Bishop Eddie Long of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia is now accused of seducing three young men into having sexual relations with lavish gifts and trips.
The majority of the 25,000 or so church members stand behind Long's personality and public persona and against the allegations. A lot of the public, however, have their doubts. After all, this wouldn't be the first church official to have sexual relations with a young, male member of the church, now would it?
So where do the pictures fit in? They seem to be the real controversy-turner out of the whole affair. Many allege that the photos, while not at all being proof of guilt, certainly do shed some suspicion over Long's claims of innocence.
Long's attorney had this to say about the pictures: "The photos don't corroborate these charges. [Long] is a health advocate, he's a weight-lifter. He's a fellow who's gonna go to work and he's gonna have on a muscle shirt. And you know he may show up in church in a muscle shirt. There's nothing really in those photographs that seems to me corroborative of these allegations."
By all means, he's right. The pictures in and of themselves mean nothing. After all, who wouldn't be proud of a body like that? It's certainly understandable enough on its own. The important thing is the context in which the pictures are presented. As simple pictures taken off of, say, Facebook for example they prove nothing. However, allegations in the case say that these pictures were texted from Long's phone to the phone of one of the young adults who are accusing him of molesting them. Puts a bit of a different light on the images, doesn't it?
Long is also well known for being one of the top African American homophobes and a dissenter of LGBT. Now those comments just have the whole world wondering if those anti-bisexual comments were spurred by inner conflict.
Unfortunately for those who believe Long is guilty, the pictures themselves, while possibly stirring public controversy, don't make the case needed to convict the bishop. Hopefully the prosecution has something more than that up their sleeve.
What do you think about these pictures? Do they not relate to the case at all or do you think they help to make the case for these boys?