Bernice King, Youngest Daughter of Martin and Coretta, Quitting Eddie Long and New Birth

Bernice King, right, with Bishop Eddie Long, center with a symbolic torch, marching against gays and gay rights in Atlanta in 2004; looks like one of Long's smooth stones decided to drop herself (Courtesy: AJC)

One more before I fall back to sleep. This just broke from The Root several hours ago, but apparently, this news was released late this morning, and is slowly gaining traction.  This is very significant.  It was Bernice and her equally controversial cousin Alveda King who headed up the first anti-gay marches in Atlanta alongside Bishop Eddie Long.  I’ve wondered what she was really thinking about this entire state of affairs, and I have a feeling that she saw the proverbial handwriting on the wall early, and bided her time until Long settled the case to vamoose.  Her last day with Long proved to be Sunday, when she gave the altar call at the 11 a.m. service.

Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., is expected to resign her post as an elder minister at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday in the wake of a sexual coercion scandal involving Bishop Eddie Long, according to news reports. Last Friday, it was announced that Long had reached an out-of-court settlement with the four young men who alleged in a civil case that he had manipulated them with gifts, travel and other forms of patronage to coax them into sexual acts.

The news stories have differed on whether the resignation is connected to the settlement.

[...]

In the aftermath of the Memorial Day weekend announcement that the civil suit was settled, attendance for Long’s Sunday sermon at the Lithonia, Ga. church was diminished to a few hundred devotees. No mention of the settlement was made.

[...]

King, 48, is expected to make a formal announcement about her resignation from New Birth Tuesday afternoon on the Atlanta gospel radio station Praise 102.5-FM (with host Rhodell Lewis). Given her reputation as a recluse who reveals very little about her personal life, all ears will be tuned to whatever she has to say.

They sure will be.

The timing of this thing is rather interesting.  One report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution claims that she is leaving with Long’s blessing, that this separation had been mulled for at least two years.

Do you believe that?   This is too much of a co-inky-dink.

I doubt whether that her talk on the gospel radio show is going to be a bid to revive former mentor Long’s reputation with her “insider” view. If so, it would be like rowing a boat up a waterfall, and would make many think that she had gone completely out of her mind.

It would be even better, though, if King, as a now-former member of Long’s inner circle at New Birth, admits to knowing what really happened between the young men and Long, thus providing that window into what was going on for many still seeking answers.  Because Long won’t speak and the four cannot, but she can. If she does speak with authority about what occurred, from her point-of-view, nail meet coffin. New Birth will resemble a drive-in movie theatre in daylight.

At best, King, who is ordained, may be announcing the beginning of a new ministry–with the gay hate to continue. That would be sad, because the hypocrisy, the scapegoating, the maligning, the corruption, the hatred and the downlow from the pulpits has got to stop. And that King will continue in the closet that she is also rumored to inhabit.

For whatever reason, the pull of the great civil rights leader’s daughter also made Long.  Several living and former U.S. presidents came to the sprawling church to attend Coretta’s funeral, where her daughter spoke the sermon over her body, and was televised throughout the country and in parts of the world.  King put New Birth on the map and gave Eddie Long even more legitimacy.  However, many aging members of the civil rights community were distressed and angered that both King and Long seemed to conspire to keep them away from even the old woman’s final days.  Long’s prosperity gospel, his anti-civil rights rhetoric and his cozying up to right-wing Republicans also kept many away from attending the funeral to say their formal goodbyes.  Coretta herself did not approve of Bernice’s embrace of Long, his anti-gay posture or their using the King name in the notorious 2004 marches through Atlanta. The impact of Long’s fall from whatever grace he possessed must have been a message from beyond to Bernice King as well as a rebuff of her previous efforts.  Now she’s leaving him and in doing so, she may be taking the last shreds of Long’s reputation with her.

More exits by Long stalwarts or members of his inner circle are bound to continue as the demoralized membership dwindles and the money dries up.

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~ by blksista on May 31, 2011.

 
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