Recent Stories of Religion Online Raise Issues about Religious Authority

Three news colums and stories that have hit the headlines in the last 24 hours raise interesting questions about the role and response of religious authorities to new media culture. In the Washington, Post Lisa Miller reflects in her column "Belief Watch" on how social media apps and and internet culture pose a challenge to traditional religious organizations who seek to maintain a business as usual approach and not consider the impact of technology on their congregations. She argues that religious authorities and pundits are wrong, that technology is good for religion and this requires institions be willing to be educated and adapt to such trends and approriations by congregants (see:

New York Times Reporter Amy O'Leart reflects on the popularity of religious tweets, asserting that religious content might ganer more attention the celebrity tweeters in some cases. Yet she notes that it is often practioners rather than religious leader who generate this buzz (see: Finally a newspaper in South Yorkshire, UK reports that a Church of England vicar was forced to close his FB account after a series of controversial posts about his job and religion. While phenomenon is not new, and many employers monitor their employee online content, this article highlights how religious leaders may not be aware that "personal" use of social media is not considered private or how it can have offline implications. (see: Thus these stories raise questions about how religious authorities truly understand and employ new media technology and what implication there are for both their use and non-use of certain technologies.