First there is that awful hateful message from the office of Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss to blogger Joe Jervis.
Then there is this huge incident which will most likely, in the next few days hit the Georgia African-American community like a nuclear bomb:
Two Georgia men have filed suit claiming that prominent Atlanta pastor Eddie Long coerced them into sex.
The suits, filed Tuesday in DeKalb County, Georgia, allege that Long used his position as a spiritual authority and bishop to coerce young male members and employees of his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into sex.
"Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as Bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship," the suits allege.
Long is considered one of the nation's top black preachers.
The pastor took one plaintiff, Anthony Flagg, 21, on overnight trips to a half-dozen American cities in recent years, Flagg's suit alleges.
"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," the suit says.
Long took the other plaintiff, Maurice Murray Robinson, 20, to Auckland, New Zealand, in October 2008 for his 19th birthday and engaged in oral sex with him, Robinson's suit alleges.
In all fairness, Long's spokesman has denied the charges. But here is why this is significant. Long (above in the picture with former President George Bush) has been extremely verbal about his opposition to gay marriage. According to blogger Rod2.0Beta:
In addition to being one of the nation's most prominent pastors, Long is also among the most vocal critics of gay rights and same-sex marriage in the Black church. In December 2004, one month after voters approved an amendment to the Georgia state Constitution that banned gay marriage, Long led a 25,000 person march against gay rights and marriage equality.
Eddie Long is also the spiritual mentor of the anti-gay Rev. Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and new chair of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization founded by her father more than five decades ago. Julian Bond, the chair of the NAACP and a strong supporter of gay rights, refused to attend the funeral of Coretta Scott King that was held at New Birth MB Church.
And according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Long has also been very vocal in expressing his anti-gay opinions:
"Men can look attractive when they are dirty," writes Bishop Eddie Long in his 1997 book I Don't Want Delilah, I Need You! "We see sweating, dirty, hardworking men on television all the time and we say to one another, 'There's a macho guy.'"
Despite this affinity for sweaty, macho men, Long is one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement. His book, subtitled What a Woman Needs to Know, What a Man Needs to Understand, appeared in the midst of a roaring growth period for Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., near Atlanta. During the mid-'90s, it swelled to over 18,000 congregation members, men and women who worship in a multimillion-dollar complex that's the size of most major universities, spread out on 240 acres of land.
Much of what appears in I Don't Want Delilah was espoused in the videotaped "Back to the Future” sermon Long gave when his church was still small.
"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!"
Again, Long's spokesperson says that the charges are not true. However, one cannot help but be reminded of the George Rekers escort scandal which took place earlier this year.
Discuss amongst yourselves. I am sure you have a lot to say.