Faith healing comes with a fair share of controversy. For some non-believers, the notion that a higher power would intervene to heal the afflicted it patently absurd. For some believers, even, the practice seems somewhat above and beyond the earthly realm of possibility.
Yet for others, faith healing is an important tenet that showcases the full power and ability of the Almighty. But in England, the government is agreeing with the former cohorts, as an agency is cracking down on the notion that God can cure those in need.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Britain's media advertising watchdog, has banned a Christian group from making claims on its web site and advertising brochures that God can cure a number of ailments, RNS reports. According to the ad authority, the group Healing on the Streets (HOTS) Baths was being both irresponsible and misleading in its stated claims about God's power to heal.
Here's a "trailer" that explains the group's work:
HOPS Bath has claimed that ulcers, depression, allergies, asthma, paralysis and sleeping disorders, among other illness, can be cured by the Lord. After an anonymous individual complained about one of group's leaflets, the ASA investigated and concluded that the ads "could encourage false hope and were irresponsible." The leaflet reads:
"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?
"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 ASA has distinguished itself as extremely strict when it comes to oversight. In fact, it's considered among the world's most stringent advertising oversight agencies.
(H/T: RNS via HuffPo)