Bath Christian group's 'God can heal' adverts banned

by whereami 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • whereami

    Bath Christian group's 'God can heal' adverts banned

    A Christian group has been banned from claiming that God can heal illnesses on its website and in leaflets.

    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had concluded that the adverts by Healing on the Streets (HOTS) - Bath, were misleading.

    It said a leaflet available to download from the group's website said: "Need Healing? God can heal today!"

    The group, based in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, said it was disappointed with the decision and would appeal.

    HOTS Bath said its vision was to promote Christian healing "as a daily lifestyle for every believer".

    'False hope'

    The ASA said the leaflet read: "Need Healing? God can heal today! Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS, Addiction ... Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness?

    "We'd love to pray for your healing right now!

    "We're Christian from churches in Bath and we pray in the name of Jesus. We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness."

    The ASA said it had been alerted to the adverts by a complainant, and concluded that they could encourage false hope and were irresponsible.

    HOTS Bath said: "It seems very odd to us that the ASA wants to prevent us from stating on our website the basic Christian belief that God can heal illness.

    "All over the world as part of their normal Christian life, Christians believe in, pray for and experience God's healing; our ministry, in common with many churches, has been active in praying for God's healing (of Christians and non Christians) for many years."

    The group said it had tried to reach a compromise, "but there are certain things that we cannot agree to - including a ban on expressing our beliefs".

    The Healing On The Streets ministry was started by Causeway Coast Vineyard church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, in 2005 and has been taken up by dozens of churches across the UK.

    Nottingham church changes healing claim after complaint

    Part of the leaflet handed out by members of St Mark's Church in Woodthorpe, Nottingham which the Advertising Standards Agency advised should be changedThe ASA said it needed robust evidence to back up healing claims

    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has stepped in after a Nottingham church claimed in a leaflet God could heal a range of named illnesses.

    It followed a complaint from the head of Nottingham's Secular Society who was handed a flyer while shopping.

    The leaflet, distributed by St Mark's Church in Woodthorpe, said God could heal back pain and cancer.

    The ASA said "robust evidence" was needed to support such claims.

    Matt Wilson from the ASA said: "We are not here to stop religious or faith-based organisations from promoting what they believe in.

    "But if they are making absolute claims about curing serious conditions then we have to see that evidence to back it up."

    'Dangerous nonsense'

    I couldn't believe the overarching, ridiculous, unfounded claims they were making"

    Dennis PenalunaNottingham Secular Society

    Dennis Penaluna of Nottingham Secular Society said he was shocked by the leaflet.

    "I couldn't believe the overarching, ridiculous, unfounded claims they were making. They can't be substantiated," he said.

    "It's a dangerous nonsense. People who are ill or vulnerable can be easily persuaded. They will grasp at anything."

    Canon Ed Pruin, who advises people in the Church of England diocese of Nottingham and Southwell on healing, said he agreed the leaflet was "less than helpful".

    But he added: "I absolutely do believe that God can heal. I have no doubts.

    "I think that one of the ways God heals is through medical science and the care of healthcare professionals.

    "But I don't think that he is always in the curing business."

    Canon Pruin is on the Healing and Wholeness committee that advised St Mark's to amend the leaflet in accordance with the ASA recommendations.

    "The words 'healing on the streets' is perhaps a little misleading. I personally would like to see 'care on the streets'.

    "People want to be prayed for when they are sick. We are responding to a need," he said.

    No-one from St Mark's Church was available for comment.

    Members of the church have been part of the Healing On The Streets ministry for two and a half years.

    The Healing On The Streets ministry was started by Causeway Coast Vineyard church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, in 2005 and has been taken up by dozens of churches across the UK.

    Other churches in the ministry have said they would now look at their leaflets to make sure that they are not able to be misinterpreted or misunderstood.

  • cofty

    Good for the ASA.

    When god heals an amputee let them have their advert back.

    I wonder if we could get any of the Watchtowers' leaflets reported to the ASA.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I was surprised. Even though my belief is not strong, I attended healing services during my illness,just in case....Since i was not delaying treatment, I saw no harm. The stand up and have a cross on your forehead with holy oil never inspired me. St. Paul's Chapel, the 9/11 church, had extensive healing services and a sense of community.

    Claiming to heal specific illnessses could be the offensive behavior. Many Christians believe prayer is sufficient. I believe God wants us to help ourselves. Delaying cancer treatment in lieu of prayer could kill someone. I still remember Jim Henson, the puppeter, dying unnecesarily b/c he was a Christian Sciencist. Witness claims that bloodless surgery is preferable to blood transfusions are another issue.

    Witnesses die without blood on a regular basis. Sometimes I think that America has an unenlightened religious belief. WE accomodate religion far more than other industralized nations.

  • Phizzy

    Good idea Cofty ! Until I read this thread I was unaware that the ASA got involved with flyers etc I just thought it was TV ads and billboards and the like.

    We could maybe object to some of the WT rubbish, but we would have to be careful to pick the right target, they are allowed to promulgate their wacky doctrine, it would have to be factual claims made by them that are likely to be dangerous, or at least detrimental, to the public.

    Worth thinking about for sure.

  • mP


    even jesus didnt heal any amputees.

  • Phizzy

    No, but raising the dead kind of tops that ,so we'll excuse the oversight on Jesus' part shall we, it could be covered by the claim of the writer of the Gospel of John that too many books would exist if all Jesus' doings were recorded.

    Some kind of testable proof needs to be given by these people, or their claims are pure Snake Oil salesmanship.

  • cantleave

    Excellent decision by the ASA.

  • cofty

    even jesus didnt heal any amputees. - mP

    Yes he was shit at performing miracles.

  • NewChapter

    That pamphlet reads like a medical clinic advertisement! Yeah---it stepped over the line. Here in America, it would be allowed. A very wide girth is given religion. Hair would catch on fire if one of their pamphlets were called into question, and we'd be subjected to hours of persecution vicitims on tv, and testifying in congress.


  • james_woods

    I think there is an underlying subject here that may very well be worth its own thread.

    It is this: The comparative lack of freedom of speech connected with religious matters in the U.K. compared with the United States.

    I was also reminded of the case in which picketers against the Scientology cult were disbanded and faced fines for "hate speech".

    I would never have known of the big differences in the two generally free nations except for reading such things on JWN.

    BTW - I also think the adverts were way beyond any semblence of sanity, but I somehow I am disturbed that these nutcases were not free to state what they wanted on the subject. Is this kind of censorship going to be equally applied to public agitators in the name of Islam?

  • xchange

    Substitute 'God' in the pamphlet for baking soda and it's very easy to see why this advertisement is irresponsible.

  • NewChapter

    Substitute 'God' in the pamphlet for baking soda and it's very easy to see why this advertisement is irresponsible

    Not fair. Baking soda can be helpful----in cooking, I hear for indigestion, and for odor control.


  • AnonJW

    "even jesus didnt heal any amputees".

    What about the fella that had his ear amputated by sword, does that count?

  • cofty

    What about the fella that had his ear amputated by sword, does that count?

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