The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned an advert by Healing on the Streets – Bath (HOTS) that claimed healing through prayer.
The ASA ruled that: A video on the website made claims that HOTS volunteers had successfully prayed for healing for people with cancer, fibromyalgia, back pain, kidney pain, hip pain, cataracts, arthritis and paralysis. We noted the testimonials on the website and in the video but considered that testimonials were insufficient as evidence for claims of healing. We therefore concluded the ads were misleading.
The HOTS website stated “Our vision is to Promote Christian Healing as a daily life style for every believer, through demonstration, training and equipping. We are working in unity, from numerous churches outside the four walls of the building, In order to Heal the sick “.
The ASA were concerned that ‘the ads could discourage people, and particularly the vulnerable or those suffering from undiagnosed symptoms, from seeking essential treatment for medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.’
Tip: Hayley Stevens and Karen Stollznow
The complaint was initiated by Hayley Stevens, a well-known blogger, speaker and podcaster in skeptical circles. Here is a local article with more. Christian group told to stop claiming it can heal people in Bath
The group contends they are being harassed because of their religious beliefs and is planning to appeal holding that they should be allowed to express their belief and experiences. They can certainly express whatever they wish, but the ruling was particular to the medical claims they made which have no supporting evidence. Healing through prayer has been tested repeatedly. In blinded trials, it fails to show any benefit.