A few days ago, I had the pleasure to read Centino Kemp's first book, 'First Lady.' It is his story of his relationship with Bishop Eddie Long.
You would have had to have lived in a cave for the past few years to not know who Centino or Eddie are. Or not hear of the scandal that arose after it was revealed that Bishop Eddie Long had inappropriate relations with minors who came to his church, New Birth M.B.C., for mentoring and spiritual direction.
I have to say that this was one of the most moving stories I have EVER read!
You know, the way this story was portrayed in the media much was left out of the story. So we all were left to our own imaginations and devices as to what we thought happened between Eddie Long and Centino Kemp, as well as the others who came forward with their stories.
There was SOO much more to this story that was untold....until NOW!
I know we are living in a time where more and more church scandal is surfacing. And those who are still part of the whole church culture probably will choose to keep their heads in the sand and ignore not only this powerful rendition of what REALLY happened...but will choose to ignore the VERY real reality of child sexual abuse and exploitation...IN OUR CHURCHES!!!!!!
The media failed to tell, for instance, that Centino was raped by Long. That that sexual assault was Kemp's very first sexual experience. He was 16...some say that's a man...but legally, that is not. He was still a MINOR! And we all see the bulging muscles Eddie sports from his pulpit every week. He was MUCH stronger than the teenage Centino...and it is my wholehearted belief that something as traumatic as rape and assault can MOST definitely 'convert' an already struggling teenage boy from a kid who merely questioned his sexuality....to a full-fledged, openly gay man.
I have known other homosexual men who I know were assaulted as kids or teens by other men. They have confided in me that before the assault, they only questioned their sexuality, but did NOT act on it. It wasn't until someone TOOK their innocence, TOOK their virginity, TOOK their manhood from them that they just went ahead and say 'Ok...yeah. I'm gay....' And walked on in that lifestyle.
Having been in ministry myself...I have also heard of stories of the most revered of 'bishops' who would 'tear the house down,' preaching 'holiness,' heaven or hell messages....and they were the VERY ONES taking boys' virginities, introducing them to the lifestyle, pornography...and some even to HIV and AIDS!!!!!
I recall getting an email from a church prayer group of a 'bishop' who I actually went to school with. I knew this guy in high school. He never looked like he ever 'struggled' with his sexuality. He later went on to pastor a church, get married, have kids...the whole nine. Holiness preacher. One of the BEST preachers and singers I have ever heard!
They sent me an email asking for us to pray for 'bishop' because it turned out that this 'man of God' was being taken to court...seems like he was having sexual relationships with other young men in the church we once all went to!!!!!!
I was literally SICKENED to my stomach!
How can this 'man of God,' one I went to school with, to boot, been living two different lifestyles????? He sure had me fooled!
This saddens me SOOO much....and ANGERS ME!
It's easy for a lot of people to laugh, joke, make fun and just look at the average homosexual man and say 'Hmmmph!'
And I admit...sometimes even I come a little hard on them...
But I CAN say I can relate to being sexually abused in the church...by leadership. I CAN say I can relate to the struggles.
And it turns my stomach that so many who claim to love God would continue to allow GROWN MEN to take away the manhood and innocence of our most vulnerable population within the church system....of our kids!
I want to talk to all those church people who wanna point the finger and make gay men and lesbian women out to be such horrible people....
NO...I don't condone or support the lifestyle. I KNOW deliverance and restoration IS possible.
BUT...YOU church people are the REASON why these young men and women are the way they are!!!!
How can I say that?
You sit back and let these nasty preachers turn these kids out.....TIME and TIME again...and say nothing. And do NOTHING. You let them stay in your pulpits and preach you happy...while they go home and turn out someone else's child!
Then when they grow up and be whatever and do whatever, you want to say 'EWWWWW?'
YOU CAN'T SAY DIDDLY SQUAT!!!!!!
From the mothers of yesteryear that knew that the young men singing in their choirs were turned out by the pastors (gay men sang with Mahalia Jackson, Albertina Walker, Inez Andrews...and many other gospel greats) and no one did A THING!
Centino, keep sharing your story. Don't be ashamed of what you have been thru...your story is going to help so many....You are a brave young man who has been to hell and back! I do believe God IS with you. God WILL perfect that which concerns you....don't you worry! May God keep protecting you....
You all who no longer wish to keep your heads in the sand on what kind of stuff is going on behind the scenes of the church-who wish to hear a REAL story of not just child abuse in the church...and a story of SURVIVAL-YOU NEED TO GET THIS BOOK!
I can tell you that it is somewhat graphic...but if you're not too religious to really see what's going on in these churches...I DARE you to get a copy of this book TODAY!
(I promise you..if you're REALLY saved, you won't lose your salvation reading it! lol)
This book had me in tears....