Eddie Long Is Sorry

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The Georgia mega-preacher apologizes for having himself crowned a "king" by a fake rabbi:

"The ceremony was not my suggestion, nor was it my intent, to participate in any ritual that is offensive in any manner to the Jewish community, or any group. Furthermore, I sincerely denounce any action that depicts me as a King, for I am merely just a servant of the Lord," Long wrote in a letter dated Saturday. 

The letter was addressed to Bill Nigut, southeast regional director of the Anti-Defamation League -- a Jewish group that fights anti-Semitism. 

"While I believe that Rabbi Ralph Messer has good intentions during his message at New Birth, I understand that the ceremony he performed on Sunday, January 29th, caused harm to the Jewish community, for which I am deeply sorry," Long wrote.

One thing I missed in my initial reaction to this was how offensive the whole spectacle must have been for devout and believing Jews. I live in a world of agnostics and atheists. The few people I know who are religious (with the obvious exception of family) are not evangelical and have no interest in my soul. Thus the ceremony struck me, originally, as more ridiculous--in the most literal sense--than offensive. It was only after a few private conversations that I realized I was, like, sort of missing something among my guffaws.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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