I was wondering when a gay identified person in New Birth's congregation was going to speak to the media regarding the sexual coercion allegations facing Bishop Eddie Long. BET news has an exclusive interview with Samuel Brown, a gay member of New Birth for over seventeen years. Brown has come forth to share his disappointment in Long for not coming out (no pun intended) and denying any wrong doing.
From BET News:
BN: What are your thoughts on Bishop Long's statement to your congregation?
SB: He was unable to say that he was 100 percent guilt-free, and it was insulting to me to not come out and be straight-forward. Basically him and his lawyer crafted a statement where he didn't have to hit the situation head on. The reason Bishop Long is so popular in Atlanta and all over the world is his transparency. He preaches about it in his sermons. He will say things that other people won’t say. He will push the envelope on a lot of things. So with him speaking so strongly about transparency and now not being able to deliver a clear-cut answer, it doesn't sit well with me.
Brown tells BET News that he and his partner (pictured below) are now considering leaving New Birth. But why was Brown, his partner, and possibly thousands of black gay people still attending a church so rife with homophobia?
BN: Do you think New Birth Church would have allowed you to be a member if they knew you were gay?
SB: Probably not. But at the same time, there are a pretty large number of congregants in the church that are gay or appear to be gay that I know of personally as well.
BN: Do you know why other homosexual Christians would become members of a church that preaches sermons condemning their lifestyle?
SB: The majority of the homosexual, gay members of the church that are at New Birth, most of them 'fall in line' with the teachings. They feel like it’s wrong, they are sinning, they are sinners and it’s something you have to get rid of.
SMDH. Our own internalized homophobia and willingness to be subjected to abuse by the church just to have a place to "belong" is going to be the death of us. I speak about this in an article on Long for AlterNet.org.
Blogger Son of Baldwin sums up the ridiculousness of this all: As a black person, would you go to a church where the pastor and congregants were openly racist--where the bishop preached sermons that called for the death of black people and organized marches to limit the civil rights of blacks--just because you liked the other messages he preached?
Anyone who says "yes" is a damn fool, just like Samuel Brown, his partner and the other (self-hating) gay brothers in Long's congregation.
A word of advice for all of them: Leave that church. Come on out.
Watch the BET News video segment below: