Give up Facebook, N.J. pastor orders

Associated PressNovember 18, 2010 

Thou shalt not commit adultery. And thou also shalt not use Facebook.

That's the edict from a New Jersey pastor who feels the two often go together.

The Rev. Cedric Miller said 20 couples among the 1,100 members of his Living Word Christian Fellowship Church have run into marital trouble over the last six months after a spouse connected with an ex-flame over Facebook.

Because of the problems, he is ordering about 50 married church officials to delete their accounts with the social networking site or resign from their leadership positions. He had previously asked married congregants to share their login information with their spouses and now plans to suggest that they give up Facebook altogether.

"I've been in extended counseling with couples with marital problems because of Facebook for the last year and a half," he said. "What happens is someone from yesterday surfaces, it leads to conversations and there have been physical meet-ups. The temptation is just too great."

Miller is married and has a Facebook account that he uses to keep in touch with six children, but he will heed his own advice and cancel his account this weekend.

On Sunday, he plans to "strongly suggest" that all married people to stop using Facebook, lest they endanger their marriage.

"The advice will go to the entire church," he said. "They'll hear what I'm asking of my church leadership. I won't mandate it for the entire congregation."

Miller said he has spoken from the pulpit before about the dangers of Facebook, asking married couples to give each other their passwords to the site.

"Some did. Others got scared and deleted their accounts right away. And some felt it was none of my business," he said.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81 percent of its members have used or been faced with evidence plucked from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites in divorce cases over the last five years.

About one in five adults uses Facebook for flirting, according to a 2008 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Miller says there are legitimate uses for Facebook, which is why he started an account a few years ago.

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