September 23rd, 2010
09:45 PM ET

Atlanta Pastor Faces Sex Abuse Allegations: Join the Live Chat

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Tonight on 360°, the charges against megachurch pastor Eddie Long and what he's saying about them. Plus, the GOP's 'Pledge to America' and more.

Want more details on what covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog
September 23rd, 2010
09:31 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Bishop Sex Scandal

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Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight, one of the biggest names in the evangelical community is facing allegations he coerced three young men to have sex with him. Bishop Eddie Long of the 25-thousand member New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta denies the charges.

"Let me be clear: The charges against me and New Birth are false," Long said in a statement read by his attorney on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. "I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply, but my faith is strong and the truth will emerge."

20-year old Maurice Robinson, 21-year-old Anthony Flagg met Pastor Long through his LongFellows Youth Academy.  The third man accusing Long,  23-year-old Jamal Parris, joined New Birth whne he was 14. He went on to become a summer camp counselor at the church and served as Long's personal assistant.

Long is known for publicly denouncing homosexuality.

We'll talk about the case with Ted Haggard, who was forced out his own megachurch four years ago after a scandal involving drugs and a gay prostitute. You’ll also hear from Pastor Troy Sanders, an openly gay minister in Atlanta.

We'll also continue Dr. Sanjay Gupta's special report on a team of disease detectives trying to save two very sick patients. One is a little girl, the other is a mother of five children. They've each faced a grueling series of tests at the National Institutes of Health's Undiagnosed Disease Program. We'll tell you about the important clues that were found.

Plus, the video that's too hot for Sesame Street. It's tonight's shot.  And, we'll tell you how to vote for the CNN Hero of the year.

Don't miss these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
September 23rd, 2010
06:35 PM ET

Atlanta pastor says he will answer allegations Sunday

CNN Wire Staff

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) - In a statement read on a syndicated radio show Thursday, Atlanta-based megachurch pastor Eddie Long denied he had coerced young male church members into sex, as alleged in three lawsuits filed against him.

"I have been through storms and my faith has always sustained me," Long, pastor of the 25,000-member New Birth Missionary Baptist Church said in the statement, read by attorney Craig Gillen on the "Tom Joyner Morning Show." "I am anxious to respond directly to these false allegations, and I will do so. However, my lawyers counseled patience at this time."

"Let me be clear: The charges against me and New Birth are false," the statement said. "I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply, but my faith is strong and the truth will emerge."

Long asked for patience "as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges" and requested prayers for himself, his family and the church. He said he will respond to his congregation from the pulpit on Sunday.

Later Thursday, Long posted a message on Twitter reading, "Thanks for all your prayers and support! Love you all."

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar
September 23rd, 2010
05:56 PM ET

Beat 360° 9/23/10

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-OH, holds a copy of "A Pledge To America", while flanked by Republican members of Congress during an event at the Tart Lumber on September 23, 2010 in Sterling, Virginia (Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Update: Beat 360° Winners:

Eli Lazar
"On page 112 is our pledge to no longer wear neckties so we blend in with the working man"


Joel Schwartzberg
Falls Church, VA
"When you're done reading, please recycle. That's how we put it together in the first place."

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
September 23rd, 2010
02:57 PM ET

Reporter’s Notebook: Reflections on practicing medicine on the fringe

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

(CNN) - A medical school professor once said to me “mysteries are not hidden from us, they are hidden for us.” It was my first year of medical school, and I was slugging through gross anatomy, pathology, embryology and immunology. With long hours and little sleep, I was happy to reduce the number of mysteries in my life, and simply learn all the course work. Over the subsequent years, though, I thought a lot about what he said, and what he was trying to tell me. What is the value of recognizing a mystery, and then going about solving it?

Well, in the world of medicine, it means a great deal. Too many patients are told their symptoms or ailments don’t fit into any known pattern or doctors have never seen a patient like this before. Some of our greatest progress in medicine has been when we truly explored a mystery and tried to make sense of it. While it is easy to write something off, as an anomaly or an aberration or “not fitting within the standard deviation,” a mystery may in fact teach us something, and perhaps advance the entire field of medicine in the process.

That is the mentality of a special place at the National Institutes of Health, known as the Undiagnosed Diseases Program or UDP. Dr William Gahl runs the program, and in many ways he is exactly what you would expect. To be clear, he is not Dr House. Instead, he is a pleasant, professorial type, who doesn’t abuse pain pills. But, like House MD, he does have the uncanny ability to see through problems that many other doctors have missed. He misses nothing, and his clinical exam is often better than a room full of diagnostic equipment. Keep in mind, the patients he sees have often already been seen by the “best” places in the country – including the Mayo Clinic, Michigan ,Stanford, etc.

Related: Elite medical unit is last hope for patients with mystery illnesses

He will be quick to point out that he is not necessarily “smarter” than his academic colleagues, but he does have a few things going for him. First of all, he gets to lay a fresh set of eyes on a patient, and doesn’t succumb to a group think mentality which can plague a hospital. That is: after one doctor proposes a diagnosis, other doctors will often second that opinion, after reading it in the chart. Gahl starts with a blank sheet, and goes from there. Second, he is not looking for the obvious things. His job is to make sense of the aberrations or anomalies, and pay closer attention to the fringe. Finally, while most doctors are not accustomed to failure, and will do anything to avoid it, Gahl and his team embrace it. They recognize that a failure rate of 85 to 90 percent is the price they pay to treat the rarest of patients, and to advance science in the process.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Sanjay Gupta
September 23rd, 2010
01:03 PM ET

Video: Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 revealed

(CNN) - A Scotsman providing free daily meals to 400,000 children, a former child soldier clearing land mines in Cambodia and a Texas builder giving injured vets mortgage-free homes are among the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010.

The top 10 - remarkable individuals nominated by viewers for their sacrifices and accomplishments - were revealed by CNN's Anderson Cooper at 1 p.m. Thursday on CNN.com.

This year marks CNN's fourth annual global search for everyday individuals changing the world. Since January, the network has aired weekly profiles of CNN Heroes, chosen from more than 10,000 nominations submitted by viewers in 100 countries.

A panel comprised of luminaries recognized for their own dedication to public service selected this year's top 10 CNN Heroes. The blue ribbon panel includes humanitarians, activists and philanthropists such as Muhammad Ali, Sir Richard Branson and Yo-Yo Ma.

In addition to the $25,000, each of this year's top 10 CNN Heroes will be honored at "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," airing from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Thanksgiving night, November 25.

Full story

Filed under: CNN Heroes
September 23rd, 2010
11:52 AM ET

Political Theater: House GOP's 'Pledge to America'

Online political junkies and incessant truth squadders, we need your help.

For Thursday's installment of "Political Theater," AC360°'s Tom Foreman will be taking a look at the new agenda document released by House Republicans.

You can read the document here.

Pore over the document and tell us what you think of the major claims that it makes. Render your own verdict in the comments section below. As always, you have 4 choices: “Right on,” “It’s a stretch,” “Tall tale,” or “Big fat lie.” Be brief but please give us the evidence in support of your verdict. And two more things: CNN’s comment policy applies and be responsive to our request for help; only submit comments that will help us fact check the document.

Related: GOP leaders pledge to cut government, taxes

Filed under: 360° Radar
September 23rd, 2010
11:19 AM ET

Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 to be revealed

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CNN’s Anderson Cooper reveals the 2010 Top Ten CNN Heroes at 1pm ET on CNN.com.

Related: Who chose the Top 10?

Filed under: CNN Heroes
September 23rd, 2010
11:15 AM ET

Letters to the President: #612 'The party like it's 1994'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama and the Dems have been rattled for months by a simple number: 1994. And today the Republicans are slated to bring it up again…

Dear Mr. President,

People love it when your write down a commitment. There is clearly something reassuring about the idea that you’re willing to put it on paper, and to be held to it at a later date. Kind of like when you take your car in for work and they give you a written estimate. The fact is, even if they call you back later and say the situation is not quite what they thought when they first opened the hood, it is helpful to have everyone start on the same page.

That is why the Republicans’ Contract with America attracted the interest of so many voters back in 1994 just weeks before that midterm election in which your Democrats were steamrolled. Whether or not the GOP could deliver on those promises, voters liked the idea that Republicans were willing to write them down.

And now, it appears they are ready to do it again with their new “Pledge to America.”
OK, I’ll grant that the title lacks a little originality. For crying out loud, they’ve had more than 15 years to come up with something snappier, but then I guess they weren’t after that. That said, I think the potential impact of this could be huge.

You’ve been going around calling them the party of “no” and saying they have no plans. You’ve challenged them to explain what they would do for the economy, the deficit, and taxes if they took over. As long as they were unable or unwilling to answer, (and let’s face it, in large part they have been pretty close-mouthed about their ‘solutions’) you and the rest of the Dems looked triumphant despite all your other problems. But the minute they slap this down on the Capitol steps, I suspect you’re going to be in a wholly different part of the race.

September 23rd, 2010
11:06 AM ET
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