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

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

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 1 by drumdaddy

What a lovely concept - an Advertising Standards Authority! If we had one of those in the USA then we could round up Benny Hinn, Peter Poppoff, and thousands of other witch doctors from far and wide who are currently conducting very lucrative tax-free businesses in this heinous industry.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 10:35:18 UTC | #914470

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 2 by Alan4discussion

It's good that in the UK we have laws on honesty and on false claims in advertising - which hold liars an charlatans to account - at least to a limited extent.

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.

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".

I see the story was also covered here - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2095540/Christian-group-banned-claiming-heals-sick-street-prayer-sessions-outside-Bath-Abbey.html

There was also an article about a deluded fraudster offering cancer treatments - here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16877006

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 10:43:31 UTC | #914473

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 3 by Rich Wiltshir

Result!

There's still a long way to go. It'd be good if they do appeal because it brings more publicity (at their expense) for the observation that there's nothing in their claims.

ASA is good, but it backs away from policital or religious judgements. They've made a decision on the health claims of these nutjobs, nothing more.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 10:57:26 UTC | #914475

PaulJ's Avatar Comment 4 by PaulJ

They've made a decision on the health claims of these nutjobs, nothing more.

This is true, but notice how HOTS Bath have nevertheless interpreted this as an attack on their faith. (Hayley Stevens, the complainant in this case, clearly explains on her blog why she complained.)

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 11:14:43 UTC | #914479

Pitchguest's Avatar Comment 5 by Pitchguest

There's a similar story here about a leaflet handed out by St. Mark's Church in Woodthorpe, also stopped short by ASA. The church later changed their minds. Amazing how fickle these people are when they have to provide actual evidence.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 11:17:01 UTC | #914481

The Notorious B.I.N.G's Avatar Comment 6 by The Notorious B.I.N.G

This is all to the good. However, one only has to trawl the outer limits of digital television to hear similar claims to magical healing powers - and worse - all the time. There are currently well over two dozen "God" channels available to the viewer of British television, most of which seem to me to serve no other purpose than naked and shameless begging. (Why the all-seeing, all-knowing creator of the universe feels the need to advertise himself in this tawdry manner is beyond me, but that's by the by.) The bouffant-haired babblers and silver-tongued swindlers of this morally squalid milieu think nothing of claiming credit for "miracle" cures of everything from cancer to blindness. "Preachers" like Benny Hinn, Peter Popoff, and Don Stewart, consistently and brazenly tout their prowess to bring about medical marvels, which, it is implied though never plainly stated, can be yours for a nominal, conveniently tax-free fee. Make a "love gift", receive your "prayer hankie", and God will cure you of your ills. Making medical claims in this manner without training or license ought, in my view, to be a matter for the courts.

Why is nothing done about this?

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 11:27:58 UTC | #914483

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 7 by Billy Sands

"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."

No amputees were healed in the process.

It is potentially doubly misleading, as a christians have a whole load of nonsense explanations as to why healing doesn't work.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 11:55:49 UTC | #914488

BigBlue's Avatar Comment 8 by BigBlue

Quite agree B.I.N.G.

Televangelism is nothing short of abuse. Abuse of the gullible, of the poor and of the ignorant. One wonders what links these charlatans have to government that they can get away with, what what amounts to nothing less than fraudulent money-grabbing.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 12:07:51 UTC | #914489

PERSON's Avatar Comment 9 by PERSON

So how does one reconcile absolute freedom of speech and an anti-false claims law? Will there be a "Write Lying Copy" day?

BTW, it seems millions of people have seen the face of ceiling cat in pieces of bread. I suspect human intervention is involved but I have seen no direct evidence, only speculative rumour.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 12:22:10 UTC | #914491

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 10 by hemidemisemigod

I believe God could indeed heal the sick. So too could Loreth (a woman of Gondor who served in the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith).

However, they are both fictional characters and so the sick person would also need to be a fictional character.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 12:33:51 UTC | #914494

digofthedump's Avatar Comment 11 by digofthedump

Comment 6. Making medical claims in this manner [my emphasis] without training or license ought, in my view, to be a matter for the courts.

It's precisely the manner in which it's done why it ought not to be a matter for the courts.

No matter how wild the claims, if they are presented in the context of "we believe this" or "if you have faith that..." then they should be effectively immune from such things as the ASA. They are not falsly making claims for the technical efficacy of a product they are selling.

The difference here is similar in kind to the difference between something presented as art and something presented as factual...in other words the former has 'artistic license' the latter does not.

This isn't even a case of 'Buyer Beware'.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 12:51:46 UTC | #914499

mmurray's Avatar Comment 12 by mmurray

Comment 11 by digofthedump :

Comment 6. Making medical claims in this manner [my emphasis] without training or license ought, in my view, to be a matter for the courts.

It's precisely the manner in which it's done why it ought not to be a matter for the courts.

No matter how wild the claims, if they are presented in the context of "we believe this" or "if you have faith that..." then they should be effectively immune from such things as the ASA. They are not falsly making claims for the technical efficacy of a product they are selling.

The difference here is similar in kind to the difference between something presented as art and something presented as factual...in other words the former has 'artistic license' the latter does not.

This isn't even a case of 'Buyer Beware'.

But it seems the ASA thought they weren't presented in this way

However, we were concerned that the prominent references in ad (b) to healing and the statement "You have nothing to lose, except your sickness" in combination with the references to medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought such as arthritis, asthma, MS, addictions, depression and paralysis, could give consumers the expectation that, by receiving prayer from HOTS volunteers, they would be healed of the conditions listed or other sicknesses from which they suffered.

Michael

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:01:33 UTC | #914502

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 13 by Alan4discussion

Comment 11 by digofthedump - It's precisely the manner in which it's done why it ought not to be a matter for the courts.

@2 There was also an article about a deluded fraudster offering cancer treatments - here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16877006

The making of medical claims, with laying on of hands in the street and other more intrusive physical activities in private , - seems to be a matter for the courts - in the view of the courts - according to my link @ 2 !

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:16:38 UTC | #914504

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 14 by Schrodinger's Cat

Hmm. I don't see the Advertising Standards Aauthority doing anything about the two biggest adverts for a God who can heal today...............the Bible and the Koran.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:19:10 UTC | #914505

mmurray's Avatar Comment 15 by mmurray

Comment 13 by Alan4discussion :

Comment 11 by digofthedump - It's precisely the manner in which it's done why it ought not to be a matter for the courts.

@2 There was also an article about a deluded fraudster offering cancer treatments - here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16877006

The making of medical claims, with laying on of hands in the street and other more intrusive physical activities in private , - seems to be a matter for the courts - in the view of the courts - according to my link @ 2 !

He was committing an offence under the Cancer Act 1939, which makes it illegal for an unqualified person to offer to treat any person for cancer.

Interesting thanks.

Michael

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:20:56 UTC | #914506

chawinwords's Avatar Comment 16 by chawinwords

Hey, they represent the oldest order of cons on the planet, and after all this time the con works will if they know their audience -- the easiest people on earth to con -- the religious.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:25:37 UTC | #914510

mmurray's Avatar Comment 17 by mmurray

Comment 14 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Hmm. I don't see the Advertising Standards Aauthority doing anything about the two biggest adverts for a God who can heal today...............the Bible and the Koran.

I think they rely on responding to complaints. They don't go hunting down offenders. You can complain here. You will have to find something that fits the scope of the advertising code.

Michael

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:26:47 UTC | #914511

chawinwords's Avatar Comment 18 by chawinwords

Oh I forgot, the most effective con is the one who comes to believe the con is real -- now that is true success, leaving no escape.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:28:22 UTC | #914512

digofthedump's Avatar Comment 19 by digofthedump

Comment 12. But it seems the ASA thought they weren't presented in this way

Thankyou Michael.....Hmmmmmm!! Interesting. It is, I guess, a matter of the difference between the letter and the spirit of the law. If an organization is technically presenting their point of view as art (or belief) yet realistically trying to get people to emotionally relate to it as factual then it is a case of determining whether there is any intention to mislead. I don't think this is the case with the Christian organization here but on the otherhand I do see the ASA's concern...namely the inclusion of a list of medical terms of specific disorders and invoking medical authority as well (albeit in a "don't stop taking your prescriptions" and "contact your GP" sort of way).

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:28:34 UTC | #914513

mmurray's Avatar Comment 20 by mmurray

Comment 19 by digofthedump :

Thankyou Michael.....Hmmmmmm!! Interesting. It is, I guess, a matter of the difference between the letter and the spirit of the law. If an organization is technically presenting their point of view as art (or belief) yet realistically trying to get people to emotionally relate to it as factual then it is a case of determining whether there is any intention to mislead. I don't think this is the case with the Christian organization here but on the otherhand I do see the ASA's concern...namely the inclusion of a list of medical terms of specific disorders and invoking medical authority as well (albeit in a "don't stop taking your prescriptions" and "contact your GP" sort of way).

I was also interested to see in that link of Alan's that there is a Cancer Act 1939:

The Cancer Act 1939 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in 1939. Its most notable provision is a clause prohibiting taking any part in publication, except under specified conditions, of advertisements that "offer to treat any person for cancer, or to prescribe any remedy therefor, or to give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof".

So this is criminal sanction not just the self regulation that the ASA does.

Michael

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:33:37 UTC | #914514

pipsy's Avatar Comment 21 by pipsy

This should solve all the NHS problems. In fact we will not even need an NHS as the omnipotent one can handle it all.

Absolution and Exorcism departments are just what we need.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:43:46 UTC | #914518

digofthedump's Avatar Comment 22 by digofthedump

Comment 2 & 13 by Alan4discussion

Thankyou Alan....Again interesting.

See comment 19 regarding the Bath Christians although if, as the Mail article says, they said that "scores of people have been physically healed" as opposed to "we believe that scores of people have been physically healed"...then yes, technically there is case against them (although it's strange to think that such a claim would need to be qualified in this way but then given their use of medical jargon it is not just a technical requirement but morally necessary).

As for the BBC Wales piece...this is a matter of criminal fraud pure and simple and susceptible people must be protected from such scams.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:45:36 UTC | #914519

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 23 by aquilacane

They are the sick people. They need medical treatment themselves, shame those baths don't really heal, but I guess just isolating their message from the healthy is a start.

"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."

Yes, very sick and dangerous people. I would have them charged if they keep it up. They will keep it up, nothing spits in the face of the law like a christian with the faith to believe!

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:49:05 UTC | #914521

digofthedump's Avatar Comment 24 by digofthedump

So this is criminal sanction not just the self regulation that the ASA does.

Well surely this is a matter of interpretation and common sense...unless we want to legally identify prayer and belief as medical "treatment" or "remedy".

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 13:58:58 UTC | #914524

potteryshard's Avatar Comment 25 by potteryshard

It is one of the great shames of the US legal code that no requirements for proof of efficacy are required for advertising. Not just in matters religious, but in general. Here, faith healers don't even have to bother with the qualifier "we believe" in advertising. Another type of faith healers, the ones that push pills rather than religion, have no obligation to prove results for their 'health supplement' concoctions.

We need to pick up on some basic respect and protecton of citizenry from you Brits; the lack of truth-in-advertising regulations here is an indication of how little the actual people are valued. Instead of "we the people" is has become a land of "we the patronized.".

And yes... Reasonable truth-in-advertising laws would go a long ways to eliminate the cruelty, deception, and robbery that characterizes faith healing. How sad that government endorses it.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 14:21:34 UTC | #914532

peter mayhew's Avatar Comment 26 by peter mayhew

‎"It seems very odd that ASA would want to prevent us from stating the very basic Christian message that God can heal illness.". That's because it's FALSE.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 14:30:27 UTC | #914535

Flapjack's Avatar Comment 27 by Flapjack

Derren Brown's documentary "Miracles for Sale" revealed the arsenal of tricks in the faith healer's repertoire quite nicely, from bogus leg lengthening (Finding someone with slip-on shoes and tug slightly at the heel to create the illusion that the recipient's stunted leg had grown by a couple of inches) to 'curing' the blind by misleading the faithful over the nature of the partially sighted. Naturally they also use stooges and milk the audience for personal details on questionaire cards which are presented as divine revelations later. Seems almost too obvious but apparently these ameteur conjuring tricks work on impressionable grown adults. The chronically sick don't get anywhere near the stage.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 14:50:54 UTC | #914538

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 28 by Tyler Durden

HOTS Bath said: "All over the world as part of their normal Christian life, Christians believe in, pray for and experience God's healing...

Evidence, please.

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.

Thankfully I haven't seen any of these dangerous charlatans on the streets of Dublin, otherwise, they would be praying for "god's healing".

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 15:06:29 UTC | #914543

Capt. Bloodeye's Avatar Comment 29 by Capt. Bloodeye

"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."

Good for you. Your beliefs are groundless. Next.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 16:23:21 UTC | #914557

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 30 by strangebrew

The ASA are generally spineless when it comes to jeebus woo...

They have claimed that they take action when the number of complaints hit a threshold to asses the advert...but if religious they do seem somewhat hesitant.

A while back there was a bus campaign by the British Humanist Association's mentioning

"There isprobably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life".

Note that is not a definite claim that is a 'probably'....

It received 150 complaints...the ASA concluded

the campaign did not break the advertising code, concluding that the ads were an "expression of the advertiser's opinion and that the claims in it were not capable of objective substantiation". As such, it said that it was unlikely to mislead or to cause widespread offence.

The Christian party however responded with...

"There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life."

That is a unsubstantiated claim...but they got away with because it was ruled a political advert....

The ASA did not investigate, on the grounds that political party ads are outside its remit, though it had 1,204 complaints asserting that the existence of a divine being was offensive to atheists, and in any case could not be proven.

So the ASA tends to the twists and turns as suits and basically tells porky pies about the 'more complaints the more likely they are to act.' They are rather shy at times but this latest development is welcomed indeed.

Sat, 04 Feb 2012 16:27:34 UTC | #914558