Unable to come to terms with her pastor’s secret lifestyle, Bernice King has left her position at New Birth Missionary Church, according to the AJC.
King, 48, the youngest and only surviving daughter of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, left her position as an elder on Sunday just days after Bishop Eddie Long and the church settled lawsuits brought by 4 men who say he coerced them with gifts, clothing and trips in exchange for sex.
King was an impassioned opponent of gay rights and gay marriage in particular. In 2004, King and Long walked side by side during a march against gay marriage that ended at the Martin Luther King grave site. It is well known in the lesbian community that King is not empathetic toward gays and lesbians. Especially since it has long been rumored that Bernice, who never married, is an undercover lesbian herself.
Both Long, 58, and Elder King made the fight against gay marriage their personal crusades. Conflicted church members looking for guidance from Long and King were often instructed to seek Jesus to rid themselves of their “sick” homosexual urgings. Meanwhile, Long and King battled their inner demons in seclusion, only to emerge bitter and broken people.
In a report written by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Long was called “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement.” In one sermon, he says to gays and lesbians, “God says you deserve death!”
Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist megachurch once had a membership of 25,000. But at the 8 a.m. service on the Sunday following news of the settlement, the congregation numbered in the hundreds.