Late last year, following several accusations of child molestation and his wife Vanessa’s petition for divorce, Bishop Eddie Long took a leave of absence from Lithonia, Georgia’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Clearly, Bishop Long just couldn’t stay out of the limelight, as this past week he ended his sabbatical with a highly unorthodox (and some may say sacrilegious) “royal” service on January 29, 2012.
Rabbi Ralph Messer, a Messianic preacher and senior leader of Simchat Torah Beit Midrash in Colorado, presided over the event at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, wrapping Long in a “Holocaust Torah”. According to Messer, the torah is a 312-year-old sacred scroll recovered from the Auschwitz concentration camp in Germany during World War II. Continuing in the anointment, “four sons representing the four corners of the earth” raised Bishop Long in the air and carried him on their shoulders across the stage. Subsequently, Rabbi Messer shouts “he [Bishop Long] is no longer a commoner, he is not on the earth he’s raised from earth into a heavenly realm.”
As I watched this video, I couldn’t help but give it a major side eye, and question the sanity of the parishioners of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. As Rabbi Messer proclaims, “he’s [Bishop Long] a king. God’s blessed him. He’s a humble man. But in him is kingship. In him is royalty,” the parishioners look on in worship and awe. Have the churchgoers of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church forgiven Bishop Long too soon after last year’s allegations (which were settled out of court)? And has the Black church gone too far in placing it’s leaders on a pedestal, to the point where they now consider themselves “kings”?
Check out the “crowning” below and tell us what you think: