The media, antigay Christians and LGBTs around the country tuned in Sunday to hear how Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of the mega Atlanta-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church would respond to charges in four lawsuits alleging he coerced four young men into engaging in gay sex when they were members of the church's youth group. Long denied the charges in a letter he sent to a local radio station. (The New York Times has a great backgrounder on Long and the church here.) Long has been known as a "crusader against homosexuality."
CNN reported that at in his 20-minute 8 a.m. service Sunday, Long said "this is probably the most difficult time" of his life. "I've been accused, I'm under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, that I am not a perfect man," he said. "But this thing, I'm going to fight."
However, Long said, his lawyers told him to fight the accusations not in the media but in court -- "the only place I think I will get justice." Long cautioned church members that he's "not the man that has been portrayed on the television. That's not me." He feels more "like David against Goliath, but I've got five rocks and I haven't thrown one yet."
Long then left the stage. Questions remain as to exactly how Long will fight the charges.