Bishop Eddie Long of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia preaches that Bayard Rustin was a vile sinner who suffered from the curable "disease" of homosexuality. I have a rule of thumb for such clerics and have never known it to fail: Set your watch and sit back, and pretty soon they will be found sprawling lustily on the floor of the men's room. It may be a bit early to claim the scalp of Eddie Long for this collection, but I doubt I shall have to withdraw. ....
One of his alleged partners in depravity may have been on the borderline of the age of consent, but otherwise I can't make myself care about whether the self-anointed Bish was rogering his flock. What concerns me isn't even the laughable obviousness of his cupidity: the jewels and gold chains and limos and bodyguards. This is all a familiar part of the tawdry business of "Churchianity" now finding loopholes for the rich and venal at a well-upholstered religious establishment somewhere near you. No, what offends me is that Long was able to get four presidents of the United States to attend his opulent circus for the funeral of Coretta Scott King in 2006. What a steep and awful decline from the mule cart that carried her husband's coffin in 1968. ....
What I should like to know is this: How much of that funding and expenditure has been tax-deductible or written off as "charitable"? In a time of widespread discussion of the spread of the tax burden, why is it never proposed that the vast sums raised by the churches be subject to the scrutiny of the IRS? And still another question: In 2006, Long's church received about $1 million of U.S. taxpayers' money from the "faith-based initiative" of the George W. Bush administration. It was suggested at the time that this might be a quid pro quo for the Bish's militant stand against gay marriage and other homosexual abominations. If so, it would make my follow-up question even more amusing: How did Long and his young friends, "bonded" as they were in strong male "covenants," actually spend our cash?
...The day can't be far off when Long follows the traditional script and starts to yowl for prayer and repentance. And this would all be the greatest fun if it didn't also involve the degradation of the King family and the steady erosion of the real memory of the civil rights movement, which is not safe when left in the keeping of God's bigmouths and tree-shakers.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Hitch on Long
Christopher Hitchens, who is dying of esophogeal cancer, takes on "Bishop" Eddie Long, the virulently homophobic Georgia evangelical who has been accused of sexual congress with several young men of his "parish", in Slate: