Monday, September 27, 2010

Muscular christianity

There is nothing new with interpreting the Bible in such a way as to support your world view.

In 1987, when he took over New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, it had only 300 members and a small building. He adopted a modern image, using slang and dressing like a hip-hop mogul. He borrowed ideas from evangelical and charismatic churches and expanded his reach through cable TV.

He also adopted what has become known as “muscular Christianity,” a male-dominated view that emphasizes a warriorlike man who serves as the spiritual authority and protector in a family. His books on relationships suggest that men get in touch with their inner “wild man” and channel their fighting instincts into taking responsibility for their lives. Women are to submit to their husbands, he says.

Bishop Long has been married twice and has four children.

B. J. Bernstein, a lawyer for the four young men who claim to have been coerced into sexual affairs with Bishop Long, said the pastor exerted a paternalistic and, at times, autocratic influence over young men.

The irony is that this black minister from Georgia is using arguments similar to ones used by southern clergy during the Civil War. From Harry S. Stout's book, Upon the Altar of the Nation (chapter eight):

On behalf of a chosen people, Confederate theologians and moralists had no need to justify the war -- or its conduct -- according to the secular "law of nations." Ancient Israel provided a better model for righteous war. Nor were Confederate moralists willing to invoke Jefferson's "spurious" claim that "all men were created equal.' They were Bushnellians all, grounding their identity and war around sacred texts and transcendent commissions.



Anonymous Ahab said...

A homophobic, chauvinist man who turns out to be a closet-case. Somehow, I'm not surprised.

May the full truth come out about Long's predatory behavior, and may his victims find justice.

11:14 PM  

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