God can’t heal: ASA
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered a group of Christians in Bath not to make any claims which state or imply that God can heal through prayer.
Registered Christian trust, the ‘Healing on the Streets — Bath’ (HOTS) team, have been praying for the public outside Bath Abbey for three years and regularly offer to pray for people who are sick to receive healing.
However, atheist Hayley Stevens took offence to the group’s adverts, complaining to the ASA that the claims by the Christians could ‘not be substantiated’.
Her complaint was upheld and the ASA have now ordered the group to stop stating on their web site or in literature that God can heal.
Paul Skelton, founder of HOTS, said, ‘It seems very odd to us the ASA wants to prevent us from stating on our web site the basic Christian belief that God can heal illness. The ASA has even demanded that we sign a document agreeing not to say this, which is unacceptable to us.
‘The ASA has decided it is appropriate to insist that we cannot talk about a common and widely held belief that is an important aspect of conventional Christian faith. They would now like us to recant our Christian faith in the Bible’.
He said HOTS will appeal the decision. Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said, ‘This decision strikes at the heart of freedom of belief in the UK. Will we be told that telling people their sins are forgiven, or that you can go to heaven, breaches advertising standards next?’