*Talk show host Reuben Armstrong, author of the book “Snakes in the Pulpit” sent out an e-mail announcing his formal request that Bishop Eddie Long take an HIV/AIDS test in the midst of his scandal.
Long, well known for preaching fervently against homosexuality, is accused of having inappropriate sexual relationships with at least four young men from his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
Armstrong sent a certified letter to Judge Johnny Panos of the DeKalb County State Court to issue a mandate requiring Long to undergo testing for syphilis, hepatitis and HIV, according to his press release.
A copy of his e-mailed letter clarified that Armstrong is not saying that Long has any sexually transmitted disease. Instead, he says he’s concerned that if the allegations against Long are true, Long and others may have been exposed to disease and the tests could help him and others to seek immediate medical attention.
Armstrong wrote, “My requests come from the knowledge of the alarming statistics of these diseases within the community. These statistics are on the rise and if behaviors such as the ones found in the allegations levied against Bishop Long are found to be true in your court, then this type of sexual behavior has put these young men in danger of becoming part of the statistics.”
Armstrong has been a staunch critic of Long, but claims he is not being vengeful. Instead, “I am writing to you as a concerned citizen and a social advocate. I stand as the voice of the children that cry out in silence due to sexual exploitation. As a human being, we are all mandated reporters when it comes to the abuse of children. This is not a position exclusive only to the teachers, counselors, or medical personnel.”
The concerns outlined by Armstrong are as follows:
• The sexual allegations imply that it had gone on for years with many partners. If true, and if tests are positive, all possible victims would need to be tested.
• If the tests show Long is positive for a sexually transmitted disease, Armstrong has requested that the bishop’s court case is advanced “so that his connection to the community would be limited.”
• Armstrong noted that such would help to prevent death. He cited the case of the late Bishop JD Husband from the Church of God in Christ in Atlanta. Both the bishop and the young man involved died from AIDS.
Armstrong also said in his press release that he began exposing Long after he was approached by two youth pastors from New Birth who said they had seen Long and other ministers of the church engaging in sex with young boys, the press release said.