Anti-gay Atlanta pastor Eddie Long to talk about lawsuits on Sunday

Sat. September 25, 2010 11:52 PM by News Staff

Atlanta, Ga. - The anti-gay Atlanta pastor accused of molesting some of his followers now says he will finally speak on Sunday morning about the lawsuits.

Maurice Robinson and Anthony Flagg filed lawsuits Tuesday alleging Bishop Eddie Long coerced them into having sex in exchange for cars, clothes and cash. The two men, now 20 and 21, say the powerful pastor began having inappropriate relations with them when they were just 16.

Since then, two more young men have filed lawsuits.

According to the lawsuits, Long instructed the young men as "spiritual sons" to "follow their master," while enticing them "with cars, clothes, jewelry, and electronics."

Long has been pastor of the 30,000-member New Birth Missionary Church in Atlanta since 1987 and is considered to be one of the nation's top and most homophobic black preachers.

Sunday's sermon will be the first time Long has talked extensively about the accusations. During a conference call on Friday, Long told supporters he is "under attack" but did not elaborate.

In 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center called Long "one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement."

In 2004, Long led a march in Atlanta against homosexuality.

Long, who is on his second marriage, lives a lavish lifestyle, which includes a $350,000 Bentley and a $1.4 million home.

The church was the site of the 2006 funeral of Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow, attended by President George W. Bush. Then-NAACP Chair Julian Bond refused to attend the funeral at the church, calling Long "a raving homophobe."