Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Looooong Blank Stare

As you may know (especially if you are Black and at all interested in church), Bishop Eddie Long of the New Birth Baptist Church in Atlanta Georgia has been accused of using his young men's youth academy to groom young men for sexual relationships with him.  It is NOT alleged that he took advantage of the young men before they reached the age of consent in the state of Georgia. However, since Bishop Long is a man and a Bishop and married (and frankly African American but we wont even get into that in this post), that sort of behavior is frowned upon.  I know some of you are already wondering how this can constitute a blank stare moment because if Bishop Long did take advantage of his position in the lives of these young men, that is reprehensible.  However, you may be surprised to know, the Bishop will not be the recipient of a blank stare in this post (because this is not about how he preaches wearing those smedium muscle shirts...).

Instead, I would like to focus on how this story came to our national attention- a lawsuit of course.  The suit has been filed by two young men between 19 and 22 years old who claim they were coerced into a sexual relationship with the being lavished with expensive presents and luxurious trips all over the world...and in return for being lavished, pampered and flown all over they want...(can someone give me a friggin drum roll please) money... *BLANK STARE*  Now I happen to be a lawyer.  I went to a very good law school, graduated, passed the bar exam (the first time) and have been practicing for some years now but I can't say that I understand the cause of action in this case.  I honestly did not know you could sue someone for treating you so well, it made you want to do grown up things with them...while you were a legal grown up.  AGAIN, if Bishop Long did it, and especially if he used the churches financial resources, which is also being alleged, that is a ugly mess of epic proportions, we are clear on that point.  However, why is this the basis for a lawsuit requesting money ???

The last time I checked (today), it is legal for 2 men at or beyond the age of consent to engage in a sexual relationship in the state of Georgia.  You may not like it and I'm sure First Lady Long would agree with you in this instance but it's still legal.  To maintain a lawsuit there has to be some violation of...THE LAW so where are we going with this?  If the members of New Birth want to sue the Bishop for misappropriating their tithes and offering, that might make sense but what is happening now I just can't understand.  Remember, this is not a criminal matter, which also might make more sense, this is a lawsuit asking for money....Or should I say MORE money considering the Plaintiffs claim they already got quite a bit of it...Maybe you can explain it to me because I just can't understand it.

Sidenote: As the daughter of a Pastor who is a good, decent upstanding man this whole debacle, whether true or false, makes me cringe and shudder.

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