Opponent Research in an Internet Age

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Opponent research has just gone to a whole new level. The Hotline reports that the newest minefield for public figures includes Internet networking sites such as “Facebook,” where teens and twenty-somethings post profiles and pictures.

According to Hotline, controversies so far have included pictures from the profile of the son of a network talking head show moderator’s son “lying in a hot tub with beer bottles and bikini-clad women.” The issue has implications for the 2006 elections as an Indiana congressional candidate, currently a sheriff, has had to respond to his daughter’s Facebook profile picturing her drinking while underage.

So far these issues have proven to be an embarrassing irritant more than anything else. But it also demonstrates that the Gen Y cultural tendency to reveal everything to a worldwide audience via the Internet comes with a price. One can only wonder how long it will be until pastors and other religious leaders face the problem of the profile of the prodigal preacher’s child posted on the Internet. Perhaps this should remind us that the pseudo-Gnostic world of the isolated individual floating through cyberspace, free from kin and consequences, is ultimately a myth.

The culture is changing but it can be good news for the church.


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About Russell Moore

Russell Moore

Russell Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency 
of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

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