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Pastor: Facebook is encouraging adultery
November 18th, 2010
01:20 PM ET

Pastor: Facebook is encouraging adultery

A New Jersey pastor is asking married  members at his church to delete their Facebook accounts because he says it encourages adultery.

The Rev. Cedric Miller of Neptune  made the demand after 20 couples at his church ran into difficulties after a spouse reunited with an old love interest, the Los Angeles Times reported in an article.

The article, which quotes an Associated Press story, says Miller had asked married couples in his church to share their Facebook passwords with spouses, but couples still ran into problems.

Miller, pastor at the Living Word Christian Fellowship church, says he’s now demanding that 50 married church leaders delete their Facebook accounts or resign.

Anthea Butler, a columnist with Religion Dispatches magazine, says Miller is invoking an old theme in fundamentalist and conservative churches: that any new media - like movies, television and radio - is  sinful.

What is interesting to me is that the conservative Christian cry used to be stop watching porn on the internet, or  your kids would be pimped out on the internet by perverts. Now, social media has become the latest “sinful” activity.

Still, Butler in her column entitled, “Facebook: Internet Highway to Hell,” says she could sympathize with the pastor.

So I am not surprised that the pastor is demanding all of his leadership cease and desist from Facebook. After all, looking up an old flame or your teenage dream à la Katy Perry is just the first step down the road to perdition - especially if your home life isn’t exactly what it used to be.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Ethics • News media • Pastors

soundoff (346 Responses)
  1. justice bird

    Don't worry. All the church leaders will still be able to use http://www.justicebird.com.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  2. Brian

    What does the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart have to say about this?

    November 18, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
    • xn

      hahaha

      November 18, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  3. Jon

    Remember, if marriage is outlawed, only outlaws will have in-laws. This pastor is an idiot. Another self-righteous jerk on a power trip.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
    • eggs

      and you sir, have a convoluted writing style... which isnt a plus

      November 18, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  4. Steve

    Great, another self-righteous Christian leader. He probably just doesn't want the 50 leaders to see what he's really up to...creeping for little boys in Thailand.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
    • smack

      very imaginitve steve

      November 18, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
  5. worraps

    Jesus said "if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away...if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away". Detractors of Jesus and of the Christian faith will quickly pounce on this statement as ludicrous, and yes, if you take this passage literally, it IS ludicrous. He meant that if you really desire to please God and be close to Him, you will remove any known obstacles or inroads that cause you to sin. We are to voluntarily police ourselves, and the people in this church apparently were not doing that. It is a shame that the pastor had to come up with the idea to have the parishoners curb what was apparently in their hearts via technology like Facebook. But I think the bigger picture is: what is in your heart? If you leave yourself open to every whim, feeling and impulse, you will find yourself quickly accomodated! Christians have an enemy who is called Satan, and his very name suggests deceit. He will use any means to lure us away from living the truth. People who are not Christians do not have a "new" nature, and it is foolishness to them. Christian life is a struggle; it's like a seed pushing up through a stone! Only God can make that happen, but we have to be willing to grow.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @worraps

      Since everyone is free to interpret any religious text individually and may even create their own, we have secular laws to take care of any actual crimes.

      "Self-regulation" is one of the biggest problems in the world. We see the effects of self-regulation in every profession, every church, every industry, and even every country.
      In almost every case, the corruption that results is almost guaranteed because of the massive blind-spot we all have concerning human behavior.

      Pick a problem like pollution and industries and their rabid calls for de-regulation come to mind. Child abuse and the "self-regulation" of the Catholic Church comes to mind.

      Religion is not an excuse to avoid accountability, yet that is what so many people like to use it for.
      "Sin" is spiritual, crime is secular.
      When a church hides criminal behavior it is abusing it's freedoms and rights and committing additional crimes against society by hindering justice.

      With Facebook, they have already tripped over their own self-regulation more than once, am I right? And so many posters here are calling for total avoidance of "temptations". What a joke.

      You cannot avoid reality that easily.
      Relying upon the delusional crutch of religion, you have weakened your ability to make rational decisions, like refusing to commit adultery.

      Running away from your Facebook page is just refusing to face the hard truths of the situation.
      But if that's the only thing you think will work for you, go ahead.
      But let's not have the religious right suddenly try to outlaw Facebook as a den of iniquity or tempter's lair.
      Some might even like that silly sort of reaction, seeing how we already have thousands of such "busybody" laws in these United States.

      A sad mess. Religious people deluded into using delusional labels for things, actions, etc, using delusional decision-making, and imposing their delusional value systems on everyone else wherever they can.

      Yep, you guys can take your religious "self-regulation" and shove it where you like to stick your heads all the time.
      It doesn't impress me much as being an effective way of living together on the same planet.

      And if I had a Facebook page, I'd go into an even longer rant. 😛

      November 19, 2010 at 12:02 am |
    • zombie_jesus

      hey worraps : STFU : with that scripture crap. some people find it offensive.

      November 19, 2010 at 2:14 am |
  6. Valerie

    I agree with the pastor in that if Facebook is used improperly and the mind is allowed to "wander", it could easily be used a a tool for evil. What is important to remember is that marriage and your mate is to be held in high esteem and one should not sneak and look up old flames. It only leads to trouble.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
    • NL

      But that's the same for many things, right?
      Not everyone who drinks will develop a problem with alcohol. Not everyone who becomes rich will become greedy. So why assume that everyone on facebook will become promiscuous? Lots of people can probably handle the temptation just fine. Besides, aren't you just as likely to meet up with folks at church events? Can't see them banning those though, can you?

      November 19, 2010 at 12:19 am |
    • zombie_jesus

      Valerie.. one doesn't "need" facebook to look up an old flame, they can also use the whitepages. Should the Whitepages be
      chastised as well? should we get rid of coffee shops or bookstores? if someone has it in their mind to cheat they are going to cheat. period. Sure, Facebook can be used as a tool to facilitate, but adultery has been around for centuries, Just ask King Henry the XIII.

      November 19, 2010 at 3:39 am |
  7. ty

    being in a church full of people could encourage adultury also if you arent able to control your emotions....the pastor needs therapy

    November 18, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  8. hotatheist

    Well, clearly this is the doing of the devil...again!
    Let's not forget how he tried to trick us into believing in evolution...all those fossils and "evidence" he planted, the faithful know better-it's quite obvious the Earth is about 6,000 years old, the bible says so!

    November 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
    • NL

      The devil doesn't have that kind of power. He only tempts people using what's already available, like how he may have tempted people into reading the Bible literally. If the fossils were planted to tempt us it was God's doing on the devil's suggestion a la Job.

      November 19, 2010 at 12:24 am |
  9. BeenThere

    Modern technology has made it easier to cheat on spouses – that said – those who want to cheat will find a way – technology or not. Guys and gals were cheating long before Facebook, cell phones, etc. and if so inclined will find a way to cheat no matter what. Cheating while married says volumes about you and your character – thus it is a character flaw – that – I might add – is not easily overcome. Much truth in the old adage – once a cheater....

    November 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  10. Smokey

    Social networking and the online world in general is a dangerous threat to traditional religious faith and practice. I say, the amish have the right idea: all our technological advance and celebration of our own brilliance only takes us further away from God, family, and the things that truly matter in life.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  11. hobag

    It's a lack of self control. Period. Lots of people connect with old friends all the time. If you don't have enough self control in that situation you are fail.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  12. margeaux

    it seems sharing passwords, deleting FB accounts will actually break down trust. GOD is totally based on faith, you believe or you don't, but GOD's not going to pop out of the "clouds" to proove himself. this is the same as love (HA! GOD IS LOVE!) either you trust your spouse or you have no business getting married..

    having said that, PASTORS NEED TO STFU and let people have their own relationships with God.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  13. Jessica

    Facebook is a symptom. Don't mask the marital problem, fix it!

    November 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
  14. Dave

    Heck, I'd recommend everyone getting rid of facebook for many reasons, let alone possible adultery. It's such a bizarre, artificial and publicized way to socialize. Leaving facebook was the best decision I ever made. Yay for the realo world.

    November 18, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
  15. Joe

    As soon as an article says "a pastor says" or "a pastor asks" is when I stop reading. Such articles should replace pastor with: "a person who believes in nonsense, has no moral authority, is making a living off of deceiving others, and wants to tell people what to do says..." Oh and by the way the religious have a higher divorce rate than the non-religious.

    "Christians are more likely to experience divorce than are non-Christians, "Barna Research Group, 1999-DEC-21

    November 18, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
  16. Lanfear

    The only difference Facebook makes is... you get CAUGHT much easier! Same with text messaging... even e-mail, but that was much easier to cover up. Chances are if one rekindles an old flame (through FB or whatever), their current marriage was probably not working out for them anyways. You can't blame FB for allowing people do do what they want to do.

    November 18, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
  17. Vinode

    I use FB to keep in touch with members of my religious community, who are scattered all over the globe. We find it a great medium for sharing information and photos about our communities, and letting each other know about upcoming events and developments. Sounds like this pastor and his flock have got their own problems, but don't blame FB.

    November 18, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  18. Kyle

    Religion drives people into mental illness. It is like a mentally degenerative disease.

    November 18, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
    • smack

      religion has never resulted in anything good EVER

      November 18, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
    • Dave

      lol. Atheists amuse me. "OMG RELIGION, RAAAAAAAGGGGGGEEEEEE......"

      November 18, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
    • Jen

      it's a very sad world we live in when what you said is true...it's a sad state of Religion NOT reflecting Christ...and it doesn't...sad but true. I believe in God and am a very spiritual person but I have to say...religion doesn't seem to be a reflection of anything but controversy and icky stuff these days.

      November 19, 2010 at 12:33 am |
    • Buddha

      I guess some people are easily amused. After all you believe the bible as all being true. LOL You would learn more from the home shopping network!

      November 19, 2010 at 12:33 am |
  19. Geeshgirl

    We have a no-ex policy on our accounts. Period.

    November 18, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
  20. Bill

    Facebook is encouraging adultery? One could say the same of church.

    November 18, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.