When did the allegations of sexual abuse against Bishop Eddie Long become an issue "primarily" for the courts to handle? As a Clergy Person who is entrusted with preaching interpretation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; I am less concerned about what can be proven as a criminal or civil case and more concerned about how the Bishop's actions have shaken the faith of others through his at best "inappropriate behavior" and at worst "criminal behavior". We must ask ourselves as Christians and to show children we as adults will not take such allegations lightly, the following questions:
Why must the "People" demand more answers from the Bishop?
Why must other Clergy appeal to Bishop Eddie Long to step down, at least until the courts or "he" answer the questions that need to be answered?
Why must the "Community of All Christian People" do more to ensure children are safe at church instead of "releasing ourselves of our supervision responsibilities as adults" just because they are at Church or with Clergy?
1. Why must the "People" demand more answers from the Bishop?
The Bishop saying "I am not a perfect man" is an unacceptable response to these allegations. The Bishop saying "I am not the person that they describe" is an unacceptable response. What should we demand to hear the Bishop say: "I have never had any sexual contact or relations with any of my "Spiritual Sons". Also since the Bishop has made a living on his strong views against homosexual behavior, we must also demand that he simply say, "I have not had any sexual contact or relations with any man, ever". As a MAN, I simply cannot understand why the Bishop would not simply say these things? As a father, I cannot understand why the Bishop would not deny these things? As a professional in Child Welfare for 20 years, I cannot understand why the Bishop would not deny these things? As a survivor of Clergy Sexual Abuse, I cannot understand why the Bishop would not Deny these things? As a Christian...............I need the Bishop to deny these things.
2. Why must other Clergy appeal to Bishop Eddie Long to step down, at least until the courts or "he" answer the questions that need to be answered?
As a Christian I expect Christian Clergy to practice what they preach. I expect them to tell the truth when it is not popular. I expect for them not to be the "Christian Leaders" that saw slavery in this country and did nothing. I don't expect them to be the "Christian Leaders" to find an interpretation in the Bible that somehow justifies "cruel acts or behavior towards others". I don't expect them to be like a "Gang" and mobilize to pray/protect "one of their own" because the person is powerful and influential. I expect them to be true to the practices of Jesus and challenge the "High Priest" to practice what they preach and to be examples of humility and sacrifice. I expect them to be the "Christian Leaders" that first attempt to pray with the hurting "flock" (Spiritual Sons) and not feel the need to make a public display of praying for and with the powerful "high priest" (Bishop Long). Lastly, like it or not all Christian religions derive from Catholicism. Most Christian religions were formed to be an improvement from the "systematic practices" of the Catholic Church. Well, it seems that how Bishop Long and other Christian Leaders are responding, is a "carbon copy" of the hurtful, denying, disregarding, cover-up mentality that we have seen with the Catholic Church. I can't close this point without mentioning the "pink elephant" in the room. It seems as though we are giving Bishop Long a "pass" because this is a Christian "Black Church" issue. As a Christian (Catholic), parent, Child Welfare professional, a survivor of Clergy Sexual Abuse and a Black Man; I couldn't care less if Bishop Long is Black, White, Yellow or Brown. This behavior is a direct threat to our children. It is also a threat to our Christian Faith Community regardless what denomination you are.
3. Why must the "Community of All Christian People" do more to ensure children are safe at Church instead of "releasing ourselves of our supervision responsibilities as adults" just because they are at Church or with Clergy?
We must address this issue of Sexual Abuse in our "Christian Faith Community" boldly and with deliberate resolve to ensure that all children being "raised" in the Christian faith are free from predators no matter if they are Clergy, youth ministers, friends , etc. We must remember: Matthew 18:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven". If we do not fix this "Sickness" that we have allowed to go unchecked in Religion, we will lose children who are currently being raised/taught in our Christian Communities. As adults we can rationalize almost anything, right or wrong. As children, we only remember the hurt and inaction of adults. Sexual Abuse prospers because it is meant to be a "secret" between the abuser and the victim. The "shame" the victim feels helps keep it in the dark. The "inability of adults to pay attention to the signs" of sexual abuse, helps keep it in the dark. Sexual abuse in the Church and in society can be prevented with responsible adults taking a stand to ask the questions that we should ask of "all" adults who seem to be attaching themselves to our children. We must trust adults to better the lives of children through their interactions and interventions with children. We must however, ask questions of adults and always ensure the safety of children first. You don't need to buy presents, take kids on trips or send them pictures of you in order to help them succeed or build their self esteem.
Let's pray for the young men who are hurting because of sharing their perspective on their relationship with Bishop Long. Trust me, this is no way to get fame or money. In my opinion it is insensitive and un-Christian like to be so dismissive of someone's pain. Think of your own children or children you love, then pray for these young men as you would if they were your own. Amen.