Bishop Eddie Long, leader of the megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, died on the morning of January 15 at the age of 63 as a result of cancer.
Telling his parishioners only that he was dealing with a “health challenge,” Long gave his last sermon as a part of the New Year service.
Long took over the Lithonia, Georgia church in 1987 with a congregation of 300 parishioners, but mushroomed the congregation’s numbers to over 25,000 to make it one of the biggest churches in the United States.
Long’s reign as pastor of New Birth was fraught with controversy from Long saying that lesbians deserved to die to his facing accusations of misconduct for assaulting four teenage boys. Long believed in “conversion” of homosexuals and was against marriage equality, leading a group of 20,000 against the proposal in 2004.
In one sermon Long told the congregation, “It is the most unattractive thing I have ever seen, when I see women wearing uniforms that men would wear, and women fighting to get in the military… The woman gets perverted to turn towards women… God says you deserve death.”
Long’s ministry was also one of opulence. He traveled in a private jet, lived in a million dollar home, and drove a Bently valued at $350,000.
He was born May 12, 1953 in Huntersville, North Carolina.
Long is survived by his wife of 27 years Vanessa; children Edward, Jared, Eric and Taylor; and three grandchildren.
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