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NN is reporting that two men in Georgia are suing Bishop Eddie Long in Atlanta, alleging that the powerful pastor used his influence to force them in to having sex. Filed in DeKalb County, the suit claims that Long used his position of authority at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church to persuade the two young male employees in to various forms of misconduct.

One of the plaintiffs, Anthony Flagg, is a 21-year-old man who alleges that some of the misconduct occurred during overnight trips to various cities:

“Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg, including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact,” according to the lawsuit.

Long’s spokesman, Art Franklin, stated that “we categorically deny the allegations. It is very unfortunate that someone has taken this course of action. Our law firm will be able to respond once attorneys have had an opportunity to review the lawsuit.”

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified amounts in financial damages and accuses Long on multiple counts, including negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and so on.

Well, it seems that while the summer in Atlanta was hot, the fall is going to be even hotter. I’ve never met Bishop Eddie Long, but I’ve always known of his vast presence in the city of Atlanta and throughout the world. He is second-to-none when it comes to mega pastors-and is certainly a historical figure.

At the same time, one has to be quite curious to determine if there is any merit to this lawsuit. I would imagine that if this form of behavior were going on in the past, there’d be rumors circulating throughout the black church community. I am not aware of such rumors, but once again, I don’t run in the circle of black clergy.

The irony of this lawsuit is that it re-opens the ugly door about homosexuality within the black church. While African Americans lead the nation in homophobia, there are legions of black gay men throughout the black community, many of whom feel that they have to hide who they truly are.

I feel sorry for these men, and hope that perhaps one day, we can find it in our hearts to accept them. This might go double for Bishop Eddie Long, who led a march against gay marriage not too long ago. Should it be the case that Long actually is gay, one can only wonder just how much self-hatred a person needs to have to fight against the very thing he represents.

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