“He built an intimate bond with many members of his church by talking about his private failings: his divorce from his first wife; being rejected by his father; and being fired from a job in corporate America,” writes CNN’s John Blake.
In 2004, Long created a ministry to ‘deliver’ men from homosexuality and one can only wonder if the creation of a ministry of this type was really a cry from within to be delivered from the same inclinations, since now he faces allegations of taking sexual advantage of four teenage boys.
Many of Long’s critics say that since he helped to perpetuate homophobia, that the case could devastate his career, family, and challenge the anti-homosexual stance of many Black church members.
Homophobia in the broader Black community — which some say is fueled by the Black church, as well as by prevailing views on masculinity and family — has in the past spilled into violence. In 2007 and 2008, Chicago (and countless other cities) saw a number of shootings and even killings aimed at gay black men, including a choir director who was shot shortly after coming out in a TV interview.
Often I hear African Americans claim that Gay Rights are not Civil Rights because of the horrific abuse that Blacks have suffered through the years, and that nothing will ever compare to these horrible historical crimes. But when I read the hundreds, if not thousands of stories about people in the LGBT community who have been abused (in like manner), murdered, and discriminated against on every level, it sickens me to see how blind and unsympathetic we are as a race, especially after surviving these same horrific atrocities.
The Church will continue to experience these kinds of occurrences until we open our minds and hearts and engage in an intelligent, unbiased conversation about same-gender-loving people. We are quick to want to burn people at the stake when they come out of the closet, and blame them for the spread of HIV/AIDS, but the reality is that we can’t have it both ways! We can’t insist that they disclose their preference and then deny them equal rights and equal opportunity when they do! If the allegations against Bishop Long are found to be true and factual that will be totally devastating but what is perhaps even more devastating is all the deacons, deacon’s wives, choir members, pastors, Bishops, priests, televangelists, teachers, prophets, etc. who are waiting in the wings, destined to be the next national or international scandal simply because we refuse to allow people to be who they are and respect them even if we don’t like it!
I’ve said this once and I will say it again because obviously the multitudes still are not listening; there are millions of gay people in the African-American community and no matter how many revivals, prayer meetings, seminars, convocations and conventions we have, it will not change that fact. If we truly want to reach them with the message of God’s love then we have to stop trying to make them over ourselves and simply introduce them to the Savior, and leave the rest to Him.
Yes, my brothers and sisters, this entire scandal is indeed earth-shattering and deeply disturbing! My prayer is that whatever the truth may be, that it will be revealed! God wants us to walk in truth, for when we do we are happier and He is truly glorified; but if we do not walk in truth, then we deceive ourselves as well as others! I am often criticized because I am a openly gay man who loves the Lord, but I never have to fear scandal or have to hide in a closet (this is not to imply that Bishop Long is) because I am walking in truth! Perhaps the Father is speaking to all of humanity (in this enlightened age) through situations like these, admonishing us to always “WALK IN TRUTH!”
Terry Angel Mason, Global Author
Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent