Black Leaders Quiet About Bishop Eddie Long Scandal

Trying to get various black public figures to speak out for or against Bishop Eddie Long has been harder than getting 4-year-olds to go to the dentist. No one is talking, but everyone is paying attention. They are all watching CNN and seeing that Long is on after every other commercial break. They are reading the newspapers, where Long's face is plastered in every section other than Sports and Classifieds. They are seeing the websites that produce one Eddie Long article after another. The man is omnipresent.

Black leaders are also noticing the spandex outfit Long sported in those racy bathroom pictures. They remember the odd-looking wig Long wore, when appearing before the church this past Sunday. Most significantly, they've noticed the long line of young men, in different states, who don't seem to know one another, who are saying that Eddie Long had sex with them.

Roland Martin, a man who is far more diplomatic than myself, simply said that Bishop Eddie Long needs to step down. I agree with Roland, who understands the importance of protecting the church from all the craziness occurring around it. Others I've spoken with have mentioned rumors of various megapastors and their "extracurricular activities." Most of the people I've spoken with know what I've thought all along:

There are preachers who preach against homosexuality and still practice it.

If Long happens to be at least partially gay, he will be condemned for his sexual orientation more than his sexual appetite. Had he been the kind of "wink nod" pastor who eyeballs the 24-year-old woman in the front row, the church might have been able to forgive him.

He could have washed his earthly sins away with prayer and been accepted right back in to the fold. On the surface, forgiveness from the congregation would mean that people actually believe that the sexual deviance has been removed by God, but the truth is that it would simply be a reminder for him to keep his dirty business under wraps.

Men have wanted sex since the beginning of time, and so have women. People have written books about church scandals, some of which are simply unbelievable. I recall hearing a pastor's son tell me about how he often had sex on his father's desk with a bible under his leg.

I remember hearing about a preacher's wife who slept with more men than she could count, with one of them getting her pregnant. This doesn't count the numerous baby's mamas created by married pastors throughout the decades. The scandals don't stop and sometimes seem to get worse when you are close to the altar.

The Bishop Eddie Long scandal is different from the typical church scandal for at least two reasons: Long is accused of being gay, and there might be serious criminal charges forthcoming. One major public figure told me privately that his greatest concern about Bishop Long is that if it is determined that he was using church funds to wine and dine his way to fornication, he might be headed to prison.

The U.S. Government doesn't take kindly to people using 501-C3 grant money to obtain more sex. In spite of the embarrassment and financial strain presented by the allegations against Bishop Long, he is probably worried about the legal issues more than anything else.

All in all, I don't expect to see any major black public figure take a public stand against Eddie Long. Even his own attorneys have remained silent, in spite of the fact that they are being consistently gangster-slapped by the accuser's attorney, B.J. Bernstein. Most black public figures are smart enough to know a burning building when they see one, and the reign of power for Bishop Eddie Long may soon be coming to a close.

Gene Blythe