Growing up we were taught to respect our elders; especially our parents, teachers and the pastor or our church. When transgressions were discovered by such well known religious figures such as Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Baker, we were appalled and questioned the faith and veracity of our church leaders. In addition, the number of abused altar boys seems to be never ending. Here is the latest man who committed unforgiveable things while lecturing his flock about right and wrong: His un-holiness, Juan McFarland.
Juan McFarland was the pastor of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, for 23 years. In 2003 he informed his congregation that he had contracted the HIV virus. In 2008 he revealed that the disease had progressed and he had AIDS. Church members supported him and said they understood why he kept his health a secret. That support came to a screeching halt this month. He was removed from his position as a minister on October fifth.
As he began to reveal more secrets about his personal life he admitted to having sex with several female church members and not telling them that he was infected with HIV.
One woman, who did not want her identity revealed, admitted that she had slept with McFarland and was now frantically attempting to find out if she has the disease.
Church Deacon, Nathan Williams Jr., said that the church had hired an attorney. He said that the purpose was not to cause harm to McFarland, but to ‘get their church back.’ Other church members were not as kind and hoped that he would be tried and sent to jail.
McFarland wasn’t finished with his confession. He also admitted to accepting church funds for business trips which he never took and using illegal drugs.
Respect for authority is becoming increasingly difficult in the United States. Who are we supposed to trust? We teach our children to believe in the leaders of our nation and our churches. When they fail us how are we to explain that they’re the ‘exception to the rule?’ The answer is, we can’t.
All too frequently our representatives in Washington are exposed as liars, frauds, and adulterers. We voted them into office, and they betrayed our trust. When campaigning they make numerous promises of which none are kept. There is no way to explain these acts, and even more difficult to explain is why they are often accepted by voters, securing re-election.
It is more problematic to tell our children that the majority of our nation’s religious leaders practice and believe what they profess from the pulpit; they know their ministers and most likely have personal contact with them. With so much exposure in the media and on the internet, how can we convince them that they are in no danger of being sexually attacked, or that their mothers might be lured into a sexual liaison which could give her a deadly disease?
Trust and respect must be earned. No longer can we blindly believe in a man or woman who has power and authority over us.
There is a growing number of men and women under 30 in our nation who have become agnostics and even atheists. They explain that they’re reason for abandoning their childhood belief centers on the fact that they question authority. They find it difficult to respect the instructions of a man or woman standing in front of a congregation instructing them regarding the proper way to live their lives.
The best way to lead is by example. Our faith is greatly damaged when we hear about people such as his un-holiness, Juan McFarland. Sometimes the damage is irreparable.