Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Criticized for Giving Eddie Long Highest Honor at Funeral

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Criticized for Giving Eddie Long Highest Honor at Funeral

Two months after the death of controversial megachurch Pastor Eddie Long, some high-profile members of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, which he was a member of, are criticizing the organization for recognizing him with its highest honor despite his scandal-scarred life.

At Long's funeral held at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, in January, Thomas Battles, Jr., grand polemarch of the fraternity hailed the late preacher as the "ideal Kappa man" and recognized him with the Laurel Wreath pin. The pin is highest honor given to a Kappa member. And past recipients of the honor include tennis star Arthur Ashe and civil rights leader Dr. Leon Sullivan, according to The Philadelphia Tribune.

"Brother Long was indeed the ideal Kappa man," Battles said at Long's funeral. "On behalf of our brothers, we have this Laurel Wreath pin. With permission, this grand polemarch intends to give it to you right now."

South Carolina State Rep. Cezar McKnight told the Tribune, however, that Long did not deserve the honor.

"I was totally put off by the fact that we would give our organization's highest award to someone with the reputation of Eddie Long," McKnight, a fraternity member since 1996, said.

For years, up until the very day he died, Long, a married father, was dogged by a cloud of allegations stemming from lawsuits filed by multiple men in 2010 who claimed he engaged them in sexual acts.

He settled with his accusers — Anthony Flagg, Maurice Robinson, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande — in May 2011, approximately eight months after they charged that he had coerced them into having sexual relationships with him while they were teenage members of his congregation.

"He was an embarrassment to our organization," McKnight told The Tribune. "Eddie does not belong in the pantheon of great Kappas."

Kappa member Anthony Jackson told the publication that Long was nominated and approved for the award, which is given every two years, in 2009. The late preacher was slated to receive the award in 2011 but the scandal broke out in 2010, interrupting everything.

"Between 2009 and 2011 everything we knew about Eddie Long was different than at the time he was designated," Jackson who is the current keeper of records of the fraternity's Philadelphia alumni chapter.

Long never received the award in his lifetime and despite McKnight and other members of the fraternity being upset about what happened at Long's funeral, Jackson claimed, Long was not given the award in death.

"The polemarch did not convey the wreath on Eddie Long," Jackson said. "The Laurel Wreath is not awarded that way."

The Christian Post reached out to Spencer Tyrone Bruce, executive director of Kappa Alpha Psi, for comment on the matter Tuesday and was told he was in meetings and was the only one authorized to speak on what happened at Long's funeral. A response was still pending at the time this story was published.


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