In the wake of Eddie Long's decision to settle sexual misconduct suits against him, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter is resigning as an elder at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church where he presides as bishop.
After vowing to his congregation to fight the allegations, the suburban Atlanta megachurch bishop last Thursday quietly settled lawsuits filed against him. Four men—all former members of Long's church now in their early 20s—claim the pastor used gifts, trips and money to coerce them into engaging in sex acts with him beginning when they were 17 or 18.
WSBTV.com is reporting that Bernice King, the youngest child of MLK and Coretta Scott King, made her final appearance at the Lithonia, Ga.-based New Birth on Sunday. King and Long both stood publicly against gay rights and gay marriage, and King continued serving at New Birth even in the wake of the scandal.
Although King has yet to make a public connection between her decision to exit New Birth and Long's decision not to fight the allegations of four young men launched against him last fall, the resignation may indicate her disappointment in his decision. News reports indicate King will speak on the topic during her radio broadcast on Praise 102.5 on late Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, CNN reports that New Birth's typically full parking lot was only half full on Sunday, the first time Long took the pulpit since his attorneys announced the decision to settle. CNN's John Blake reports the church complex "looked half deserted" and "the mood seemed flat."
Still, CNN reports, some loyalists like C.D. Dixon continue to stand behind the charismatic preacher. "I come back to the church even more now because the word is more powerful," she told CNN. "The cry from the bishop's belly is more now. We're not dealing with right or wrong. We're dealing with God's deliverance. I don't know if that makes sense to you."
For many, it may never make sense. For others, Long remains a man of God they are willing to follow despite the embarrassing scandal.
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