MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A minister in Alabama is refusing to step down despite being voted out after he admitted from the pulpit last month that he has the AIDS virus and that he has been engaging in sexual activity with members of the congregation.
Juan Demetrius McFarland of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery announced during a sermon series last month that he had full-blown AIDS, and that he not only had been having sex with members in the building, but that he did not tell them that he had the virus. He has had HIV since 2003, and AIDS since 2008.
According to WSFA-TV, McFarland revealed further information little by little each week, including that he had been engaging in illicit drug use and that he had been misusing funds.
At first, the congregation expressed concern for McFarland’s health as all they knew during the early admissions was that their leader had AIDS. But as McFarland began to admit other deeds openly each week, they were horrified.
“He confessed to the entire membership and then to the City of Montgomery, because as soon as he got done confessing, it went all over Montgomery anyway,” Deacon Nathan Williams Jr. told the outlet. “So it’s nothing we [are] making up. It’s coming out of his mouth.”
An anonymous member advised that a female attendee, who he described as “a wonderful church member,” will now be seeking testing after acknowledging that she was among those that had engaged in sexual relations with McFarland.
Last Sunday, considering all of the information that had been revealed, it was decided 80-1 to remove McFarland from his leadership position. There have not been any reports that members who had sex with the minister will be disciplined.
“He fraudulently concealed from the congregation . . . that he had knowingly engaged in adultery in the church building with female members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church while knowingly having AIDS,” a resolution written by the congregation read. “[He also] fraudulently withheld information that he had been engaging in the use of illegal drugs while preaching and performing pastoral duties . . . [and] withheld information from church membership that he had misused church funds.”
However, McFarland, who has led the congregation for 21 years, refuses to stop down and is instead taking issue with those who seek to force him out. According to attorney Kenneth Shinbaum, who is representing some of the deacons of Shiloh Missionary Baptist, when locks were changed to the doors of the building, McFarland banned them from the premises and cited “Castle Law.”
“They’re worried if they show up to church, they could get shot,” he said. “Unless the pastor steps down voluntarily, this may very well end up in court.”
McFarland currently faces no criminal charges as no complaints have been filed with the local police station, but reports outline that he could only be charged with “Transmitting a Sexually Transmitted Disease,” a Class C Misdemeanor. He currently also serves as the elected moderator of the 34-member Alabama Middle District Missionary Baptist Association Inc.
The Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church website describes McFarland as “a man of vision and mission; a man of passion, prayer and purpose; a man whose life is centered in Jesus Christ.”