The Church of England has urged Christians to follow the example of Jesus when interacting on social media, as it launches a charter to create a “positive atmosphere” online.
“Social media has transformed the way we live our lives. As Christians, we are called to engage in a way which is shaped by the example of Jesus. Each time we interact online, we have the opportunity either to add to currents of cynicism and abuse or to choose instead to share light and grace...There is no such thing as an alternative fact,” he said in a statement.
Archbishop of York John Sentamu also offered his support, saying people should take more time to think before posting comments.
“Sometimes it’s about counting to 10 and asking whether a spiteful statement on social media will change a situation for the better. The Church wishes to be present in the digital sphere, and the same force for social cohesion which it strives to be in the real world”, working alongside social media companies.
The charter's values are:
- Truth - we should hold ourselves to high ideals of checking that what we post online is fair and factual.
- Kindness - we are all different and that makes the world an interesting place – and at times a challenging one. Think the best of people, whether they share our views or are speaking against them and aim to be constructive in the way we engage.
- Welcome - in the language we use and the way we interact. It’s easy for Christians to speak in another language using words that those outside the Church might not relate to.
- Inspiration - we are called to be witnesses of our faith and to use social media in a way that genuinely engages others.
- Togetherness - we are one Church and other members of this Church are our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is crucial we treat those around us in this way.
- Safeguarding - if you have any concerns about the wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults, please contact the relevant diocesan safeguarding adviser.