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
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
Subscribe to the Week