By Elizabeth Tenety
Bishop Eddie Long denied allegations that he coerced three of his male congregants into sexual relationships after lawsuits were filed against him claiming “sexual impropriety.”
The AP reported that the Georgia megachurch pastor “abused his spiritual authority to seduce [young men] with cars, money, clothes, jewelry, international trips and access to celebrities,” a claim, if true, that would make Long not only an abuser, but a hypocrite. From the report:
Long has called for a national ban on same-sex marriage and his church counsels gay members to become straight. In 2004, he led a march with Bernice King to her father’s Atlanta grave to support a national constitutional amendment to protect marriage “between one man and one woman.”
Long is far from the first religious leader to face allegations of sexual impropriety in recent years.
Ted Haggard was a Colorado megachurch leader and president of the National Evangelical Association when it was revealed that he was involved in a gay affair. In fact, the now ‘completely heterosexual‘ Haggard weighed in on the allegations against Long, saying, “Nobody’s guilty until the court says he’s guilty.”
The Catholic church has been plagued by an international sex abuse scandal for nearly a decade.
Several ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Brooklyn have been arrested or sued for abusing boys in the past few years.
Is there a relationship between piety and impropriety? Or do we simply pay more attention to the hypocrisy of religious leaders when they fall?