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African Americans Must Shoulder Blame for Eddie Long

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The tweets were likely fleeting in nature, consistent with how the multitude of us use Twitter to socially interact. Momentary thoughts, ephemeral emotions...140 character snapshots of one's conscience. CNN commentator Roland Martin has come under fire for two tweets during the Super Bowl which GLAAD argued were homophobic and encouraged violence against the LGBT community.

Regardless of whether one finds merit in GLAAD's complaint or instead supports Martin's sense of humor; know that the response from the LGBT community was swift, direct and specific in nature.

That was Sunday, both the controversial action and the subsequent response.

Wednesday it was announced that CNN had suspended Martin.

Monday, parents mostly Latino in nature protested the inaction and lack of communication in the wake of the arrest of two teachers for sexual misconduct at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles. In response to the protests and other public outcry, the whole of the teaching staff was immediately replaced.

Immediately.

Also Monday, the social pariah Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Baptist church in Atlanta offered an apology to the Anti-Defamation League in response to a controversial "coronation" ceremony performed by Rabbi Ralph Messer the previous week. The video of the service went viral, instantly sparking immediate outrage from Jewish community leaders.

The Jewish community outrage and eventual apology were separated by fewer than 48 hours.

That was Monday.

Three separate ethnic and/or social constituencies used their social capital to leverage media and public opinion to force an immediate redress of issues.

Although the outrage in regards to the Eddie Long ceremony in New Birth (an African-American church) was unanimous irrespective of race, nobody within the African-American religious community stepped forward and demanded an apology. In fact, let the record reflect that Eddie Long took fewer than 48 hours to offer a public apology to the Jewish community for an offensive ceremony, yet to this day has said nothing about the foolishness surrounding his behavior leading up to his sexual coercion settlement involving five young males.

There has been no widespread public call within the religious community demanding for him to step down, be sat down or altogether shutdown.

One might wonder why some of the other African-American megachurches haven't leveraged their power individually and collectively to express their own outrage at Bishop Long. Right now, the ADL seemingly has more power in affecting Eddie Long's behavior than his own peers. As of this writing, only one Black megachurch preacher, (Bishop Paul Morton) has spoken out against Eddie Long.

T. D. Jakes of the Potter's House in Dallas, TX recently offered the following to CNN while discussing Long's impending divorce and previous sexual coercion charges.

"If there was actually misconduct, the young men involved in the case were old enough to make their own decisions. They are not juveniles."

Jakes conveniently skipped over the fact that Long was married and adamantly against all types of homosexual behavior. Jakes blithely disregarded the inherent moral and ethical contradictions given Long's position and power. Despite Jakes' stance, it really is acceptable to assess blame on the married man engaging in sexual behavior with adolescents (they were not 18) in the discussion of said man's divorce. Jakes, for whatever reason, stopped short of finding ANY fault with Long.

But true to form, Jakes did find time to blast the GOP for supporting Newt Gingrich over his children as janitors remarks and that Gingrich is "a thrice-married, twice-divorced adulterer."

Evidently multiple marriages, divorces, adultery and disparaging behavior towards young people don't apply to Long; who is now twice-married/divorced with an 8-figure settlement connected to homosexual acts of adultery.

The hypocrisy is beyond staggering, it is stupefying. The remarks on both Gingrich and Long came the Same Day, December 11, 2011 in two different interviews.  The links don't lie.

What Jakes doesn't seem to understand is that when viewing someone head-on, it makes talking out of both sides one's mouth much more obvious.

Prosperity preacher Creflo Dollar, with ministries in Atlanta, New York and his own private jet to ferry him between the two, told those in his audience who came to his church after leaving Eddie Long they should "go back."

He too absolved Long of guilt and blame.

Eddie Long remains in his pulpit after an alleged 8-figure sexual coercion settlement, impending divorce and the only people in the religious community adamant in their anger towards him were Jews... for reasons wholly unrelated to the more serious ones?

Really?

Seriously?

One of Long's accusers Anthony Flagg, alleged he accompanied Long on overnight trips to New York, Dallas and other cities; most of which "coincidentally" connected to other Black megachurch preachers in league with Long on the Federal Marriage Amendment.

A coincidence, to be sure (wink, wink).

Flagg in subsequent interviews also indicated he stayed in the W Hotel in Times Square, which happens to also be the place where megachurch pastor Zachery Tims was found dead with a powdery substance on his person.

Just in case you were wondering, Flagg says he also stayed with Long at the W Hotel in Dallas, just 12 miles from T.D. Jakes' main campus.

Of course this is all coincidental and circumstantial (wink, wink).

How quickly were the late Joe Paterno and the university president removed and fired respectively for their mishandling of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal?

Exactly.

Eddie Long continues to "offend" people specifically because we in the African-American community have abrogated our responsibility to protect our children. We have allowed his ministry to continue with little more than angry editorials and spirited radio commentary.

New Birth is not just "a" cult but seemingly a link in a chain of interconnected, prosperity-preaching cults; guided not by sound Christian tenets but something altogether nefarious and un-Christian in nature.

The common thread between Penn State, Miramonte and New Birth is that somebody did nothing when circumstances required far more; allowing young people to be abused. If there is immediate action in the moment, future misdeeds can be averted. The communities surrounding Penn State and Miramonte took immediate steps to make sure the right actions were taken.

New Birth... nothing.  We as African-Americans did nothing.  This is on us, as are his future transgressions.  We have allowed Long to proceed with impunity. He will embarrass and "abuse" the African-American community again and again, until we put an end to it and his ministry once and for all. We just have to care enough and love our own children enough to stand up for them.

Morris W. O'Kelly (Mo'Kelly) is a political correspondent for the BBC Radio and Television networks and author of the syndicated column The Mo'Kelly Report. For more Mo'Kelly, go to his site. Mo'Kelly can be reached at mrmokelly@gmail.com and welcomes all commentary.