‘Bishop’ Eddie Long Crowned ‘King’? Oi Vay…
This is perhaps one of the silliest and most idiotic things that has ever happened in the history of Christianity. And let’s be honest: there is no small competition in those categories.
In a recent service on January 29th 2012, Eddie Long invited Ralph Messer who claims to be a ‘rabbi’ bringing torah ‘truth’ to Christians. This ‘rabbi’ then proceeds to pronounce Eddie Long as King in “god’s government” lifting him up in his chair/throne and carrying him around the stage.
Now, after watching that complete sham of a ceremony let’s remind ourselves about ‘Bishop’ Long. This is the same man who organized a march through Atlanta as part of his anti-gay agenda, but then several months back it was revealed he was being accused by four young men from his private school of taking them on vacation and then having sexual encounters with them. When the news first hit, Bishop Long declared, “This I’m gonna fight…”
Then details started to slowly leak out, “Ok, ok, ok. So I did take these men on trips with me… and I did share rooms with them ‘occasionally’… and I did buy them gifts… but we never had sex!”
Uh huh, ok then… But just to be safe, let’s go to mediation and try to ensure that no one finds out the sordid details of our trips?!?
Perhaps it’s just the cynic in me but when 75% of their story is already collaborated, and you have four, count ‘em: four young men accusing you of sexual indiscretion… yeah, you might need to go to mediation if you want to keep professing your innocence from the pulpit.
It was announced later that a Settlement Had Been Reached in Eddie Long’s Sexual Coercion Case.
Are you ready for this…
Put on your surprise faces…
The case was settled and dismissed with prejudice, meaning the plaintiffs could not sue Long again concerning the same case, and with the accusers’ silence bought and paid for with an agreement to never speak of the details of the case publicly.
The only thing that Long ever “vigorously” fought for in this case was to make sure that the truth didn’t come out.
But Long needs some form of false legitimacy to continue scamming and bilking the blind sheep of his congregation out of money so he can continue his lavish lifestyle of traveling around the world with his assortment of boy toys… allegedly.
So he brings in a ridiculous man who declares himself a rabbi, who lies, conflates some different religious traditions, and makes some of the most insane proclamations concerning Long and the Torah.
But how does the Torah even begin to magically confer Long any new legitimacy? I mean, it’s absolutely ridiculous if you know anything about the Torah, or what’s actually in the Torah! First, as far as I know: no king ever in the OT was ever wrapped in the Torah. One, many of the kings in the OT ‘lived’ long before there was a Torah! Two, this type of ceremony is never mentioned.
But what about things that are actually in the Torah? Let’s look in Leviticus…
18:22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
20:13 If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
Ooopppps! Well, let’s just skip for now that Long allegedly liked to jerk off young men and perform oral sex on them, and even allegedly ‘married’ one of the men in a ‘spiritual’ act, and see what the Torah has to say about kings… Let’s see, Deuteronomy…
14 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15 be sure to appoint over you a king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” 17He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.
18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.
I don’t think that’s the sort of ‘kingship’ that Long is looking for!
Anyways, I assume that you my insightful, smart, regular, and intelligent readers will know instantly that this is one of the stupidest things you have ever seen, but for those who are unsure how imbecilic the above entire ceremony is, and just how many innacuracies, lies, and deceit there is in the presentation of ‘rabbi’ Messer, the Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biblical Hebrew and Jewish and Christian Scripture, has a list of 27 problems with the ‘coronation’ of ‘King’ Long:
- The claim that Holocaust Torahs cannot be insured “because there are no more” is patently false. They are regularly insured as are other one of a kind objects d’art, i.e. the works of Picasso.
- The Torah cover is not a “foreskin.” Hyper-masculine, hyper-sexualization of the Torah reduces the holy Torah to a problematic phallic symbol — God’s? or Long’s? — and categorizes the most destructive behaviors associated with New Birth ministries in recent years. Grammatically and symbolically, the Torah is feminine in Hebrew and is personified as “She,” as in “She is a Tree of Life,” in Prov. 3:18.
- The Temple in Jerusalem was not a synagogue or Beth Midrash, where Torah scrolls were kept and studied.
- The Torah wrapper is not referred to as a “belt of righteousness.”
- The tree in the vision in the book of Revelation whose “leaves are for the healing of the nations,” (22:2), is a fruit tree — not a Torah scroll — and the text does not say that there are “39 leaves” as claimed in the video.
- The claim that “only one of great authority” is given a “finger” to touch the scroll is patently false. Any bar or bat mitvah, girl or boy, woman or man, who has completed the rite of passage, can chant the Torah according to the (minhag) custom in their congregation. Torah scroll pointers, called “hands,” (yadayim), not “fingers” are common gifts and possessions in Jewish families and communities.
- The claim that 90 percent of the Jews in the world have “never seen, approached or touched” Torah scrolls is utterly without foundation. The Torah is taken out of the Ark during Shabbat and other services; it is processed through the assembly twice where people reverence it (Her!) by touching and kissing it/Her.
- The frequent references to significant numbers may be an attempt to mimic the Jewish mystical tradition of Gematria that elicits meanings from numbers and their contexts. The speaker is devising his own system without reference to any of the classical texts in Judaism, frequently by simple free- and word-association.
- There is no verse in the scriptures where Jesus calls himself “the eternal government of God” as claimed by the speaker.
- The point that “these” — presumably Torah scrolls or just Holocaust Torah scrolls are only given to “cities in need of anointing” is false. Individuals, families and religious communities own and commission Torah scrolls and keep or give them as they see fit, to synagogues, Jewish seminaries and other schools and museums.
- Even if the speaker identifies as a Jew and has Israeli citizenship, he does not speak for “the Jewish people,” “the land of Israel” or “the state of Israel.”
- His address of Eddie Long as a biblical or Israelite king is without foundation in the scriptures or in reality.
- The notion that there is such a thing as a “king chromosome” is a fiction, as is the claim that it is kohenic, that is priestly; the Israelite and Judean monarchs — there were queens as well — were not priests.
- The man’s articulation of what “God wants,” is to say the least unsubstantiated outside that particular setting.
- The man never says how he knows that none of Long’s ancestors or relatives has ever seen a Torah scroll.
- While there are some traditional reflections on the human body — including DNA and chromosomes — in the mystical Kabbalistic tradition, the speaker is crafting a verbal montage without reference to the classical texts or their theologies.
- He attributes a quote to “Jewish doctors” stereotyping an entire community as conflating cellular biology with his Hebrew mysticism without actually naming or quoting any single “Jewish doctor” who holds such an opinion.
- The “crowns” in Torah scrolls stem from a particular — now-normative — calligraphy style, but other types of calligraphy have been used through the ages to produce legitimate Torah scrolls.
- The claim that the kings of Israel were crowned with Torah scrolls wrapping them has no foundation in the biblical text. According to the bible’s own chronology the written Torah did not come into existence until the reign of King Josiah in the sixth century BCE (2 Kgs 22), some four hundred years after the time of David. However, the great second century rabbi Hanina ben Teradion, was however wrapped in a Torah scroll and burned alive in his martyrdom. Perhaps he has confused or conflated the traditions.
- While the Torah poles are called, etzim, “trees,” they are not known as “justice and blessing.”
- The speaker’s claim that his speaking “life” to Eddie Long as a Jew has some meaning, is utterly without meaning.
- The speaker’s prediction that the ritual — his antecedent is unclear — will arouse either “death” or “life” in someone — Long? Or the congregation? — is his own Gnosticism, knowledge that is not shared by those outside that particular setting.
- There is no precedent for presenting anyone, even a fictitious Israelite-ish monarch with the Torah wrapper.
- The donning of the tallit, prayer shawl, is done by those who have completed their bar or bat mitzvah — whatever it was that just occurred, it had none of the requisite elements of a bat or bar mitzvah. In addition the tallit is donned by pulling it over one’s head and reciting the traditional prayer, which was not done. It is also not draped like a clergy stole.
- The elevation of Long lifted in the chair by four men seems to have been borrowed from Jewish wedding festivities and has noting to do with coronation; there is no evidence of this practice among Israelite or Judean monarchs.
- The Aaronic blessing (Num 6:24-26) is a blessing for the people and not a putative leader.
- It is unfortunate that the speaker chose to plunder the sacred traditions of Judaism as he invented novel interpretations of biblical texts and imagery affirm and elevate an individual who had admittedly broken the sacred trust between pastor and congregant.
In the famous words of Bob Cargill, “I shake my head…”