Bishop Eddie L. Long, viewed by many as one of the most influential faith leaders in the world and others as one of the most controversial, was laid to rest Wednesday.

Long’s funeral began with his family closing his casket, which was draped in a purple and gold cloth. The casket was ushered out so the sanctuary could focus on the celebration and not his death.

There was praise singing, and many tears shed.

“Well I’m going to tell you what Eddie Long would have said right now if he were standing here, ‘Why do you weep I am free and free forever time,’” Former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes said.

Barnes was one of about 30 speakers.  He wanted people to focus on long’s life.

“He became my confidant, my friend, and my pick me up,” Barnes said. “When times get rough I’d call Eddie Long and he always made me feel better.”

Dekalb County CEO Michael Thurmond also addressed the congregation thanking Long for being a friend to politicians.

“On behalf of all the elected officials like myself who come to new birth on more than one occasion begging for votes and begging for money I want all the politicians to stand up and thank God for this man,” Thurmond said.

Family, friends, congregants gather to remember Eddie Long  was originally published on

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