ATLANTA — Jewish leaders are criticizing a ceremony at an Atlanta megachurch in which Bishop Eddie Long was wrapped in a scroll and exalted as a "king" to the applause of his parishioners.
A video shows Rabbi Ralph Messer, a Messianic preacher, wrapping Long in a large scroll that is purported to be the Torah. Messianic Jews believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah, at odds with traditional Jewish theology.
The Torah is one of the most sacred objects in Judaism. Bill Nigut of the Anti-Defamation League says the ceremony is "horrifying simply because it's completely inappropriate and really awful."
Four former church members sued Long in late 2010 claiming he sexually coerced them. He settled the lawsuit in May.
Staff for Long and Messer did not immediately return calls seeking comment.