Update 11:49 am: Pastor Cedric Miller offers to resign over scandal.
Apparently, the words "thou shall not use Facebook" don't quite trump the words "thou shall not have a three-way sexual relationship with your wife and a male assistant."
Rev. Cedric Miller (pictured) became a national name last week after demanding that his entire New Jersey congregation delete their Facebook pages. The move was thought to be an incredibly bold statement about the affect Facebook has on relationships, where old boyfriends and girlfriends never quite go away.
To the surprise of many, though, it turns out that Miller may have had his own reasons for wanting Facebook out of his life. There are reports that the pastor had a three-way sexual relationship with his wife and a male assistant at the church.
Miller, who heads the Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in Neptune Township, N.J., confirmed the information, which had been printed in a local newspaper.
At the time of his anti-Facebook sermon, the 48-year-old pastor demanded that all 50 of his married church officials delete their Facebook pages or quit their leadership posts. He also told married members of his church to share their log-in information with their spouses and said that he plans to leave Facebook this week himself.
Much of the sexual interaction with the male assistant, according to Miller's statements in relation to a criminal case filed against the assistant in 2003, took place during the couple's Thursday Bible study meetings.
It is also reported that the assistant's wife was present quite a few times when sex took place. The affair allegedly came to an end when several women in the church said that the assistant was also having sex with them.
When I wrote my article about what black people could learn from the Facebook movie, this was the last thing I had in mind. I find it so fascinating that there are so many members of the church who are quick to thump bibles on to the heads of other people, but are simultaneously engaged in some of the most egregious, irresponsible behavior imaginable.
I find the self-righteousness and audacious personal choices to be mind-boggling. Perhaps rather than simply indoctrinating our kids in to religious faith before they are even in a position to choose, we can give them a chance to build a personal connection with the higher power and their own sense of ethics. In other words, there are some pathetic people in every church who are simply following deep cultural norms rather than living a Christian life.
As for Miller, you must give him credit for attempting to take a stand for families in a world that is full of temptation. In spite of his own short-comings, it may be the case that his mistakes are what drove him to fight so heartily to save the souls in his church.
Miller, though, has at least one significant problem in that some might perceive him to be a hypocrite, since black America is growing tired of stories about pastors having extramarital affairs that involve other men. This is almost becoming the norm.
- Bishop Eddie Long Denies Sex Abuse Allegations in Legal Docs
- Las Vegas Pastor Charged With Using Scriptures to Lure Boys Into Sexual Relationships
- Bishop Steven Arnold Resigns After Affair With Parishioner
One other reality that holds true for Miller is that the world is not going to go backward. People have embraced the psychological elation of having a fully connected social life, and Facebook will continue to grow.
Additionally, while it might sound ideal for marital partners to share their Facebook logins with their spouse, the truth is that this may only serve to make divorce that much more enticing. The restrictive, redundant and frustrating aspects of marriage can create, for some successful couples, a need for personal psychological space.
The Facebook account, text messages and e-mail are just a few of the places that allow an individual to have a world that belongs to himself/herself, so forcing them to give up their last bastion of personal freedom might make a young person feel suffocated.
The Dr. Boyce Watkins bottom line? If I were married, I wouldn't check my wife's phone or ask for her passwords to e-mail or Facebook accounts. By doing this, I would be telling her that there is no trust in our relationship.
I'd also be seeking to obtain access to psychological and personal arenas that simply don't belong to me. In fact, I might even see some things that I don't want to see, but the truth is that someone may love us and be incredibly loyal without giving us a complete monopoly on their heart.
There is a big difference between marrying someone and owning them. In fact, owning another person in a world with thousands of options for interaction is damn near impossible.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.