Update: The website Black Spin reported on Friday afternoon that the bishop at the center of allegations of a gay sex scandal plans to step down as the pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church after he delivers his sermon on Sunday. According to the same story, as many as 30 young men may now be considering suing Bishop Eddie Long.
The Georgia bishop at the center of a slew of underage gay sex allegations told his congregation that gays “deserve death” during sermons in the 1990s.
Audio of a sermon by Bishop Eddie Long exhorting the death penalty for gays was broadcast by The Michelangelo Signorile Show on Friday, the same day that a fourth person came forward with allegations of sex abuse against the bishop.
In the audio clip, Bishop Long can be heard saying of homosexuality, “God said, everybody in here that knows what’s right but ain’t practicing — every woman that knows what to do but still wants to act like a ‘woman of the 90s’ that the world has described — God says unto every man that knows what God is saying to do, and you’re still acting like the boys on the corner, God says you deserve death!”
According to the Signorile Show, the sermon took place in the mid-1990s, at Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia. Long had published a book entitled I Don’t Want Delilah, I Need You!, which preaches traditional gender roles.
In a 2007 report, the Southern Poverty Law Center described Long as “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement.” The report quotes a Long sermon in which he targets lesbian behavior.
“It is the most unattractive thing I have ever seen, when I see women wearing uniforms that men would wear, and women fighting to get in the military!” Long shouted to his congregation then. “The woman gets perverted to turn towards woman … and everybody knows it’s dangerous to enter an exit! And everybody knows, lady, if you go to the store and buy these devices [marital aids], it’s Memorex! It ain’t real!”
The audience, seated in a congested sanctuary, erupts in laughter. But what Long says next is no joke.
“God says you deserve death!”
Three men filed lawsuits against Long and his church this week, alleging that the bishop coerced them into sexual activity. On Friday, a fourth made similar allegations against Long, suing Long’s satellite church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Attorney B.J. Bernstein says she is filing a lawsuit Friday on behalf of a member of New Birth Charlotte. New Birth Charlotte is a satellite church run by Long in Charlotte, N.C. The man met Long in May 2005.
The lawsuit says the bishop took the teenager to Kenya in July 2005 when he was 17 and engaged in sexual activities with him. It said that Long later encouraged him to move to Atlanta, where the activity continued until early 2009.
All four of the men suing Long were 17 or 18 years old at the time of the alleged incidents.
Long held a conference call with reporters Friday, before the new allegations were made public. According to CBS affiliate WGCL, the bishop didn’t deny the allegations against him.
“I have never dealt with anything like this before. I have been under attack before, but everything else has been different levels and different challenges,” Long said. “Know that I am also praying for the families and the young men who are accusing. I always operate in the spirit of love, and we are going to move through this,” he said.
This audio is from Sirius XM Radio’s The Michelangelo Signorile Show, broadcast Sept. 24, 2010.