Nov 1, 2010

Bishop Eddie Long Scandal  Pictures
Question: Does 75 people qualify as a rally? Or, is that just a 'Get Together' or a gathering?  I really want to know.
Via AJC:

A South Carolina minister Sunday demanded that Bishop Eddie Long step down as senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in the wake of allegations that he coerced four young men into sexual relationships.

At a rally on the Georgia Capitol steps on Washington Street, Bishop H. "Prophet" Walker  from the True Light Pentecost Church in Spartanburg, S.C., said Long "had no right to continue as a leader of the Christian church."

While Walker conceded he had no authority in dealing with Long, he wanted New Birth members to urge Long to give up his post.  "They have to understand that this is their church, not Bishop Long's," Walker said.

About 75 people attended the rally, though most appeared to be members of  Walker's church and there were several children. The women wore white robes and had their hair covered by lace scarves and the men wore black. Walker was dressed in a beige suit and sported a long gray beard.

Reuben Armstrong, a Dallas radio and TV talk show host and author, said Long should step down, at least until the cases are resolved. He also criticized Long for preaching a prosperity message.

"It's a shame that the church is becoming a corporate entity with the pastor acting as CEO, but the people are the shareholders," Armstrong said.

Among those in attendance were members of a South Carolina Tea Party group.

"We believe that Christians need to stand up for wrong," said Michael Brady of the Boiling Springs Tea Party. He said the allegations are a "crime against the community, and a crime against humanity, and Christians have to stand up against that."

Long has been sued by four men: Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrande, Maurice Robinson and Jamal Parris, They allege that Long coerced them into sexual relations using his influence, lavish trips, gifts and jobs.

Long, who continues to lead weekly services, has denied the allegations in a statement issued by his spokesman.

Long, who became New Birth pastor in 1987,  has been an outspoken critic of homosexuality and in 2004 led a march against gay marriage.

Art Franklin, a spokesman for Long,  had no comment Sunday in regards to the rally.

Minister Adisa Franklin, National Association for Religious Accountability founder, asked why there were no other Atlanta pastors at the rally. "There's got to be someone to take accountability," he said.

Will Haymon, a Stone Mountain insurance agent, attended New Birth for five years. He left the church in January, but  said it had nothing to do with the recent scandal. "It was time for us to move on," said Haymon. "My wife felt like we were not growing."

Haymon stopped by the rally to hear what speakers had to say. He has been listening to all sides but has not made up his mind about Long's innocence or guilt. He is willing to let the matter work its way through the courts. "I think there really should be concrete evidence," Haymon said.

Kianna Sams, who watched the rally, previously visited New Birth several times and was there when Long first addressed the congregation after the allegations. She wants Long to step down because "this is hurting New Birth's image now."

Meanwhile, Walker said he would hold similar anti-Long gatherings in other cities over the next couple of months.

"'We're not going to stop," he said.


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