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(RNS) Bishop Eddie Long, the Atlanta-area preacher facing charges from four young men that he coerced them to have sex, told his congregation Sunday (Sept. 26) he is “under attack” and will fight the allegations against him.
“I’ve been accused,” Long told the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. “I’m under attack. I want you to know … I am not a perfect man but this thing I’m going to fight.”
Four men, all in their early 20s, filed suits alleging that Long used his spiritual authority to coerce them into sexual relationships.
The men said Long gave them gifts of cash, cars and overnight trips. The fourth suit, filed Friday, alleges that Long paid for shopping sprees and tuition for a 22-year-old with whom he had a sexual relationship.
Long has protested gay marriage and is known for celebrating “muscular Christianity,” which supports strong heterosexual male leadership.
His church received national attention when it hosted the 2006 funeral of Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
On Sunday, Long said his lawyers advised him to address the charges against him in court and not in the media.
“I feel like David against Goliath,” Long said. “But I got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”
— Adelle M. Banks
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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