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Longtime Atlanta resident and HIV activist Craig Washington took Bishop Eddie Long and a “cult of the clergy” to task for breeding sexual misconduct that targets young people.
The comments from Washington (photo), a gay man and prevention manager at AID Atlanta, came in a piece he wrote for the Root, an online magazine about black issues. Washington’s “A Sermon for Bishop Eddie Long” was published Thursday.
Whether or not Long actually committed the acts of which he was recently accused, this much is true: He is assuredly guilty of engendering fear and hatred of LGBT people among thousands. He has convinced countless numbers of gays that they are sinners whose salvation rests on becoming “reconditioned” into heterosexuality. Such toxic teachings reinforce the stigma that compromises HIV-prevention efforts as well as our mental and physical health.
Washington’s comments on Long come as the anti-gay leader of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church faces accusations in three lawsuits that he coerced young men into having sex at his DeKalb residence and during trips across the U.S. and the globe.
Long has called the accusations false and asked his 25,000-member church to pray for him and his family.
Two lawsuits were filed Tuesday; a third came Wednesday, the same day that photos emerged of Long dressed in form fitting muscle shirts were published. Long snapped the photos while posing in a bathroom and sent them to young men involved in his Longfellows Youth Academy, a New Birth program for young men ages 13 to 18.
Washington is one of five spokespeople for the 20th annual AIDS Walk Atlanta and was one of two Atlanta HIV activists who was invited to the White House earlier this year as President Obama unveiled his National AIDS Strategy. He also helps organize the LGBT annual Bayard Rustin-Audre Lorde Breakfast each January during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend.