You'd have to be dead or unconscious to not have heard about the church scandal seen around the world. Bishop "Dead Wrong" Eddie Long — the man who built the mega New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, which spawned another branch here in Charlotte — is under fire for charges that he allegedly coerced teen boys, who are now men, into sexual liaisons on numerous occasions.
Before you get your panties in a bunch, I have been calling Long "Dead Wrong" since it was reported that he operated an illegitimate satellite campus of North Carolina Central University in Atlanta in 2004. Long is an alumnus and board member of the university and announced a $1 million gift to the school in 2008.
Somehow Long managed to build this satellite campus, which was operated through New Birth, without the University of North Carolina system's approval. The campus awarded 25 degrees, which were later revoked because the program had not been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Thirty-nine people were enrolled in the program when it was closed in 2008.
According to an Aug. 11, 2008 article published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the "campus," Long issued the following statement, "Regrettably, the university did not seek appropriate approvals at that time prior to launching the program. Last month [SACS] denied approval for NCCU to continue the program offerings at the New Birth site." Thus, I began calling him "Dead Wrong" Long because he essentially threw his alma mater under the bus instead of accepting blame for his shenanigans.
In my mind, the statement was untruthful because anyone who works in higher education knows that the relationship between SACS and college campuses is like the relationship between the IRS and the average taxpayer. It is one of fear and terror because SACS can take away a college or university's ability to operate, just like the IRS can take away one's ability to function. To think that universities like NCCU with a rich tradition of educating dynamic people on the undergraduate and graduate level would risk their entire school for a "satellite" program run by a non-academician through a church is ludicrous.
Erskine Bowles, president the University of North Carolina system, said in a written statement published by the AJC, "I can think of no justifiable reason why the former NCCU leadership would have completely ignored and failed to abide by the appropriate approval process in creating this program. Such action is contrary to all university policy."
In other words, it was seemingly a sham and Long may have used his power to create an "educational" campus that had no ties to North Carolina. Despite media attention regarding the debacle, Long's actions did not lead to any controversy, uproar or calls for him to "tell the truth or shame the devil."
Herein lies the problem with Bishop "Dead Wrong" Eddie Long and prosperity ministries — of all races: People are all too willing to turn their heads when there is something amiss with those in power. When wealth is turned into a value and becomes a measurement of righteousness, then Houston, we have a problem.
I'm not one of those folks who think pastors should be broke or exist on meager amounts of cash. You should be the best that you can be in any profession that you choose, as long as you act with decency, integrity and respect for yourself and others.
Bishop Eddie "Dead Wrong" Long's behavior on a number of matters do not reflect decency, integrity or respect for others. The way that he pimped the UNC System is the way that he has pimped the church and possibly these young boys, who have been taught to value the almighty dollar instead of God. God and money are not one in the same. Until people stop worshiping money instead of God, there will always be a Bishop Eddie "Dead Wrong" Long, who will in fact prosper on our shortsightedness and inability to see what it is in front of us. Faith is for God, not for humans.
When I heard about the "faux" campus, I knew then what others are finding out now: that Bishop Eddie Long cannot be trusted. Sorry, I'm not about to pray for someone who may have preyed on young boys. I will pray for my fellow human beings in hopes that we use this opportunity to look inward and figure out how and why money has become God to so many.