“This is difficult, difficult for everybody. This is the most difficult time in my entire life,” said Bishop Eddie Long addressing his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church congregation on Sunday in Georgia. In one week, Long’s life has changed dramatically, but he refuses to retreat.
The Pastor announced to the 30,000 member mega church in Lithonia, Georgia, after making a numerous amount of headlines last week for the homosexual accusations brought against him — he will not step down from his leadership role as Pastor. This comes as a surprise to some, especially the four young men who have all brought lawsuits against the Bishop claiming Long coerced and seduced them into inappropriate sexual relationship that compromised Long’s spiritual guidance and authority. Spencer LeGrande, a 22-year-old member of New Birth in Charlotte, NC claims that in 2005 Long told him he would be his “dad” and took him on a trip to Kenya where Long allegedly gave him a sleeping pill and the two engaged is sexual acts that Long described as a “healthy component of [LeGrande’s] spiritual life,” according to the lawsuit.
In the last 10 years we have had our share of sex scandals that have rocked the Christian church. Black and White — religion sees no color — all of these individuals were either accused, admitted to, or found guilty of heinous sexual crimes with individuals in or out of their church establishment, ultimately shaming their families, congregation, and themselves.
1. John Paulk, 2000 John Paulk, former leader of the Love Won Out conference, was also author of the autobiography “Not Afraid to Change,” his story about being delivered from homosexuality. However, in September 2000, Paulk was photographed in a Washington, D.C. gay bar flirting with male patrons. Paulk initially denied the claims, but later confessed to being in the bar, adding that he did not enter the bar for sexual pursuits.
2. Douglas Goodman, 2004 Evangelist Douglas Goodman and his wife Erica were pastors of Victory Christian Centre, one of the largest churches in London, England, with a very popular televised ministry. After sexually assaulting four female churchgoers, Douglas Goodman was sentenced and jailed for three and a half years. VCC was closed, but after his release from prison Goodman joined his wife Erica in pastoral ministry at her newly established Victory to Victory church.
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3. Ted Haggard, 2006 Ted Haggard was the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as the president of the National Association of Evangelicals from 2003-2006. In 2006, it was revealed that Haggard had been regularly visiting a male prostitute who also provided him with drugs. Haggard admitted to his solicitation and resigned as pastor of his church and as president of the NAE. In 2009, Haggard admitted to a second relationship with a male church member on CNN-TV.
4. Paul Barnes, 2006 Paul Barnes, in his 28 years as a pastor, founded the Grace Chapel church in Douglas County, Colorado, with a few dozen people in his home basement. With time, the church’s membership grew to 2,100 loyal followers. In 2006, Barnes confessed to homosexual activity and resigned. Many believe he was so forthright because of Ted Haggard’s scandal, which happened at the same time in the same state.
5. Lonnie Latham, 2006 The Southern Baptist Convention, or the SBC, is an extremely powerful movement not only amongst Southern Baptists but Baptists nationwide. In 2006, Lonnie Latham, member of the SBC Executive Committee and senior pastor of South Tulsa Baptist Church, was arrested for allegedly inviting a male undercover Oklahoma City police officer to his hotel room for sex. Latham urged people not to believe it, and was later found not guilty in a one day trial for the misdemeanor.
6. Earl Paulk, 2007 Earl Paulk, sometimes considered the father of the religious sex scandal, has scandals (plural) that stretch over a decade. The late Earl Paulk was the founder and head pastor of Chapel Hill Harvester Church in Decatur, Georgia, from 1960 until the late 90s. During his time as pastor, a number of women from the congregation came forward claiming that they had sexual relations with Paulk, many of which were proven true. However it was the scandal involving Donnie Earl Paulk, the current senior pastor of the church and nephew of Earl Paulk, that was the most shocking of them all in. In 2007, Paulk D.E. Paulk took a court-ordered DNA test which showed that he was Earl’s son, not his nephew — sadly proving Earl and his sister-in-law had had a sexual relationship. Earl Paulk, who passed away in 2009, is said to be the longtime mentor of Bishop Eddie Long.
7. Coy Privette, 2007 Coy Privette is one of the famous Baptist ministers in the state of North Carolina, as the longtime head of the N.C. Christian Action League. In 2007, the State Bureau of Investigation and the Kannapolis Police Department charged Coy Privette with six counts of aiding and abetting prostitution. Privette, who was 74 at the time, was the Cabarrus County Commissioner and a former N.C. State Representative.
8. Joe Barron, 2008 Before there was “Dateline: How To Catch A Predator,” there was Joe Barron — one of the 40 ministers presiding over the 26,000 members at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. Barron, a marriage counseling pastor, was caught in the web of an internet crackdown on pedophiles when he was arrested in 2008 for solicitation of a minor. Barron made the drive from the Dallas area to Bryan, Texas, in order to allegedly engage in sexual relations with what he thought to be a 13-year-old girl he met online. The “girl” turned out to be an undercover law enforcement official. At the time of the arrest, police found found condoms, a webcam and headset in Barron’s car.
9. Tony Alamo, 2008 In September 2008, FBI agents raided the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries headquarters in a child pornography investigation, after the mayor of Fouke, Arkansas, office had received complaints from former ministry members about allegations of child abuse, sexual abuse and polygamy. In late July 2009, Alamo was convicted on ten counts of transporting young girls and boys across state lines for sexual activities and pornography. On November 13, 2009, he was sentenced to the maximum punishment of 175 years in prison.
10. George Alan Rekers, 2010 George Alan Rekers, a far-right Christian leader was encountered and photographed at Miami International Airport returning from an extended overseas trip with a twenty-year-old gay male prostitute, known as a “rent boy.” Given Rekers’ opinion on homosexuals and homosexual behavior, his decision to employ a homosexual escort as a traveling companion, stirred up a scandal. Rekers initially claimed that the escort was there to help carry luggage, but later gave a new explanation for the trip on Facebook, “I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them.” The escort claimed in subsequent interviews, that Rekers had paid him to provide nude massages daily, which included genital touching.