If there is a Hell, the Rev. Juan D. McFarland is going there. The HIV positive Baptist pastor from Montgomery, Alabama admitted to his congregants – some of whom he was sexually active with – that he was carrying the AIDS virus. Despite knowing his condition, McFarland, a 23-year pastor, knowingly had intercourse with several female members of his church.
Writes USA Today on Oct. 9: “The Rev. Juan D. McFarland made the admission from the pulpit during a Sunday service in September, said Deacon Nathan Williams Jr., a 71-year member of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. Williams said McFarland also admitted to drug use and misusing church funds.”
“He made it public. He shared it, and I’m just saying what he said,” Williams said. “He was on marijuana, cocaine and all the drugs you can think of. Those are his words.”
McFarland’s full blown AIDS announcement has rocked the Montgomery church and the surrounding community. The former pastor – who was removed from the pulpit this month after his sinful admissions – discovered he was carrying HIV back in 2003. In 2008, he was diagnosed with AIDS. The number of women that McFarland was sexually active with has not been revealed, though the Montgomery Police Department confirmed that transmitting an STD is a Class C Misdemeanor. McFarland has yet to be charged.
Deacon Williams said McFarland admitted to having sex with at least one woman – who was married – inside of the church. “He concealed from the church that he had knowingly engaged in adultery in the church building with female members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church while knowingly having AIDS,” Williams said.
NBC News affiliate WFSA.com out of Montgomery carried comments from one of Shiloh’s parishioners, who asked to not be identified.
“Who does this to people, and you are the leader? Who does this?” the unnamed church member asked. “I know a young lady who is a member of the church who says she has slept with him and that she didn’t want this to go public, and she running out now trying to find out if there is anything wrong with her.”
She continued: “And my heart goes out to her because she’s been a wonderful church member, and then for something like this to happen. The fact that he didn’t tell them at all. That’s a crime in itself.”
Some in the congregations are calling for McFarland to be prosecuted in a trial. “I believe that he should be put on trial,” another unnamed church member said, according to WFSA. “Go to court and let the judge decide if he should go to jail or not. We tend to sweep things under the rug, especially if they’re the leader. It’s like oh, no, please let’s not get this out but I think after this that they will have more discussions on HIV and AIDS.”
But Deacon Williams, adding that the church has obtained legal counsel to help them move through this scandal, said they are only looking to obtain closure on behalf of the congregation.
“Our moves are going to come directly from counsel. We want peace and we want to do things right, legally,” Williams said. “We are not looking to hurt him. We are looking to get the church back. That’s our theme: Get the church back.”
Sound of below on the sins of Rev. Juan D. McFarland.