Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

Summary: Can Facebook really be to blame for marriage infidelity - or is a New Jersey pastor being extreme by suggesting that married couples quit the social networking site?

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Can Facebooking lead to adultery? A New Jersey pastor says that the marriage counseling that he's been doing over the past 18 months suggests that the social networking site - by allowing people to reconnect with old flames - is creating marital trouble.

His solution: married couples should delete their Facebook accounts. And, to set an example, he is ordering some 50 married church officials to either quit the site or resign from their leadership positions. It's certainly a more extreme push than his previous suggestion that married couples share their login information with each other.

The Rev. Cedric A, Miller, senior pastor at the Living Word Christian Church in Neptune NJ, told the Asbury Park Press that a large percentage of his counseling lately has been for marital problems stemming from Facebook. From today's report:

Miller said there was no problem when people just met with friends from high school in a platonic way. But that has changed, he said, and now people are reigniting old passions and connecting with people who should stay in the past. He said a marriage can be going along fine when someone from the past breaks through and trouble begins.

Of course, he can't force the congregation members to delete their accounts but said he does have authority over the church leaders. And while he also acknowledged that some might see his actions as "controlling," he told the newspaper that his bigger concern is "to save families and marriages."

Rev. Miller, who is married and has a Facebook account to follow what his six children are up to, said he will delete his account to set an example.

Of course, the big question is whether Facebook is really the cause of marital problems? The Park Press report quotes psychologist and therapist William Rosenblatt:

I wouldn't say Facebook is the problem. What I would say is we live in a rapidly changing world, and we are facing stresses and opportunities that we've never had to face before. Facebook doesn't create dissatisfied marriages. People who are dissatisfied now have better means of creating support systems and networks that are much more vast, and it's much easier to connect with people that way.

So while Facebook may be the outlet where people in troubled marriages go for support or even online relationships that are more satisfying than the home relationship, it seems like a bit of a stretch to think that deleting a Facebook account will change things for some husbands and wives.

And the idea that a pastor can force a church leader to resign his position over membership in a social networking site - even if for a well-intended reason - is definitely an abuse of power. Just because some people aren't strong or secure enough in their marriages to be able to interact with others on the Internet without cheating, doesn't mean that everyone who is married and on Facebook will cave to the temptations put out there.

At least that's how I see it.  What do you think?

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48 comments
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  • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

    Now he doesn't get to keep tabs on his kids...
    I agree w/ the premise of your article...
    norhinks
  • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

    I think that pastor is wrong for blaming facebook for those problems. Those people are grown and if they are going to step outside the marriage then deleting a facebook account won't stop it. How can you tell your church leaders to delete their facebook account or resign their position? You are not god and it is not a sin to have a facebook account. Its churches with facebook accounts does that make those churches not of god? No of course not. He really needs to reevaluate what he's saying.
    mailman77
    • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

      @mailman77 CAN I GET A WITNESS?
      "Hallelujiah!"
      jmwells21
  • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

    Honestly, I have always thought Facebook was a joke...
    Either one has a life or just needs to get one.
    DiamondT
    • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

      @DiamondT Yet here you are posting online...
      j.q.public
  • More excuses

    So now the *Clergy* are making excuses and finding scapegoats for the decisions that adults make! It's time to stop embracing the culture of "It's not my fault" and start taking responsibility for our own decisions and actions!
    use_what_works_4_U
    • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

      @macadam
      rmull14@...
    • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

      @macadam
      you are so right, and it's not only this circumstance but the majority of problems in the world.
      rmull14@...
    • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

      @macadam

      Indeed.... and similar to the ever expanding federal government having too much control and power ;)
      LisaRuzylo
  • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

    I think that is ridiculous. Facebook has become the moral panic du jour! No one wants to acknowledge the fact that FB can be a good thing, too! I reconnected with long lost relatives who live on the other side of the country and also high school friends, and made new friends and shared my faith with them all! Laggards have always got to find excuses to shoot down new ideas and this is the most ridiculous of all. Plus, saying people who use FB have no life is just plain judgemental
    queen_of_clubs
  • Family

    I use Facebook as a way to stay in touch with family long distance and to post lots of pics of my growing baby for friends and family to see.

    I think people are cheating on facebook because there is a removal of social norms when you are not face to face but rather text to text. It may be easier for people to become more intimate more quickly without worrying about rejection which can ultimately lead to people crossing dangerous lines. Facebook is only one avenue in which people can connect with eachother...not a catalyst for infidelity.
    ChristyVA
  • Not an abuse of power

    > ... that a pastor can force a church leader to resign his position over membership in a social networking site ... is definitely an abuse of power.

    No it's not. It follows from the rules of a voluntary association. If you want to be in the association, you have to obey the rules. If you don't want to obey the rules, then leave. What's abusive about that?
    bmeacham98@...
    • The Pastor in Question . . .

      @bmeacham98@...

      Was on Fox and Friends this morning. HE clarified his statement to Husbands and wives shouldn't have individual accounts where they can conceal their activities from their spouse. He had no problem with a FAMILY Facebook page where both can log in and see the same things. His issue was accountability between spouses. He wants (Justifiably, in my opinion) the leaders of his Church to set the example for the congregation. That's what the elders and the leaders of a CHURCH are SUPPOSED to do.

      If they're not willing to lead by example, They shouldn't be in the leadership.

      Now if you want to discuss whether or not he should've put this up to a vote by the congregation first, then that's a different argument altogether.
      JLHenry
    • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

      @bmeacham98@... The Christian church is not a "club" where a pastor gets to make up rules for membership. Yes, there must be rules, but they should be drawn from the Bible (and, in fact, in the Bible, Paul does list some requirements for church leaders). I suspect the pastor sees Facebook as a possible source of temptation, but that is incidental to its purpose. One could view going to the mall as a temptation, what with all the attractive women (or men) walking around. So, I respectfully disagree with this pastor.
      kellycarter
  • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

    >>And the idea that a pastor can force a church leader to resign his position over membership in a social networking site - even if for a well-intended reason - is definitely an abuse of power. <<

    You are definitely full of it. Just because you don't like it does not make it wrong Being in leadership in a church is NOT a right.

    Maybe you ought to just stick to technology. Well, maybe not, You ain't THAT good at IT either.
    sackbut
  • Facebook? Really?

    If I were going to cheat, Facebook wouldn't be my medium of choice. It's far too public of a venue. My wife actually pays attention to my FB posts and asks me about people on my friends list that she doesn't know. It's called communication.
    jasonp@...
    • If she's asking you . . .

      @jasonp@...

      about people she doesn't know, there's a trust issue there already, I think . . .

      I agree about the facebook visibility thing, though. BUt I think a better solution is for you to turn your FB page into a page for you and her to SHARE. That way she sees everything, and doesn't have to "check up" on you.
      JLHenry
  • 'cept for The Pope maybe in Rome

    (A higher percentage of people in the Holy See of Vatican have facebook accounts than any other country).
    http://www.datagenetics.com/blog/november62010/index.html
    DataGenetics
    • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

      @DataGenetics
      Not too many of them are married though! :-)
      A.Sinic
  • RE: Pastor to married church leaders: Thou shall not Facebook

    I certainly agree that everyone should quit their Facebook account and join a non-evil spying social networking site. But it doesn't cause couples to break up.
    Droid101