*Tens of people attended a South Carolina minister’s rally on Sunday to demand that Bishop Eddie Long step down as senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in the wake of allegations that he coerced four young men into sexual relationships.
During the gathering held at Georgia Capitol steps on Washington Street, Bishop H. “Prophet” Walker from the True Light Pentecost Church in Spartanburg, S.C., said Long “had no right to continue as a leader of the Christian church,” reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
While Walker conceded he had no authority in dealing with Long, he wanted New Birth members to urge Long to give up his post. “They have to understand that this is their church, not Bishop Long’s,” Walker said.
About 75 people attended the rally, though most appeared to be members of Walker’s church and there were several children. The women wore white robes and had their hair covered by lace scarves and the men wore black.
Reuben Armstrong, a Dallas radio and TV talk show host and author, said Long should step down, at least until the cases are resolved. He also criticized Long for preaching a prosperity message.
“It’s a shame that the church is becoming a corporate entity with the pastor acting as CEO, but the people are the shareholders,” Armstrong said.
Among those in attendance were members of a South Carolina Tea Party group.
“We believe that Christians need to stand up for wrong,” said Michael Brady of the Boiling Springs Tea Party. He said the allegations are a “crime against the community, and a crime against humanity, and Christians have to stand up against that.”
Long has been sued by four men: Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrande, Maurice Robinson and Jamal Parris, They allege that Long coerced them into sexual relations using his influence, lavish trips, gifts and jobs.
Long, who continues to lead weekly services, has denied the allegations in a statement issued by his spokesman.