*Addressing his congregation Tuesday night at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Bishop Eddie Long again stopped short of directly addressing the sexual allegations made against him.
“I’m not speaking about the individuals and all of that,” he said, according to Channel 2 Action News. “This is spiritual warfare.”
Long said that if people believed media reports, “I’d be scared to show up, I’d be scared to look at you. But there’s something in me bigger than the situation.”
Four young men have filed suits alleging Long had sexual relationships with them when they were teenagers. The suits claim Long used his pastoral influence to entice them, including taking them on international trips. A church spokesman says Long adamantly denies the allegations.
A group of 32 ministers attended the Lithonia church Tuesday night to pray with Long and support him. Long’s remarks were somewhat cryptic.
“And I’m here to tell you whatever God spoke about me, whatever God said about me, it shall come to pass,” Long said, according to Channel 2.
As previously reported, one of Long’s accusers, told a local television station that he loved the Lithonia pastor but now considers him “a monster.”
“This man manipulated us from childhood,” Jamal Parris told WAGA-TV, who interviewed the 23-year-old outside a Colorado grocery store. “This was our father and we loved him.”
Parris, who alleged that Long used church funds to lavish him and the other victims with gifts, said he reached out to the bishop privately before filing suit.
“This man turned his back on us when he had no more need for us,” Parris told WAGA-TV. “That’s not a man. That’s a predator.”
Attorney B.J. Bernstein, who represents the accusers, said she did not authorize the interview.
In a civil lawsuit filed last Wednesday, Parris, a former member of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and one of Long’s “spiritual sons,” claims the charismatic bishop made him call him “Daddy,” exploiting his role as a father figure and mentor.
Long has denied the allegations and told his congregation Sunday he will “vigorously” fight the charges against him. He has yet to comment on Parris’ interview.
Parris and his mother joined New Birth in 2001 when he was 14. Within two weeks, Long gave the teen his personal cell phone number, the suit alleges. Their relationship intensified during the 2004-05 school year, with Parris alleging that he was a regular at Long’s guesthouse on Snapfinger Road.
“Long would discuss the Holy Scripture to justify and support the sexual activity,” the suit alleges.