In SMDH news, Creflo Dollar (that name, that name) gave a rousing hour-long sermon this past Sunday, in which he stated his support for Bishop Eddie Long in light of the fact that he settled his sexual abuse case for an unreported sum rumored to be in the millions. Dollar also informed any members of New Birth Baptist Church that he doesn’t want them there and that they should return to Long’s side immediately. He claims that Long simply had a “wreck”, but that he will be forgiven and will still go to Heaven”.
From Dollar’s sermon: “When you have a wreck you expect for God to forgive you and everyone else. Don’t let the preacher have a wreck, now. Then you become self righteous and you become judgmental and you’re gonna leave the preacher for his wreck when you done had more wrecks. That preacher’s still anointed to do what he was called to do. He just had a wreck. The blood will take care of his issue just like it will take care of yours.”
If you listened to this speech without context, you’d assume that Long had perhaps cheated on his wife or on his tax return. Or, maybe he had been out drinking and caught a DUI charge. He could have been discovered to be a marijuana smoker or a gambler. This isn’t the defense we’d expect to hear of a man who is accused of using his position to lure fatherless young men into his inner circle and then manipulating the word of Christ to get them to acquiesce to sexual acts AND THEN paying off these men, as opposed to defending his own reputation and the reputation of the church in a trial. While many innocent wealthy people may choose to settle a case to save themselves the time and trouble of going to court, this is one of those instances where one really should have stood up to make his ‘innocence’ known.
Or, perhaps not. So long as Long has defenders like Dollar in his corner, it’s unlikely that people will turn their backs on him and even less likely that the thousands of New Birth congregation will demand that he leave the head of the church. Let Dollar tell it, it seems there is a culture of treating one’s spiritual leader with a God-like reverence and not demanding the same accountability or repentance that one would ask from a neighbor or friend. And so those young men who suffered greatly, and likely still suffer today, as a result of Long’s abuse, are here less important than a charismatic and influential preacher and his powerful friends. While the money (alleged to be to the tune of $25 million dollars) may bring some comfort, and hopefully will pay for some therapy, these boys are still without justice. Shame on Eddie Long and shame, shame, shame on Creflo Dollar for daring to suggest that immediate forgiveness is the only reaction to such a devastating crime.