Who do these preachers answer to?
Who holds the feet of these cassock-wearing men and women to the fire?
When they are elevated to some sort of God-like status, the ministers more often than not feel that they are above reproach and any sense of recourse.
This arrogance of power by some church leaders, which is contrary to what the Bible says about humility, is driving many people away from the church.
That is why today more and more young people are becoming skeptical of the church and its leaders, particularly since the exposure of the pedophiles.
If the world’s most recognizable and authoritative church leader, Pope Benedict, has to wait so long before expressing a strong remorse about the painful sex abuse of children in the Roman Catholic Church, what do we expect from some of our local minsters?
Apparently, the church as an institution enjoys a level of clout and confidence no other kind of institution in the world has. It has succeeded in capturing the hearts and minds of many even if some of the leaders engage in deceptive practices.
Members can easily forgive and move on. But I wonder how you could ask the victims of sex abuse or their parents to move on without significant recompense?
Since the Bishop Long sex scandal came to light, I’ve maintained that he has the right to the assumption of innocence unless proven guilty.
Yet Long bragged all week about his plans to send a message that he was not guilty of the allegations against him. But on Sunday from his pulpit, Long neither denied nor accepted responsibility of the sex charges. Instead, he threw his congregation members red meat by comparing himself to David in the Bible facing Goliath. He cried out that he is under attack and his members stood up in unison to affirm support for their pastor.
The irony of the David analogy is that Long, who now feels under siege by four powerless young men wanting to tell their story to the nation, once told the press after reports came out that he was using his church charity to make millions, that he talks with Tony Blair, former British prime minister and the White House.
That was Long’s way of showing the media how connected he was inside the corridors of power. His answer to questions about the use of a non-profit to make millions for himself instead of helping the needy and spread the gospel, was to tell the media that he is one of those preachers who can place a call to the White House or reach out to a former British prime minister.
His spiderweb of connections to power shows how many in Long’s position often feel that they can get away with anything without consequence. They forget the Biblical admonition that we reap what we sow.
Those who feel wronged by the powerful always walk away without gain. They are often branded as opportunists set out to destroy “good people” even when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Gay and lesbian issues are here to stay whether we like it or not. The Black church should be ready to deal with it now rather than face it later in the form of explosive scandals. The Bible says, “Judge not lest you be judged” and “There is one Lawgiver who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to condemn another?”
While Bishop Eddie Long is appealing to his congregation to maintain their support, we can only hope that no other similar scandal hits the church before the Long trial, if the case proceeds.
Victims of sexual abuse in church should continue to step forward and speak out. Sweeping the truth under the rug may appear to help some people for the moment, but in the long run it is detrimental to all parties involved — and to the church itself.
I am afraid the church is in danger of becoming expendable.
Senior editor Bankole Thompson is the author of the upcoming book “Obama and Black Loyalty,” volume one of a trilogy on President Obama to be launched Oct. 22, 10 a.m., during a national symposium in the Wayne State University Law School
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