By Victor Ochieng
What will become of The New Birth Missionary Baptist Church after Bishop Eddie Long isn’t clear? But that’s something we can “wait and see.” What’s raising eyebrows is the fact that even before Long’s demise, numbers were already dwindling at the church, with some staff members, including Minister Bernice King, opting out.
Why did King, such a pillar in the ministry, excuse herself?
In her own words, she said she’d received a ministry call that she’d to obey. And, of course, to date, that’s what she’s busy with. However, not so many people bought her story and that’s why her exit still draws mixed reactions.
AToast2Wealth.com posted an article in which they talked about what may have prompted King to part ways with Long. King joined New Birth in the early 2000’s and became very instrumental to the church’s growth. Being the daughter of the late Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. and her activism background, her presence in the church attracted leaders, including the media. Long knew this very well capitalized on it to expand his church membership. Those who attended services at the church during King’s time will tell you Long used to parade her just to show how mighty the ministry was. The two worked quite closely. It even caught many by surprise that King accepted to participate in an anti-same-s*x marriage march in 2004, having been a strong crusader for the rights of the LGBTQ community. Together with her sister Yolanda and her mother Coretta Scott King, they were known for agitating for gay rights and, therefore, it was ironical to see her take part in the march. That infamous walk saw Long gain more fame as people, critics and supporters alike, seized every opportunity to air their thoughts on the issue.
Long would later become internationally renowned after his church hosted Coretta Scott King’s funeral, particularly because it was a high-profile event that was attended by many U.S. presidents. Clearly, this only happened because of the young King’s association with the church.
So, what would make these two strong partners break apart? It doesn’t look like it was about money or a fight for leadership. The “corporate church,” as they like to call it, had money and King wasn’t that badly positioned. This is why the AToast2Wealth.com article decided to look elsewhere – the events preceding her exit.
Come to think about it, King left the church around the announcement of Long’s settlement with the gentlemen from his church who had accused him of coercing them into a s*xual relationship. That development might have put King between a rock and a hard place, considering that she had participated with Long in the march against same-s*x marriage. How could someone who convinced her into joining such a march be accused of being involved in homos*xuality? If you argue that these may have just been fabrications, why would he agree to a private settlement?
For a principled person and daughter of a civil rights icon, King may have found it too bitter to swallow. And it didn’t take long before she announced her exit.