A faith healing television channel has today been fined £25,000 by media regulator Ofcom over a series of breaches, including a televangelist who claimed that he could help individuals with serious illnesses using “miracle olive oil soap”.
Believe TV, operated by The Light Academy Ltd, broadcasts a schedule of ‘faith’ programs on Sky, including “testimony” from members of churches about how their health, financial and personal problems have been alleviated through healing from a pastor or other religious leader.
In one sequence, televangelist Paul Lewis preached directly to the camera about the healing power of using his “Miracle Olive Oil Soap”.
The regulator criticized The Light Academy for allowing previous breaches to be repeated, and said that the licencee showed “overall very poor compliance” which “placed vulnerable viewers directly at risk of harm and exploitation”.
Tip: Blue_wode on Twitter
This is similar to the HOTS story where a religious institution was making medical claims regarding the healing power of prayer. Say what you want about faith healing, you can believe what you wish, but to make specific claims about the efficacy of an activity or product crosses the line in advertising. In these cases, the claimants can point to no clinical trials that would constitute solid evidence for their allegations.
As noted, they are targeting vulnerable people, using their rhetoric and faith-based influence to coerce people into buying the product.
Incidentally, you can coerce people with appeals to science or sex or fashion trends or celebrities. Religion, in this case, is just another means for marketing.