A Dallas radio personality is joining with a South Carolina minister at a rally Oct. 31 at the State Capitol to demand the resignation of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Bishop Eddie Long.
The rally was organized by Bishop Prophet H. Walker, pastor of True Light Pentecostal Church in Spartanburg, S.C.
“I am standing up for what is right,” said Ruben Armstrong, who has had a radio show in Dallas for 10 years. “Bishop Long has teamed up with the devil and he needs to resign. He is using the word of God to allegedly manipulate young men of his church for his own homosexual use.”
Armstrong said he expects a large turnout at the rally and that he has had calls from people around the country who told him they plan to attend.
Four lawsuits that claim sexual coercion have been filed against Long by former New Birth congregants. The lawsuits claim the sexual activity happened when the men were 17 years old, which is the age of legal consent in Georgia.
Four men—Anthony Flagg, 20, of Lithonia; Maurice Robinson, 21; Jamal Parris, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Spencer LeGrande, 22, of Charlotte, N.C.—have filed lawsuits against Long and the church. The suits claim that Long lured the men into sexual relationships with money, employment, gifts and lavish trips to locales including New York, Las Vegas and Africa, among others.
Each plaintiff is represented by Atlanta attorney B.J. Bernstein and they are seeking unspecified monetary damages.
The allegations of sexual coercion made against Long are similar to allegations made in Armstrong’s book “Snakes in the Pulpit” published in 2007. The book mentions allegations made against Long by two different men—both former youth pastors at New Birth.
Armstrong claims that two youth pastors from New Birth (who are not the same as any of the four plaintiffs in the current suits) “reached out” to him in 2006 with allegations against Long.
“They told me that Eddie Long was having sex with young men,” Armstrong said. “They said that it had been going on a long time.”
Armstrong said he flew to Atlanta to meet with the two young men, but the meeting never happened.
“The boys got scared because they thought they would be retaliated against,” Armstrong said. “They were afraid for their lives. I was not surprised at any of the [recent] allegations because they all sounded so familiar with what that group told me in 2006.”
“We are not responding to those inflammatory comments,” New Birth public relations director Art Franklin wrote in an e-mail response to The Champion regarding the rally and Armstrong’s allegations.
Long’s attorney, Curt Gillen, did not return a phone call by press deadline.
Armstrong called the allegations against Long “an abomination” and said it is his duty to attend the rally to demand Long’s resignation.