Friday, October 1, 2010

Bishop Bans Double-Wide // Eddie Long Forbids Congregation from Reading Book on the Prosperity Gospel

Bishop Eddie Long (who, by the way, is currently fighting allegations of sexual misconduct) has apparently forbidden his congregation (some 25,000 people) from reading Karen Spears Zacharias' book Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?: ('Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV). Click here to see Zacharias' blog post about the banning, and see the video below to learn a little about the book itself.

There are so many issues at work here. This NPR story calls the Eddie Long situation "the biggest and messiest black mega-church scandal ever." It also points out that Long has been HIV-positive for 25 years. Sexual scandals in churches hurt everyone. Whether the allegations against Long are true or false, no one is getting out of this unscathed.

And the fact that this is a black church makes the issue even messier. That NPR article talks about young black men seeking an adult back male as a role model and authority figure in communities where such a figure is hard to come by. Then there's the stigma against homosexuality within the black church (I'm generalizing, but Long pushes a view that gays can and should be "reconditioned" to be heterosexual). It's a sad story.

Then there's the issue of the prosperity gospel itself. And the banning of a book. Is it ever OK to ban books? I'm sure many of us have read Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451. What implications do book bannings have for soceity, the arts, and truth itself?

Just some thoughts, or questions. -- Sarah

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