Anti-gay Atlanta pastor Eddie Long compares himself to 'David fighting Goliath'

Sun. September 26, 2010 11:42 PM by News Staff

Atlanta - Anti-gay Atlanta pastor Eddie Long, who was sued last week by four young men alleging that he pressured them into affairs, came out swinging from the pulpit on Sunday.

Speaking at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church to a congregation of thousands, some of whom had arrived before dawn, Long compared himself to David, and said he still had "five rocks" to throw at Goliath.

However, he didn't explain what those rocks were, and in fact offered virtually no specific rebuttal to allegations that he showered the young men with gifts and fancy trips, only to take advantage of them. They also claim he asked them to call him "Daddy."

"I am not the man being portrayed on the television. That's not me, that's not me," Long said.

He arrived with his wife promptly at 9am and stood holding her hand for a few minutes as the congregation applauded. The sermon was broadcast live on CNN.

The reaction afterward was mixed.

"I know him to be a great speaker," 34-year-old Christina Brown told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "This wasn't very convincing."

"I don't believe any of the allegations," said 27-year-old Nikki James. "It's deterring us from what we want -- building a closer relationship with God. And that's what the bishop wants."

Even before the most recent accusations, Long's lavish lifestyle had led to some skepticism in the greater Atlanta area. A 005 Atlanta Journal-Constitution2 report found that he used his own charitable organization to pay himself a salary topping $1,000,000/year. A charity also provided him with a chauffeured Bentley.