Megachurch pastor accused of seducing young men says faith has been strengthened

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Eddie Long, the American megachurch pastor accused of seducing young men, says his faith has been strengthened.

In his second Sunday sermon since the allegations broke, the Atlanta pastor made no explicit reference to the four lawsuits against him.

Instead, he told thousands of congregants: “In times of challenge, there are several things that come out. Your faith will be strengthened or weakened. My faith is being strengthened.”

He added that he was “not going to be pulled into a street fight” and had no hate towards anyone.

But he directed his listeners to turn to a passage in the Book of Job that read: “Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the tent of the wicked will be no more.”

Last Sunday, he told his flock: “I’m going to fight.I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”

Mr Long, the leader of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, is being sued by four young men who are former members of his congregation.

All claim that he seduced them at the ages of 17 or 18 and that he took sexual favours and massages in return for holidays, jewellery, cash and cars.

The married father of four has a long history of preaching against gay rights and same-sex marriage and claims his church has “delivered” people from homosexuality.

The four men accusing him of sexual impropriety are Maurice Robinson, 20, and Anthony Flagg, 21, Jamal Parris, 23, and Spencer Legrande.

All have waived anonymity and claim Mr Long seduced them when they were aged 17 or 18.