This blog is going to be very short, because I kind of wanna hear from you, the reader. This week has definitely been a sensational and disturbing week for the African-American community. As many of you know, one of the most prominent preachers, Bishop Eddie Long in Atlanta, has been accused of improper sexual conduct with three male members of his church. As an attorney, I do believe in obtaining all the facts before casting judgment–so this is NOT that kind of post. BUT…as a child of God, a person of faith, and one that unfortunately knows persons who have been abused by the church, I DO think this is something that Christians need to discuss openly. Part of the “beef” I have had with the Catholic church when all their sexual scandals were emerging was that they were merely reactionary—they never took the LEAD on the investigations and mainly waited until allegations came out before addressing the issue.
Likewise, there are many Christians who feel that we should not discuss this issue…at least not yet. Well, I disagree. While we do not have to discuss the Bishop directly, I am concerned about the allegations EVEN IF THEY ARE JUST RUMORS (which is serious in itself). So I just want to pose these questions, and please feel free to be respectfully open and respond:
- How much power does the African-American church give their leaders (i.e. pastors, deacons, bishops, clergy…etc)? Do you see a problem in that?
- How difficult do you feel it would be for a member of the church to report misconduct in the church? In other words, do you feel there is a “stigma” out there against speaking up against inappropriate behavior?
- Unfortunately, abuse in all churches, including the African-American church, happens. How does this affect our witness as a whole, and our overall message of Jesus Christ?
- When a pastor does commit indecency, should we merely forgive and move on? Or does there need to be repercussions?
I truly want to hear from you. I have my own opinions to these questions. Indeed, we all fall short. Whether we stay short is truly up to us. Feel free to respond to any one of these questions…or any other comment you have.
I will say, for anyone who has been mistreated by a person in any spiritual position of power…if no one of faith has apologized to you…I am sorry and know that Jesus STILL heals!
Don’t be afraid..BE BOLD!