The Alabama pastor who confessed that he'd committed adultery with congregants even though he knew he had AIDS argued in court Monday that his church couldn't fire him because he was appointed for life.
Juan Demetrius McFarland, pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery and elected moderator of the Alabama Middle District Missionary Baptist Association, was fired in an 80-1 vote of church members. Church deacons went to court in October after McFarland refused to step down.
McFarland was in state circuit court Monday asking Judge Charles Price to overturn an injunction barring him from returning to the church grounds. His attorney said the court case was an invalid violation of the constitutional separation of church and state and that, anyway, McFarland can't be fired because a 2013 amendment to the church constitution specified that he couldn't be removed unless he resigned or died.
Attorneys for the church argued that the amendment was invalid because it was approved without a quorum of church members.
The Birmingham News reported that McFarland cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to answer most questions about his confessions in sermons to having had sex on church grounds with church members after he knew he had AIDS, having used illegal drugs and having pocketed church money for business trips he never went on.
At Church Pastor Reveals He Has AIDS, Had Sex With WorshipersOct. 9, 201402:33
- Court Tosses Alabama Pastor Juan McFarland in AIDS and Adultery Scandal
- Alabama Pastor Juan McFarland Sued After Confessing to Adultery With AIDS
— M. Alex Johnson