What I want to comment on today is his perversion of the Martin Luther King legacy. He has tried to co-opt the mantle of the great and humble civil rights leader, while being himself the very antithesis of that. His is a "prosperity ministry" and he is all about exhibitionism, financial wealth, entrepreneurism, show biz, and lots and lots of "bling" (cars, clothes, and jewelry). Not only is he the antithesis of King's image, he has co-opted King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, and together they persuaded the rest of the family to hold Coretta Scott King's funeral at their megachurch, with four presidents in attendance along with many civil rights leaders and celebrities.
I've just read a Huffington Post blog by writer David Love, in which he states that
"Civil rights giants Harry Belafonte and then-NAACP-chair Julian Bond were so mortified by this fact that they boycotted the funeral." They knew what Long represented, and they wanted no part in associating themselves with this "misappropriation of the King legacy."David Love continues:
But Bishop Long's sexual orientation ultimately is not the subject of this commentary, although it provides some valuable context. Now, if these accusations are true, then Bishop Long is at least guilty of hypocrisy and self-hatred. And if the charges are not true, he is still an anti-gay minister who has damaged many people. Either way, he is a prosperity preacher who preys on the black community and shames the legacy of the civil rights movement. And that's most of what we need to know. . . .
When the Southern Poverty Law Center decides to write an intelligence report about you, you know you've done something wrong. SPLC calls Bishop Long "one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement." In one sermon, he says to gays and lesbians, "God says you deserve death!" The message of "hate the sin and the sinner" are strong words in a religion that is supposed to teach love, healing and redemption. . . .
Surely, Bishop Long and his supporters would maintain that his reputation is being dragged through the mud. But his reputation was already muddied via his homophobia and corrupt bling theology. Rather, Long should worry far more about what Dr. King would say about him.
Although King fought against and even disobeyed unjust laws, Long supports them. Dr. King decried the triple evils of racism, materialism and militarism, and called for a radical revolution of values, from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. Figures such as King and Malcolm X walked the talk by fighting for the people -- and for causes greater than their personal bank account -- through great personal sacrifice and a modest existence. Remember that Dr. King donated all of his $54,000 Nobel Peace Prize money to the civil rights movement. I dare say it would be hard to find many leaders today -- black or otherwise -- who would follow in the footsteps of this great man. How many of them would lift a finger to help the downtrodden?
Eddie Long apparently is another huckster who found a route to fame and wealth for himself. To try to associate himself with Martin Luther King may be an even greater hypocrisy than his anti-gay crusade.