“Old Guard” of Atlanta’s Civil Rights unhappy.

Some in Atlanta’s Civil Rights movement are unhappy with the decision to hold Coretta Scott King’s funeral at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia:

But some here are concerned that the message of New Birth’s pastor, Bishop Eddie L. Long, does not mesh well with the precepts of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was a champion for poor and disenfranchised blacks.

Why are they concerned? The Times explains:

Long also has angered some liberal pastors with his support of Bush’s faith-based initiative, which directs taxpayer money to church-sponsored groups, and his opposition to gay marriage. The latter position put him at odds with Coretta King, who interpreted her late husband’s message as one that was tolerant of gays and lesbians.

“Thus far, Long has not been connected to the social justice movement in the city of Atlanta,” said Robert M. Franklin Jr., a professor of social ethics at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. “People wonder if this [funeral] is a passing on of the mantle to one of the new leaders who hasn’t been a part of the grass-roots struggle.”

The decision to have the funeral at New Birth probably has more to do with the fact that the Church has a 10,000 seat sanctuary and that King’s daughter Bernice is an Elder in the Church. DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones is also a member of New Birth and says this:

“Dr. King preached prosperity — he said feed the poor … but he didn’t say be poor yourself, right?” Jones said. “So that’s what Bishop Long is saying. He just went a step further. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, but at the same time be in a position where you can help.”


  1. MountainThinker says:

    I myself don’t have any proof, but I do recall that Hosea Williams was an elected Republican when he served in the GA Legislature…

  2. Tommy_a2b says:

    I will have to do my homework to get the references but MLK Jr Indorsed Nixon over Hubert Humphrey. You also have to remember the evil Democrats didn’t want civil rights back then.

  3. Tommy_a2b says:

    I got my info when I was in College. Poly Sci Maj at GA ST Univ. I was given references to quotes by a yellow dog Dem Prof. He was explaining how the Rep and Dem Party had switched on Civil Rights.

  4. Tommy_a2b says:

    BTW for Billy- Do not believe me is what I prefer. Do some google homework. I will supply references if I can track them down. I still have all my old Poly Sci school stuff.

  5. Harry says:

    Lowery and Carter were preaching to the choir, but I don’t think they earned any points for the Democrats – at least not in Georgia.

  6. elaine says:

    I think that the decision was made to seperate the new guard from the old guard. Bernice King addressed it during the homegoing. She stated that it wasn’t just about the size of the sanctuary. It was about a new beginning (New Birth) of the civil rights movement. I think she wants to align the movement with more economic principles than race. I also think she wants to take over the King legacy to lead the next generation. The difference between her and the old guard could be that she espouses personal responsibility and faith to get out of poverty and programs that promote that. She may also take a stand against homosexual lifestyle in that businesses and government should not be forced to fund that lifestyle. These are all things that Pastor Long promotes and preaches. Plus Pastor Long isn’t a diehard Democrat which may upset a lot of the old guard.

  7. billy says:

    I do not have a hard time believing that Dr. King opposed Democrats in Georgia, but i do have a hard time believing that he endorsed Nixon over Hubert Humphrey. State is one thing, national is a whole different thing. I remain open to being proven wrong, though. (as was pointed out at the Bar tonight by one lobbyist, “Nixon was a flamming liberal compared to this crowd.”)

    Also, while I see it here, I want someone from the GOP to explain to me phrases like, “She may also take a stand against homosexual lifestyle in that businesses and government should not be forced to fund that lifestyle” or for that matter, “Special rights.” I’m a staunch supporter of LGBT rights and have run in many of those circles and I don’t ever remember anyone ever asking for anything that wasn’t already offered to heterosexual couples, or for that matter, forcing the funding of anything not already granted to heterosexual couples.

    I wont even get into “the bishop” tonight – I’m too tired.

  8. ddreyer says:

    I think you’ve intentionally omitted one of the key pieces of the article:

    “But his style does not always sit well with some members of the civil rights era’s old guard.

    In August, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Long received more than $3 million in salary, benefits and perks — including the use of a $350,000 Bentley — between 1997 and 2000 from a charity he founded. In response, Long told the newspaper that “Jesus wasn’t poor.””

    I think that in particular is what is troubling. As a Christian, my understanding of the gospels has much less to do with amassing great wealth than in accepting the teachings of Jesus, spreading that message and helping others.

    And forget about supporting Nixon or Humphrey, Dr. King was a liberal. Don’t forget he was assassinated while in Memphis to speak in support of a labor rally. This is after King had opposed the war in Vietnam. Mrs. King was also a liberal, pressing the war on poverty as a key issue.

    And I think we all know that the Dems and Pubs in the South switched on issues of race. When Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act he noted that this is going to cost us the South and thus Congress. We’ll, because of adept political leadership it didn’t happen until 1994, but it surely happened.

  9. buzzbrockway says:


    I can’t reprint the entire article which is why I provided a link. I’ll let Eddie Long defend his own actions, but his lifestyle is not why the Civil Rights people don’t like him. If they objected to his lifestyle, they’d also have to oppose Jesse Jackson, but they don’t.

    I have a family member that helps Churches set up their bylaws. He tells me Long’s lifestyle is not uncommon in large African-America Churches. Frequently, they want their Pastor to be the richest man in town. I’m not trying to start a theological debate, I’m just passing on what I’ve heard.

    I don’t go to his church and have only heard him preach once, but what I have heard about him is that he encourages members of his congregation to start their own businesses and not rely on the government for a handout. They offer training to help people who want to start their own business. Other large African-American Churches all over America do the same thing – with positive results. That stands in stark contrast to what the African-American leaders within the Democratic Party tell African-Americans.

    As to wether or not New Birth helps others, here’s another part of the article that may answer that:

    “Although his ministry may emphasize the relationship between spiritual and economic success, it does not ignore the downtrodden. After Hurricane Katrina, Long’s church mobilized to help about 5,000 Gulf Coast residents, providing meals and housing.”

  10. elaine says:

    My comment about government support and businesses being forced to support the homosexual lifestyle was simply an observation based on the teachings of many Christian pastors including Pastor Long. The old guard of the civil rights movement support equal rights for homosexual couples. I don’t know whether that is through civil unions or marriages. I speculate that Ms. King may not be so supportive of that because if civil unions or marriage is legalized then private companies and governments that don’t give marital benefits to same-sex couples will them have to do so.

  11. Decaturguy says:

    Elaine, do you not think for yourself?

    If we are truly going to honor Coretta Scott King, then you need to realize that she supported gay rights. She supported gay marriage. She supported helping the poor. She opposed violence and war. If that was “old guard,” and should be dismissed, then why were we honoring her?

    Nobody has forced any companies to “fund the gay lifestyle.” Some companies provide benefits to gay employees and their partners because it is good buisness and good PR.

  12. elaine says:

    hey I’m not trying to fight here. The question was about the old guard being mad about the choice of church for the funeral and about the differences between the old guard and the teachings of Rev. Long. I merely attempted to say what I think the differences are. Nothing more and nothing less.

  13. HeartofGa says:

    Who knew that somehow the choice of place for Ms. King’s service could be framed as a wedge issue for Democrats?

Comments are closed.