finance Committee were both accountants are large CPA firms.  So rather than rock the boat and be accused of "division against the minister" he's backed off attendance. (You know the Bible talks about yall "murmerers," that would'nt be me, btw).  As I've said a million times, the problem with the Black church is RELEVANCY.

The problems is also that many so-called Christians wouldn't know Christianity if it bit them in the ass.  These churches are oft times no more than networking factories, someplace to be seen or affiliated with.  What kind of intimacy can you get surrounded by 20K + people?  So don't blame the church, blame yourself.

On a more sanguine note, most people fail to realize that historically the Black church was one of the few public spaces where Black men could exercise power.  So it's not shocking that abuses would occur therein.  Most of yall who attend or have attended are familiar with the usher who is a "sargeant-at-arms" and exercises dictatorial powers, who faithfully ushers every service, every program, who considers him/herself devoutly faithful, above reproach, and religious to a fault when in fact they are an unmitigated asshole and arrogant tyrant.  But hey, at work he's got the young white boy he trained to supervise him on his ass, the white boy who still don't know shit but he attends the same church as the Manager. 

"Can you hear me now?"

p.s.  Speaking of "manly" "macho" ministers, my minister in Decatur was a woman, who actually attended Divinity School instead of waking up one morning to "see the light or hear a voice, or get a 'calling' " (or realize you need another income source).  I know some of yall Manly Man Christians don't approve.  Who cares, this is 2010.  Suck it up.

p.s.s.  Btw, speaking of which, I haven't heard of any woman ministers getting their sexual freakiness exposed on national news, so much for the Bible saying only the "head of the house" can deliver the word of God.

Bishop Long

I enjoy you view points on the various op-eds. I know exactly the female pastor, Rev Dr. Cynthia Hale of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur. whom you were referring to in this article. They (Ray of Hope) bought the old New Birth when Eddie Boy moved up to bigger and better things. She is a wonderful person and I have never heard any breath of scandal coming from her church. Long always had a cloud of suspicion following him. Dr Kenneth Samuel, who was the original pastor of New Birth prior to Eddie Long taking over, was on a local radio show in Atl, he explained that he (Samuel) was removed due to a cloud of sexual misconduct and Long was voted in to replace him. It would seem this church has a bad cloud following it and it might not be in anyone's best interest to become pastor of this church.

I personally have no affilliations to any organized religion, which is corrupt by nature. These Jim Jones like cult members of New Birth, will hopefully wake up and come out of their stupor.  According to records, it seems that Long owns the Church and the land that the building is on. As he has stated, he is no ignorant, illiterate country bumpkin, he keeps company with important people to include heads opf state. I'm hoping Creflo $ollar, and Bishop Paul S Morton, who moved his enterprise from New Orleans to Decatur after Katrina, will be the next to be exposed. Lets not forget the ongoing fallout at Chapel Hill Harvester and the Paulk family, another mega church that was taken out by sex. How fortunate Atl has become to have all these Mega churches within a 50 mile radius (sarcasm). As I have always said, religion is a business of making money for the pastor and has nothing to do with saving anyones souls...

"We will know (him or her) by their deeds"

Yes, Rev. Hale is a wonderful person and I wouldn't mind being a part of her church or churches like hers.  Perhaps the females hold themselves to a higher standard knowing the (phony) hostility to them "manning" the pulpit.

Isn't it ironic that the Black Church that stands heads and shoulders above the overwhelming majority, that is arguably a "model" for Black uplift, is the church pastored by Rev. Wright?  So while the wannabe Pastors and the wannebe "prosperity pimp" cult members jumped on the bandwagon decrying Rev. Wright's ACCURATE remarks, little did they know (or did they even care) that they were bashing an exemplary example of the Black church?

Fact is there are churches who "minister" to their flock and go outside of their pews to do good works, whereas there are "ministers" who flock the congregation, or shall I say "fleece?"

Ray of Hope will always be dear to my heart because the congregation understood that the "Good News" was NOT confined to the 4 corners of the sanctuary.  I wouldn't give 2 cents and the time of day to an insular church who only cares about it's "members."  Jesus didn't have "members" and he didn't trust his "Disciples" to stay on point.  And he didn't resemble Mel Gidson for Christ's sakes.  If the so-called Black Church could absorb just these simple facts, and the fact that spewing homophobia dilutes not strengthens the Black Agenda, they'd regain some relevancy.

Btw, the "fruit doesn't fall far from the tree."  I read in the Atlanta Journal Constitution last week that Paulk was one of the Bishop's main mentors.  "Change you can believe in."  lol  Last, Jesus didn't need "mansions" on earth or any edifice at all, and he didn't collect "offerings" to buy a better robe or pair of sandals.  Prosperity has to do with a mindset, a generosity of spirit, and vision of collective good and well being.  Propersity is when you're broke as hell financially but you have family and friends who share their blessings, their financial fruits.  Looks like Long is an excellent orator and at recitating Bible verses, but not so good at applying them.  He forget something about "a camel going through the eye of a needle,.." or "the Ephesians who gave exceedingly" despite their own hardships.

Think of how simple yet profound it would have been had Long donated vans and buses to churches doing community outreach instead of to is "spiritual man-childs?" closet lovers.  But that would be too right, wouldn't it?

Some of yall need to watch something on the tee vee besides "Idol" and "Housewifes."  Go on over to the Travel Channel now and then and you will see that the poorest people on this planet are among the most generous.  The host, Andrew Zimmern wins big points with me because he NEVER fails to point out the generosity of people who struggle every minute, every day, year in and year out, who have little to nothing, but always treats their guest to the first and the best. (Mmmm... sounds like some of that Old Testament mindset regarding sacrificial acts, huh?)

The Latest Twist

AMEN!  There are surely more to be exposed and very soon!



Clicky Web Analytics
blog | by Dr. Radut