Messianic minister, Rabbi Ralph Messer, instructed the congregation at New Birth Missionary Baptist church in Lithonia, Georgia, to wrap Eddie Long in a tallis, which is a ritual Jewish shawl. Messer speaks to the congregation, saying, “He’s a king. God’s blessed him. He’s a humble man. But in him is kingship. In him is royalty. In him was a land of Israel. He now is raised up from a commoner to a kingship.”
Long is raised onto a throne in the sanctuary to demonstrate his kingship. Ecstatic applause of his parishioners fills the room as he is elevated to such a position.
However, others leaders throughout the religious world do not find this ceremony nearly as applause worthy. A video circulating through the web shows the ceremony in its entirety. Religious leaders have stated that the entire ceremony is completely inappropriate and repulsive.
Director of Media Relations at the National Baptist Convention, the Rev. Morris Tipton, reached out to The Grio concerning his feelings about the video. He was not impressed. Tipton expresses his concern of elevating Long by saying, “God has called us to be serving leaders and not celebrities.” Tipton represents the largest convention of African American Baptists within the United States.
Rabbi David Shiff, member of the Messianic Jewish synagogue in Roswell, Congregation Beth Hallel, did not at all support Messer’s claim to being a Messianic Jew.
“Ralph Messer in no way represents Messianic Judaism. He is not affiliated with any legitimate branch of Messianic Judaism. His actions in no way reflect the position of Messianic Judaism. I found the presentation to be repulsive and inappropriate.”
The way that Long used the scrolls of the Torah, a divine book in Judaism, offended Jews throughout the nation that have seen the video. Messer, during the video, mentions that the Torah used in the ceremony was “a Holocaust scroll.” He mention the Poland concentration camps during the Holocaust, at which time six million Jews were brutally murdered by Hitler’s Nazis.
Even a scholar of the Holocaust did not slightly understand his point with bringing up such a subject during a ceremony. Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University, David P. Gushee, reached out to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding the use of the scrolls in Long’s ceremony. He stated, “The connection of the Torah scroll to the Holocaust and then to Eddie Long is incomprehensible to me. What was the point?”