Pastor Scandal Should Shake Homophobic Black Church

Eddie Long represents a too-large portion of the black community
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2010 10:37 AM CDT
Pastor Scandal Should Shake Homophobic Black Church
Bishop Eddie Long, of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, in Lithonia, Ga. gestures during an interview, in this Jan. 18 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Gene Blythe, File)

Bishop Eddie Long’s sex scandal has predictably generated a media firestorm. After all, Long “is one of the most outspoken homophobes in the black church,” writes Joshua Alston in Newsweek. But Alston hopes the community takes the time to skip past the tawdry details of Long’s alleged homosexual dalliances and focus on the bigger issue: “Why is the black church so hostile to gay men and women? Will we ever be accepted as we are?”

Yes, Alston is a black, gay Atlanta resident, which is fairly common—Atlanta is 55% black, and has been named "Gayest City in America" by the Advocate. Yet in many black churches, gay congregants are forced “to shout in agreement as they are being flagellated from the pulpit. Why should they have to live this way?” That’s what we should be asking, not who allegedly fondled who when. (Though if you’re curious, this AP story has more details). “It’s not the man that deserves all the scrutiny. It’s his message.” (Read more Bishop Eddie Long stories.)

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