His Atlanta megachurch had already reached 25,000 members. He had been invited to the White House, built a global television ministry and drove around town in a luxury automobile.
But Long told the visitor who had come to write about him that the pressures of being a high-profile pastor could be brutal.
“You don’t want any of this,” he said in a raspy baritone as he shook his head. “You don’t want any of this …”
Long didn’t get more specific about those pressures.
Today, the 57-year-old minister, known for his public crusades against homosexuality, faces serious allegations.
On Tuesday, two young men who were members of Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church filed lawsuits claiming he used his position as their spiritual counselor to coerce them into sexual relationships.
The men — Anthony Flagg, 21, and Maurice Robinson, 20 — allege Long used a private spiritual ceremony to mark a “covenant” between them, with both becoming his “spiritual son.”
Flagg alleges that Long then used that relationship to take him on overnight trips where they shared a bedroom and engaged in kissing, masturbation and “oral sexual contact.”
Robinson, who claimed Long engaged in oral sex with him, said the pastor would cite Scripture to justify their relationship.
“We categorically deny the allegations,” Art Franklin, Long’s spokesman, said in a written statement. “It is very unfortunate that someone has taken this course of action.”
Franklin said “our law firm will be able to respond once attorneys have had an opportunity to review the lawsuit.”
The men’s lawyer, Brenda Joy (B.J.) Bernstein, would not make them available for comment.
Long’s crusades against homosexuality
The allegations against Long run contrary to his public image.
READ REST OF ARTICLE HERE