- (Photo: AP Photo / John Amis, Pool)
When Bishop T.D. Jakes was asked recently why he had not yet said anything publicly regarding the recent allegations against Bishop Eddie Long, the prominent megachurch pastor put it simply.
“I said there’s nothing to say,” Jakes recalled to his congregation Sunday.
“You can’t make great decisions with poor information. Until you can separate facts from conjecture, there is nothing to say,” the charismatic Dallas preacher added.
Last week, four young men filed separate lawsuits against Long, accusing him of using his position as a spiritual authority to coerce them into sexual relationships when they were members of his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga.
"Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as Bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship," allege each of the suits, filed on three different dates – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday – by the same lawyer, Brenda Joy Bernstein.
Each of the lawsuits then went on to describe the personal allegations of each plaintiff, including overnight encounters and specific sexual acts that were performed when they were just a year or two above Georgia’s legal age of consent – 16.
Since news of the lawsuits broke out, Long's spokesman, Art Franklin, has told the media that the pastor "categorically and adamantly denies these allegations."
He further told CNN that the lawsuits are "a shakedown for money by men with some serious credibility issues."
The men "are not innocent victims" and they have known "the wrong side of the law," Franklin said after the first two lawsuits were filed Tuesday. One of the men, notably, had been charged with breaking into Long's office in June to steal items - such as jewelry - that could be sold for cash.
"There are a lot of things that are out there being said, and before rushing into any judgment on Bishop Long in this court of public opinion, which is taking place right now, I really do hope that you would look at these guys who are throwing mud and just consider the source," Franklin said.
On Sunday, as Long was giving his first public response on the matter before his 25,000-large congregation, Jakes of the Potter’s House in Dallas similarly advised his 30,000-large flock to “hold your peace” and just “keep praying” – for New Birth and for "everybody who is adversely affected."
“When all this is over, one thing is for sure – somebody, if not everybody in it, is going to need the blood [of Jesus Christ],” Jakes exclaimed.
“So we’re just standing in the corner with a blood bucket. And whoever needs some, can get some. I don’t know about you, but before sprinkling some on anybody else, I want to put a little bit of this on myself,” the popular preacher added.
In the meantime, Jakes said "Christians should just pray” and know that once everything is said and done, “God will give the victory.”
“Nobody knows what’s going to come out of this, but we know at the end of the day that God is in control,” he said.
“As a sister church, we stand in prayer for the New Birth family.”