A New Jersey pastor is grabbing headlines for telling his flock to stay off Facebook. Reverend Cedric A. Miller says he's seen 20 couples in his 1,100-member congregation run into marital troubles in the last six months as a result of a spouse reconnecting with an ex via Facebook. "[The connection] leads to conversations and there have been physical meet-ups," he says. "The temptation is just too great." That's why he's ordering 50 married church officials to delete their Facebook account or face dismissal, and he's "strongly" urging married congregants to sign off as well. Does the pastor have a point? (Watch Rev. Miller defend his position)
Yes — just ask a divorce lawyer: There's data to back up the pastor's claim, notes Kay Moeller at Gather. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81 percent of its members report that evidence from social networking sites has figured in their divorce cases over the last five years. That's a "high number of married miscreants." Maybe it really is "best" for married people to stay off Facebook, avoid their old flames and just "let sleeping dogs lie."
"Pastor orders church officers to quit Facebook"
If your marriage is strong, Facebook isn't an issue: "Just because some people aren't strong or secure enough in their marriages to [use Facebook] without cheating, doesn’t mean that everyone who is married... will cave to the temptations," says Sam Diaz at ZDNet. While social networking may lead those in "troubled marriages" astray, it's a blatant "abuse of power" for this pastor to order all his married employees to delete their accounts.
"Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook"
Facebook is just the latest pop-culture scapegoat: "This is actually an old theme in fundamentalist and conservative churches," says Anthea Butler at Religion Dispatches. "Any sort of media, movies, television, radio, dancing was seen to be sinful, drawing Christians away from their first love: Jesus" and leading them astray. It seems social media "has become the latest 'sinful' activity...."
"Facebook: Internet highway to hell"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How Ronald Reagan turned America into a nation of children
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- The crusade against Iraq War supporters has forgotten someone: Hillary Clinton
- 8 things the world's most extraordinary survivors can teach you about resilience
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- This week I learned the moon might be littered with dinosaur fossils, and more
- Summer movie guide: All the films you should see in August
- Why scientists can't kill HIV
Subscribe to the Week