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Do accusations against our Spiritual Leaders destroy the Black community?

September 23, 2010

Last night as I was driving back into Atlanta my heart went out in sorrow. I am one of those individuals who promote self-efficacy and personal responsibility. I firmly believe that each of us have the ability to succeed in life using our natural born talents. However, there is another piece of me, the humanitarian, which goes out for people that are suffering. As I was making my way back into the city around 1:55am from travelling, I witnessed a nighttime element of folks who were weary and wondering the streets. I saw a guy looking through the bushes. I saw another canvassing the sidewalk. They seemed lost and in search of a way to survive.

I may not know each of their stories and obstacles that led them to the situations they are in but I do know that our people are hurting. The exploitation in this country has affected many of our, once sustainable, citizens. Some people are homeless, jobless and penny-less even though they followed the rules and did everything by the book. Price gouging, predatory lending, and apathetic business cultures have ruined many of our people’s lives.

When we hurt, we sometimes retreat; we sometimes seek. Some people, as they should, seek spiritual refuge and development; often by way of the church. As we tithe our time and talent into the churches, we have to remember that the church is a facility of humans and is not a flawless institution, as much as we would like to believe different. The leadership makes poor decisions, just like the 8 year-old sitting in the back pew. Bishop Eddie Long has come under the spotlight, brought on by allegations of homosexual and adulterous behavior. I met him on two occasions. I don’t feel I know him enough to judge his character outside of the pulpit, but what I do know is this is not the time for any of us to falter. His innocent or guilt is not something I am trying to defend or deny. However, my message is we cannot allow allegations, whether it results in his guilt or not, to strip us of what we were destined to become.

Eddie Long is not alone. He is not the first or the last to come under public scrutiny. Keep in mind that spiritual leaders of all denominations and demographics have faltered. No denomination remains unblemished. There’s Ted Haggart, Jimmy Swaggart, and a long list of Catholic priests on this roster. We can’t have a habit of basing our success on the strength and security of our institutions/jobs, and by the respect and prestige of the leaders running them. People are hurting morally, financially, and spiritually. Motivation is low. Defiant behavior is high. Listlessness is viral. We shouldn’t let sensationalizing distract or diminish us. Let’s ensure we see beyond our problems and resurrect our opportunities. Bitterness is contagious. If we fail to recover, our next generation will be left with a sour taste in their mouths and a grim future on their horizon… What do you think? Does sinful accusations, whether true or false, against our Spiritual Leaders damage the faith and deepen the wounds in the Black community?

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