CNN host Don Lemon stepped up courageously and revealed his experience of being molested as a child during a recent interview with 3 youth from the embattled New Birth MB Church. The interview is gripping and the silence from the young people speaks volumes. I was moved to tears.
Bishop Long has promised to fight these allegations but the truth cannot be overlooked that something is terribly wrong and as Don states, there can and will be "no winners" as a result of this entire situation. As was stated, with all that is at risk, and the fact that men generally don't talk about such things, yet alone lie about them, does not speak in favor of the Bishop or the church. Further, the actual complaints from the complaintants is not only against the Bishop, but also against the church, the LongFellows Academy and certain named personnel, (Andrew Moman and April McLaughlin) who were said to be facilitators of the Bishops reported actions. Three of the suits along with specific language and charges can be found HERE, HERE and HERE. Reminder they are graphic in some parts and date specific in others.
What Of The Victims
With all of the support shown for the Bishop, I began to wonder would anyone support the victims as seriously and diligently? Under any other circumstance, and under any other condition, the church would be the primary and foremost institution calling for truth, righteousness and justice and demanding that the guilty party be dealt with.
From this situation it is clear that COGIC isn't the only church slow to respond with victims advocacy for clergy sexual misconduct. This seems to be a problem facing the black church in general. In addition, it is clear that there is a conflict over how a church should conduct itself even when the most popular individuals in it are under suspicion of certain public failure. Should the church praise and support it's most popular to the shame and embarrassment of the victim? Or should the church demand that the process proceed swiftly and quickly before the Lord and the council of the church? What should the leader do in the meantime? Fight or step aside?
For certain, the victims need to be healed and the courts cannot do that. The victims here include Eddie Long, but certainly include his wonderful wife, family and the individuals bringing forth the suit. There is deep seeded pain and trouble as a result of these allegations and what the people do in response to them. As I have stated, I hope will ALL that is within me that Bishop is not guilty of any of these dastardly charges, however, even if he is innocent, there are some things torn up that only God can rebuild and there are some commitments that not only New Birth must make, but that the church must make which includes addressing all the issues that have arisen as a result of this tragedy.