FAQ :: Can you tell me about fallen preacher, Eddie DeLong?

Eddie DeLong pastored a 10,000-seat, $50 million sanctuary that sat on 240-acres in Georgia. The property housed a Christian school of more than 200 students, a bookstore, a computer lab and a fully equipped Samson Fitness Center with racquetball and basketball courts and saunas included in his religious campus. He also had Satellite churches in Charlotte and Savannah. He traveled about in his 22-seat Grumman jet that is registered to Long Charter Air. On August 28, 2005 the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that from 1997 to 2000 that Long received more than $3.07 million worth of compensation and benefits from his non-profit charity (Bishop Eddie Long Ministries Inc. (BELMI).

While pastoring New Birth Missionary Baptist Church he has had a $1.4 million 6-bedroom, 9-bath home on 20 acres in Lithonia; use of a $350,000 luxury Bentley automobile and more than $1 million in salary, including $494,000 in 2000.

Long justified his massive monetary compensations by arrogantly saying, “We’re not just a church, we’re an international corporation. We’re not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can’t talk and all we’re doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around this world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation. 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.”

A 2010 New York Times article noted that Long is often seen in a Bentley attended by bodyguards. He favors Gucci sunglasses, gold necklaces, diamond bracelets and Rolex watches.

In September of 2010 several civil complaints were filed against mega-pastor Eddie L. Long by men that stated Mr. Long used his position as the church leader to entice or coerce the men into consensual sexual relationships in exchange for money, travel and goods. At a press event on September 26, 2010 Mr. Long stated he would fight the civil complaints in court and would not comment on the allegations. On December 7, 2010, Long settled the matter out of court.

On August 28, 2005 the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that during the period between 1997 to 2000, Long received more than $3.07 million worth of compensation and benefits from his non-profit charity, Bishop Eddie Long Ministries Inc. He contended that the charity did not solicit donations from members but instead gained its income from royalties, speaking fees and several large donations. In 2007, Senator Chuck Grassley announced an investigation into the tax-exempt status of six ministries under the leadership of Benny Hinn, Paula White, Eddie L. Long, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, and Kenneth Copeland by the United States Senate Committee on Finance.

On September 21 and 22, 2010, Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, and Jamal Parris filed separate lawsuits in DeKalb County Superior Court alleging that Long used his pastoral influence to coerce them into a sexual relationship with him. In June Robinson, was arrested and charged with burglary in connection with a break-in to Long’s office. An iPhone, iPad and other items “more than $1,300 worth” were taken from the office, according to the police report.

On September 24, Spencer LeGrande, a member of a New Birth satellite church in Charlotte, North Carolina, filed a similar suit, making him the fourth man to file a lawsuit claiming sexual misconduct by Long. The plaintiffs state that Long placed the men on the church’s payroll, bought them cars and other gifts, and took them separately on trips to destinations such as Kenya, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands, Trinidad, Honduras, New Zealand, and New York City. The lawsuits stated that Long would “discuss the Holy Scripture to justify and support the sexual activity.” Flagg’s suit claims that Long presided over a “covenant” ceremony between the two of them; Flagg’s attorney said that the ceremony was “essentially a marriage ceremony, with candles, exchange of jewelry, and biblical quotes.”

Long denied the allegations through his attorneys and in a prepared statement said, “I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply.[…]But my faith is strong and the truth will emerge. All I ask for is your patience as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges.”

Roland Martin, a commentator for TV One, was scheduled to interview Long during a segment on the Tom Joyner Morning Show to discuss the two lawsuits. However, the lawsuit filed by Parris on September 22 prompted Long’s legal team to cancel the Martin interview as well as a planned news conference; Long’s attorney spoke to Martin on behalf of his client on Joyner’s show instead.

On September 26, 2010, Long spoke to the New Birth congregation but he did not address the issue directly. Long spoke of painful times and said, “I’ve been accused. I’m under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, I am not a perfect man, but this thing, I’m going to fight.” Long’s unwillingness to address the accusations by name prompted a group of over 70 people, headed by the pastor of a small church in South Carolina, to hold a protest rally on the steps of the Georgia state Capitol on 31 October 2010, calling for Long’s resignation.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; reported on May 27, 2011, that the lawsuits were settled out-of-court; terms were undisclosed.

On 30 May 2011, an episode of the documentary series, “Sex Scandals In Religion” aired on Canadian television, VisionTV. It was an investigative look at the allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by Bishop Long with young men in his care.

Long finally announced on December 4, 2011, that he would take a leave from his mega-church, the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in DeKalb County, Georgia, but would remain its pastor. He made the announcement a few days after Vanessa, his wife of 21 years, filed for divorce.

He was never a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and for good reasons. He had a great deal to hide. This pathetic example of a charlatan preacher should sincerely repent before Almighty God, make amends to those he used and abused, and spend the rest of his life giving his time and money to those in need. Perhaps he could start a janitorial service to clean-up the mess he left behind.

1. Matteucci, Megan; Boone, Christian. “Bishop Eddie Long Radio interview, press conference canceled in wake of 3rd lawsuit.” ajc.com. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 9.23.2010. www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/bishop-eddie-long-radio-619062. html.
2. Gay, Mara. “Preacher Eddie Long Faces Third Sex Abuse Claim.” aolnews.com. 9.22.2010. www.aolnews.com/nation/article/celebrity-preacher-eddie-long-denies-gay-sex-abuse-claims/19643958.
3. Boone, Christian; Craig Schneider, Megan Matteucci and Ernie Suggs. “Bishop Eddie Long.” Atlanta Journal Constitution. 9.24.2010. www.ajc.com/news/ dekalb/bishop-eddie-long-4th-620773.html.
4. Poole, Sheila M.; Craig Schneider. “Bishop Eddie Long: Pastor, attorney speak out about lawsuits. Is it enough?” Atlanta Journal Constitution. 9.23.2010. 5.www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/bishop-eddie-long-pastor-620267.html 6. Haines, Errin. “Atlanta Megachurch Pastor Long Denies Sex Claims.” ABC.com. 9.22.2010. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=11693887.
7. Martin, Roland. “Bishop Eddie L. Long Must Step Down.” creator.com. 9.24.2010. www.creators.com/opinion/roland-martin/bishop-eddie-l-long-must-step-down.html. 8. “Ga. megachurch pastors congregation standing by him despite claims of sexual relationships.” foxnews.com. Associated Press. 9.27.2010. www.fox news.com/us/2010/09/27/ga-megachurch-pastors-congregation-standing-despite-clai ms-sexual-relationships.
9. Jabali-Nash, Naimah. “Bishop Eddie Long Scandal: Rally Calls for Embattled Pastor to Resign.” CBS News Crimesiders. 11.01.2010. www.cbsnews. com/8301-504083_162-20021344-504083.html.
10. Poole, Shelia M.; Boone, Christian. “Eddie Long case officially dismissed.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 5.27.2011. www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/eddie-long-case -officially-958537.html. 11. www.sexscandalsinreligion.
12. Newcomb, Alyssa. “Megachurch Pastor Eddie Long Leaves Church, After Wife Files For Divorce.” ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/ 12/megachurch-pastor-eddie-long-leaves-church-after-wife-files-for-divorcePhoto credit for Marcus Lamb – www.daystar.com/marcus-lamb-photos.