BREAKING: Bishop Eddie Long Taking a Sabbatical; Church Insists That He Is Not Stepping Down
This was announced about
twenty minutes half an hour ago. Via CNN:
“I’m going to take a little time off to work with my family,” Long said Sunday to a packed house at the televised service.
“I do want you to know that this is, for me and my family, especially with me, one of the most difficult times and things I’ve had to face, and only because my strength, other than God, is in Miss Vanessa,” he said to huge applause.
“And I want you to rest assured that I love her and she loves me. … In all the things that I’ve ever had to deal with and being pastor, my rock has been to be able to come home to a virtuous woman who always had peace in my house,” he said.
“We’re going (to) work it out,” he said.
He insisted that the two of them are not fighting, and that they are not mad at each other.
Long said the situation is “not because of allegations” of sexual relationships last year and instead blamed the pressures of being a pastor’s wife.
“It’s been very difficult to her, some of the things that she’s had to endure,” he said.
The church issued a statement emphasizing that Long is not stepping down, and “will continue to be the senior pastor of New Birth.”
Umph. He also says that he’s been taken advantage of in the video. A better man wouldn’t say anything or hint about who has done what to whom, and making himself out to be the victim. Sex predators as a rule always say that it was not their fault, and that they have done nothing wrong.
And then his kids were grouped beside him, too? Yuck. Bad. That’s not right. Not right. They should have not been used in that manner, no matter what their feelings for him.
One longtime New Birth observer said the bishop had little choice.
“It’s pretty clear from the payouts in the case, declining membership and divorce proceedings that something is wrong,” said Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania. “Clearly it has shaken things up.”
Congregants interviewed after Sunday’s 11 a.m. service said they remain supportive of Long.
“What he does in his personal time, he does,” said Adrian Jackson, a New Birth member for 21 years. “As long as he’s in there preaching, that’s what matters to me.”
Kevin Reddick, a church member since 1994, said Long is simply following the Bible’s instructions.
“I think it’s wise to take time off because Scripture tells us that ministry starts at the home,” Reddick told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
But at least one protester picketing outside New Birth Sunday morning said Long should have gone further.
“We don’t want him to take a few weeks off … we want a permanent absence,” said demonstrator Isaac Richmond. “Bishop Long has a serious moral character flaw.”
No doubt, there is more to come in the next few hours and immediate days. But I am with Isaac Richmond. And I am still with the young men–the four and the perhaps untold others–that Long damaged.
The long death of the ministry of Bishop Eddie Long continues.