AL- “Oust predatory Alabama Shiloh Baptist preacher now,” SNAP says
For immediate release: Monday, October 13, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
It's an outrage that a minister who admits having sexually exploited congregants while infected with AIDS is still preaching at his church.
We urge his flock to denounce this and take immediate steps to permanently oust him. And we call on other pastors in Alabama to preach this weekend about how wrongdoers and misguided believers abuse and misconstrue the notion of forgiveness in ways that put innocent children and vulnerable adults at risk of more crimes, harm and betrayals.
We should forgive the school bus driver whose alcoholism led to an accident. But we should not let her drive a bus again.
We should forgive the man who shoots someone in a fit of rage. But we should not let him have a gun again.
And we should forgive a minister who abuses his powerful, prestigious position to sexually exploit devout, vulnerable congregants. But we should not let him be a minister any more.
Forgiveness is secondary. Safety is primary. So right now, the job of current and former members and staff of Pastor Juan McFarland's church is to seek out and comfort others who have been hurt by this man. It is to call police and prosecutors with any information or suspicions they may have. And it is to do whatever they can to help make sure that McFarland can't con and hurt others.
When all that is done, then it may be time to begin thinking about forgiveness.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)