Oct 5, 2010

TALLADEGA, AL -- Even on the quiet, ancient campus of Talladega College in Alabama, news of the salacious accusations about Bishop Eddie Long are the buzz among students here.

None more so than 20 year-old Marcus Culliver, who was one of the Bishop's co-called spiritual sons.

"At Longfellow we all called him our pops," Culliver said. "We all called him Dad because that's what he was to us. He took me to my first NFL game, he put me through my first NFL camp when I was in high school playing football. Anything we needed, if we were going through something and our parents couldn't help us or we couldn't get something, he was there for us to help us out. So to a certain extent, we were all his sons."

Culliver says he went to church and to school with Long's four accusers, as well as the Longfellow Academy at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, but says he saw nothing that would shake his faith in his pastor.

"Pops is a really giving person," Culliver said. "There were times in church where he'd give out cars to people who didn't have a car, big Christmas events, feed the needy, give clothes to people who didn't have clothes, whatever the case may be. His being a giving person is not really news to me because he's helped a lot of people in the community and across the world."

But Culliver echoes the words of Bishop Long himself when he adds that nobody's perfect.

"It's God's son, and you never know when God's working through someone," said Culliver. "So for everybody out there who's saying 'Bishop's doing this, Bishop's doing that and I know he was doing this', you don't know that. It's an assumption. You don't know that. So my advice for everybody out there is to pray for the church and pray for the prophets. Just pray for the whole church."


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