Pastor Dennis A. Meredith, of Atlanta’s Tabernacle Baptist Church, home to many of the city’s LGBT Christians, speaks out against Eddie Long’s recent statement on Sunday where the megachurch pastor addressed his congregation, followed by a short statement to the media.
The video of Meredith was submitted to CNN’s “iReport” by a member of Meredith’s congregation. The clip was shot by independent filmmaker Jessica Imoto Harney.
Pastor Meredith identities himself as a gay, bi-sexual man and calls himself an “affirming pastor.” He addresses the controversy in which Long is accused of sexually abusing four young men. Meredith seems to side with the young men, stating he is concerned and disappointed. The pastor also reveals that he is saddened that no compassion has been offered to the accusers.
Meredith is one of the first pastors in the Atlanta Christian community to publicly speak out against Long, and states that his church has been the object of “dehumanizing language.” Meredith says that members of his church have left and joined Long’s church because they disagreed with his point of view that God loves everybody despite their sexual orientation.
According to a 2007 New York Times article, Meredith changed his preachings against homosexuality when his son revealed he was gay. Apparently shortly after, and in the clip, Meredith admits to coming out to his congregation, stating it was a process.
“Instead of him having the courage to stand up there and confess and to tell the truth about what he has done and who he is, he once again hides behinds his pulpit, and hides behind the crowds of people who protect him.” Meredith says that something should be said to end the homophobia that comes from so many African American pulpits.
Meredith, who clearly finds Long to be guilty of the accusations, continues, “I’m not saying he has to come out, but its an opportunity to tell the truth, and to bring healing to the community.”
Meredith says directly to Long, “You don’t go around dehumanizing this population while at the same time, doing what they do.”
Eddie Long addressed his congregation again on Tuesday evening. The pastor called the allegations and the media’s coverage “spiritual warfare.” A clip of his statement can be seen here.