Bishop Eddie Long is the senior clergyman at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Georgia (approximately 25 000 members) and a successful proponent of the Prosperity Gospel. Unsurprisingly he has joined a very long list of ministers and televangelists by (September 2010) facing accusations of coercing young men into sexual activity. Long has responded by vowing to fight his accusers, describing his problem as “spiritual warfare” and comparing himself to David in David vs. Goliath (“I'm not a perfect man but this thing I'm going to fight. I feel like David against Goliath but I've got five rocks and I haven't thrown one of them yet”). “Gospel Today” has taken up the fight (Long is on the board of directors, but the publisher denies that Long has influenced their presentation).
Diagnosis: Bigotry, charlatanery and pure evil alone do not grant you an entry in the encyclopedia, but being a proponent of the prosperity gospel does, at least insofar as you actually believe what you preach (I have no evidence that Long does not). And Long’s responses to the allegations made against him are utterly bizarre. Hopefully this episode will undermine his status among his relatively significant number of fans.