|Bishop Eddie Long Scandal Sermon: This Thing, I'M Gonna Fight.
September 26, 2010
A spirited Eddie Long, pastor of the Atlanta-area New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, today addressed the scandal that has resulted from allegations that he coerced four young men into sex.
Long gave a 15-minute sermon on the theme "how to handle painful and difficult situations" during the 8 a.m. service at the packed church, which seats about 8,000. He said he would fight the allegations against him.
The sermon was broadcast via several live streams, including those on Atlanta NBC affiliate 11Alive.com and BET.com.
"I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man," the married father of four said as he stood before the congregation about 9 a.m. "But I am not the man that's being portrayed on the television."
Long has in the past spoken vociferously against gay rights and gay marriage initiatives. Four men filed lawsuits against him and the church this past week, accusing him of using his authority as the church's leader to seduce them into sexual relationships. Two of the men claimed Long had groomed them through the LongFellows Academy, a church-based mentorship program.
During his short sermon, Long went on to say that he expected the charges against him to be "dealt with in the court of justice." He also likened himself to the Biblical hero David in David's grueling, but ultimately successful battle against the giant Goliath.
"I've been accused. I'm under attack," he said
"I'm not a perfect man. But this thing, I'm gonna fight."
When he first addressed the congregation, Long denied rumors that he would step down from the head of the church he had led from the time it had just 300 members. He said he would "be here next week."
After Long left the dais, the church's choir sang a full-throated version of the song "Our God Is an Awesome God."
He is expected to again address the church at its 11 a.m. service. He will also answer media questions at a news conference.
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