American enthusiast, exhorting, backwoods-bucolic, anti-intellectualist, prosperity-perpetrating, Anabaptist Eddy Long steps down.
Eddie Long Steps Down for Now: Wife Files for Divorce - Is Prosperity Religion of God?Bishop Eddie Long is embroiled in controversy again -- this time it's because his wife, Vanessa Long, is seeking divorce after 21 years of marriage. The senior pastor of the Atlanta-area's New Birth Missionary Church is taking a sabbatical as a result, though he has pledged to return to the church after he deals with "family" issues undoubtedly related to the divorce filing by his wife.
1) Long is being sued nine members of his church who allege that he coerced them into investing in a ponzi scheme that took at least $1 million of their savings. The allegations are that Long invited Ephren Taylor Jr., a "child-prodigy entrepreneur" who represented City Capital Corp. to the New Birth Missionary Church in 2009 for a week-long seminar. Taylor allegedly urged church members to invest in "socially conscious investments" that would provide "guaranteed income" in return, according to the lawsuit filed in DeKalb County State Court. Taylor, however, was apparently not licensed to sell investments, and City Capital was also apparently insolvent. Long should have known, according to the lawsuit.
2) He's a snake-oil salesman. In 1995, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Long established a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity said to help the needy and spread the gospel. But the charity provided Long at least $3.05 million in salary, benefits and the use of property from 1997 to 2000, according to the newspaper -- almost double what the nonprofit gave to all other recipients, or those it was designed to help. Included in Long's benefits: use of a $350,000 luxury Bentley automobile.
3) Long is a horrible hypocrite. Long is infamous for denouncing homosexual behavior. He has even established and led "homosexual cure" programs aimed at "reorientation." In a 2007 article in the Southern Poverty Law Center's magazine, Long was called "one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement." Yet Bishop Eddie Long is also allegedly homosexual, as he has been accused in lawsuits of coercing male church members into having sex with him.
4) Long allegedly prays upon young boys for sex. In Georgia, the age of consent for sex is 16. Morally, however, the age of consent among most people is 18. And in September 2010, Long was accused in separate lawsuits of sexual misconduct with plaintiffs uder the age of 18 -- all young men. The lawsuits were later settled out of court.
5) He has an alleged history of violence. Long married Dabara Houston in 1981, and the couple had a child. But when Houston filed for divorce after a short marriage, she accused him according to divorce records of "cruel treatment" and said he had a "violent and vicious temper."
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