New Jersey Pastor Cedric Miller made headlines last week when he denounced Facebook as an aid to infidelity — and demanded that his church’s leaders “give up” the site. This weekend, though, the story became Miller’s own complicated sexual history.
The Asbury Park Press reported on Saturday that Rev. Miller, leader of the Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in Neptune, New Jersey, gave testimony in a 2003 criminal case where he admitted to a relationship with his wife, a church assistant and himself (and, sometimes, the assistant’s wife).
“[W]e had crossed the line many times,” Miller told a defense lawyer in a criminal case against the assistant that was later dismissed. “I mean between the four of us. It was just, I mean there was touching, there was … it was crazy, it was as wrong as wrong could get. Yes.”
“Okay, it was sex, correct?” the lawyer asked.
“Yes,” Miller said.
Last Tuesday, Miller declared himself fed up with Facebook, and blamed its ability to let old flames reconnect for a significant portion of the marital problems he has to deal with in his counseling work.
“Married couples are going on Facebook and what happens can end up in my office,” Miller said. “I know from where we stand in the Christian perspective, the connection is inappropriate.”
“It’s to the point now that this Sunday, anyone in our church in a leadership position and who is married and is on Facebook has to resign their church position if they do not give up Facebook,” he said.
Miller acknowledged at the time that his actions could be perceived as controlling, and argued that he wasn’t “concerned with being politically correct. I’m trying to save families and marriages.”
But the Park Press story came out before Miller could deliver his anti-Facebook sermon yesterday morning. So while he reiterated his call for church leaders to stop using the social network (“The only way the past is going to stay the past is if you bury it once and for all,” he told congregants), he also had to address his own past actions.
With his wife at his side, Miller, asked any church leaders who supported him to join them on the pulpit as he read a prepared statement that outlined his commitment and love for this church and congregation. An estimated 100 congregants then walked up onto the stage prompting cheers and applause.
Though he called the story “old news,” Miller acknowledged that for some “it was shocking.” He said that an all-church meeting would be held tomorrow night, where church elders will hold a vote of confidence.
“Should the elders and leaders now deem me unfit for duty, I love the church enough to step down immediately,” Miller said.
Miller did not immediately respond to TPM’s request to know if church leaders had complied with his order to leave Facebook.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com