news hit the airwaves that Bishop Eddie Long died from an unnamed
aggressive cancer resulting in dramatic weight lost, many now
throughout the Black Church community wonder if his death was due to
HIVAIDS, and he was too embarrassed to admit it or seek medical care
until it was too late.
he had it (HIV/AIDS) where in all of Georgia or the South for that
matter could the Bishop had gone for treatment and the news not get
out?” Tiffany Jones of Decatur, Georgia told me over the phone.
Long’s parishioners watched, worried and asked about his weight
lost Long, however, reassuringly attributed the slimming down to a
diet of healthy raw vegetables.
said to my congregation that I’m going to live to be 100 years
old, maybe add a few more years. But you know what, I wasn’t
going to get there by stopping by Popeyes,” he stated in an
online video posted for his church. “That was my weakness. The
biscuits with honey and chicken wings, spicy, and all of that. Many
of us are still eating from a slave menu, you need to check that
Media," based in Atlanta, however, reported in September 2016
that Long “hasn’t preached in months and he’s been
told by doctors that he ‘only has months to live’ due to
him having HIV/AIDS.”
by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “one of the most
virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay
movement,” Long’s private life sent seismic shock waves
across the Black Church community when news broke out about Long’s
alleged sexcapdes with four male teenagers while they were enrolled
in his ministry for teen boys.
four young men, all now in their mid-20’s, have been asked
their thoughts on the passing of Long.
much as we’d like to make a statement about the passing of
Bishop Eddie Long, we’ve all decided to remain silent, for
now,” the men stated in a joint response given exclusively to
The Atlantic Journal Constitution.
their concluding statement said, “Our perspectives will be
addressed in our book, “Forsaken" which we hope to release
was a flamboyant man, and liked to flaunt his gifts. As one of the
Black Church’s prominent pastors of "prosperity gospel,"
his bling-bling theology unabashedly flashed not only his Gucci
sunglasses, gold necklaces, and Rolex watches, but also in an
unapologetic way, flashed his muscular physique in the latest too
tight-fitting spandex workout togs.
had been rumored, for some time, to be gay. And for those inside of
Long’s stained-glass closet at New Birth Missionary Baptist
Church, they, too, knew of the bishop’s penchant for pubescent
boys, whom he called “spiritual sons.”
however, Long, like too many African American ministers on the "down
low," had erected his bully pulpit denouncing LGBTQs while using
his clerical authority to court and to covet them.
infamous anti-marriage equality march in December 2004 titled “Stop
the Silence,” with MLK’s daughter, the Rev. Bernice King
in tow, Long stated, "In essence, God made Eve to help Adam
replenish the earth. Woman has the canal...everything else is an
exit. ...Cloning, homosexuality, and lesbianism are spiritual
abortions. Homosexuality is a manifestation of the fallen man.”
King speculating about her father’s viewpoint on marriage
equality stated at the march that “I know in my sanctified soul
that he (MLK) did not take a bullet for same-sex marriage.”
was not alone — to be gay or rumored to be gay — in
denouncing homosexuality. The mess Long found himself in is
emblematic of the Black Church’s down low "politic of
silence" concerning sexuality and HIV/AIDS – both in plain
sight silently killing my community.
African-American men on the DL say there are two salient features
that contribute to this subculture -- white gay culture and the Black
The Black Church’s conservative gender roles,
outdated gender identities, and anti-gay theology create a hidden
homosocial community of DL male clerics who find camaraderie at black
pastors or at all-male conferences where Long took his spiritual
Long did not created the homophobic climate in the Black
Church, but he had certainly contributed to it.
membership of over 25,000, Long’s church is the largest African
American megachurch in the Southeast. And as the largest it could had
begun, with his sex scandal, to effect change by embracing a
liberating, healthy, and holistic understanding of human
And in so doing, Long would had created a model of
pastoral care not only for heterosexuals or homosexuals, but most
importantly, for himself.