So You Think You Can Scandalize? Rightwing Christians Top Each Other With Juicy Stories in September.
Not to be outdone by Christine O'Donnell's little witchcraft escapade, The Vatican and Bishop Eddie Long have chimed in with their own scandals.
For a change, the Vatican scandal was not about pedophilia, but about money. Specifically money LAUNDERING:
The Catholic Church has suffered yet another blow to their tarnished image, as Italian investigators seized $30 million from a Vatican bank account Tuesday, stating the action was the result of a possible money laundering scheme. The Vatican said they were “perplexed and surprised” by the subsequent investigation and seizure of a small percentage of the Church’s cash assets. Law enforcement authorities in Italy say the seizure was a precaution, as prosecutors investigate the Vatican Bank’s Director and Chairman in connection with violations of Italy’s anti-money laundering laws. While Italian authorities are not accusing the Catholic Church of directly laundering the money seized, questions have been raised as to the origin of the $30 million.
Well, those cute little Prada shoes really do cost a bundle.
The pontiff might be breathing a sigh of relief that it was only money and not another sexual abuse case, as is the one with self-proclaimed "Bishop" Eddie Long.
Two lawsuits filed late Tuesday in DeKalb County accuse Bishop Long of inappropriate sexual relationships with two young men from his church.
Maurice Robinson and Anthony Flagg, both in their early 20's, claim in their lawsuits that, "Long utilized his spiritual authority to coerce certain young male members and employees of defendant New Birth into engaging in sexual acts and relationships."
The suit claims the congregation is likely unaware of the practices. But it also says church money was used to foster the relationships.
Robinson, in his suit contends Long used, "monetary funds from the accounts of defendant New Birth to entice the (young men) with cars, clothes, jewelry, and electronics.
God, Vetting and Wikipedia
The systemic problem of titles and their automatic reverence is one that is rife in Long's group. Looking back into Long's life takes a suspension of belief: the title of "Bishop" is self-administered since Baptists do not recognize hierarchy in clergy. And while Long's Master of Divinity degree from Interdenominational Theological Center is valid, his PhD in Pastoral Ministry from the International College of Excellence is suspicious: the ICE is accredited by Accrediting Commission Internationalwhich is NOT recognized by the Department of Education.
Long's "prosperity gospel" gave root to an overblown image complete with fancy cars, diamond rings and a luxury estate.
And because of his "Bishop-ness", Long got away with financial scandal:
OK, kids, stay tuned!!On August 28, 2005 the Atlanta Journal-Constitution printed a front page spread accusing Long of mishandling funds that were funneled through a charity started by Long. The article reports that from 1997-2000, the non-profit charity, Bishop Eddie Long Ministries Inc., provided him with at least $3.07 million in salary, benefits and the use of property. Long contended that the charity did not solicit donations from members but instead gained its income from royalties, speaking fees and several large donations.