Checkered past for Facebook-flaming pastor

No shock here to learn that the pastor who encouraged his flock to close down their Facebook accounts on the grounds that it leads to infidelity has been seen to have had a similarly themed past in the form of a sexual relationship that took place between himself and a church assistant and sometimes included the pastor’s wife.

The Rev. Cedric Miller confirmed the information reported Saturday by the Asbury Park Press of Neptune, which cited testimony he gave in a criminal case in 2003. The relationship had ended by that time.

Miller gained national attention when he issued the Facebook edict this week. He said it came about because much of the marital counseling he has performed over the past year and a half has concerned infidelity stemming from the social-networking website.

That’s Saturday’s news. But Anthea Butler wrote with fair prescience only four days ago about how far back all this goes.

Citing too many counseling sessions about marriage problems and infidelity, Rev Miller refers to many members “Christless past” as causing issues in their marriages as they peruse Facebook’s greener pastures.

Miller’s admonition may be surprising to some (he claims not to care what the public thinks) but this is actually an old theme in fundamentalist and conservative churches. Any sort of media, movies, television, radio, dancing was seen to be sinful, drawing Christians away from their first love: Jesus. 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.


I will be interested to see if Rev. Miller’s leadership responds favorably to his demand to quit Facebook, or will their be a few members looking for another church this Sunday.

… Which they may be doing anyway, only for different reasons. Meanwhile, one pastor is contemplating developing a Facebook page addressing the issue of marital infidelity as it’s accelerated through technology.

“I’ve had people come to me in trouble because of the computer in general — a lot of computer widows — but not Facebook,” said the Rev. Porter Brown, overseer at Faith Baptist Tabernacle in Asbury Park.

Brown said he’s contemplating setting up a Facebook site to increase the church’s communication with his congregation and community. At the moment, he said he sends e-mails to young people to let them know about the upcoming Sunday sermon so they can send him questions ahead of time.

“We continue to share with our folks that the Internet can be a good thing to use, but it has its own kind of dangers. Any access to people unfiltered may not be good.”

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