Jelani Cobb reports on the Atlanta pastor accused of engaging in coercive sex with young men:
Long is arguably the pre-eminent black proponent of the prosperity gospel and his message of financial deliverance dovetailed neatly with Atlanta's credo of visible black success. More than a handful of his critics have seen New Birth as a counterpoint to Ebenezer Baptist, the church co-pastored by Martin Luther King, Sr. and Jr. Where King led an inner-city congregation and emphasized the biblical mandate to pursue social justice, Long's sprawling compound is miles outside Atlanta and he is more likely to exalt the possibilities of grand financial success.
[W]hat offends me is that Long was able to get four presidents of the United States to attend his opulent circus for the funeral of Coretta Scott King in 2006. What a steep and awful decline from the mule cart that carried her husband's coffin in 1968. And the decline can be measured out in dog collars, from the Rev. Jesse Jackson all the way down to the Rev. Al Sharpton and the venomous Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Many other charlatans have benefited from the clerical racket, and the most notorious of themJerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggarthave been white. But there is something especially horrible about the way in which the black pulpit gets a sort of free pass, almost as if white society has assured itself that black Americans just love them some preaching. In this fog of ethnic condescension, it is much easier for mountebanks and demagogues to get away with it.
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