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Why Faith Healing is Dangerous

A Christian TV show taped in London and broadcast over satellite TV is coming under fire for putting viewers lives at risk by telling them that they’re healed of diseases. The danger, of course, is that they’ll stop taking medication or other forms of medical treatment.

Miracle Hour is filmed at Faith World TV’s studio in south London. It is hosted by Bishop Simon Iheanacho, who is chairman of Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs (Meca), which supports black and minority ethnic Christians and is part of ecumenical body Churches Together in England.

In an episode broadcast on 4 January, on channel 591 on the Sky platform, a diabetic caller named Bode, from Leyton in east London, telephoned the programme.

Bishop Simon told him to lay his hand on his leg and said: “I cause diabetes to die in your body.

“I lose you and declare you set free from the power of diabetes.

“Thank you heavenly father for this miracle right now over your life in Jesus’s name.”

Bode was then asked to repeat the words “it is well with me”…

Later in the episode, Christy from London called the show to say her sister-in-law had breast cancer.

Bishop Simon prayed for her and said: “We remove out of your body that root of cancer.”

He later said: “We cursed the cancer. It’s dead,” and later still: “Tell them not to worry about anything.”

Though I’m always irritated by religious scams, it’s very difficult for the law to prevent such things without violating the First Amendment. But with faith healing, it really is putting lives in danger. There may be a case for stepping in.

Comments

  1. mvemjsun says

    What about fraud? They likely take donations. Or attempted murder if one of their healed indivisuals ends up in a hospital. Hopefully murder will not ever be applicable as I hope no one dies listening to these con artists.

  2. matty1 says

    @1 Almost certainly not, there are some free speech rights and laws against religious discrimination but nothing that would make ‘free exercise of religion’ the kind of get out of jail free card it seems to be in the US. Also as the linked article mentions broadcast media are heavily regulated by OFCOM and can be fined or in extreme cases loose their licence to broadcast because of what they put out.

  3. Trebuchet says

    it’s not just faith healers, of course. “Alternative Medicine” practitioners, including chirpractors (especially chiropractors!) kill thousands of people every year and get away with it.

  4. says

    One example I remember reading about was a woman with some kind of spinal condition who was lead to stand up from her wheelchair by the faith healer. She got enough of an adrenaline rush from the ritual environment that she was able to stand briefly. After the show, the adrenaline wore off and she felt the damage she did to her spine. She died in agony days later, off camera.

  5. marcus says

    Not that the government should not intervene, possibly through the FCC at least for the rebroadcast in the US, but people die of stupidity every day. Sometimes there is no help for them.

  6. says

    I’ve had someone try to faith heal me before. It really ended up being an excuse for a 70 something year old man to caress my crotch in front of my mother.

  7. raven says

    Why Faith Healing is Dangerous

    They will kill a few people here and there no doubt about it.

    I’ve seen a few cases myself.

    The worst are the children. Around 100 children a year in the USA are killed by their parents in a charming human child sacrifice ritual called “fath healing”. Some of these families have lost two children to the same mindless superstition.

    Of adults, the numbers dead are much larger but no one really knows. After age 18, you are free to reject and all medical care and die any way you want. I’m sure most people have seen or heard of someone who went alt-med and/or faith healing and died shortly afterwards.

  8. baal says

    “Bishop Simon told him to lay his hand on his leg and said: “I cause diabetes to die in your body.”
    How do you kill what is already dead?

    As spikes in your blood sugar levels leads to the death of your islets of Langerhans cells, ‘killing’ diabetes would actually need him to be resurrecting* cells.

    *or maybe re-differentiation of existing cells to a degree the body just doesn’t do.

  9. wscott says

    Bishop Simon told him to lay his hand on his leg and said: “I cause diabetes to die in your body.”

    Gee, if only there was some way to independantly verify whether this worked or not…

  10. rork says

    Religious quackery is likely a incredibly small piece of the quackery pie. Too amateurish. They make the homeopaths look sophisticated. The average Reiki or other energy-medicine practitioners blow them away. There are 20 other flavors. But the bigger money is in supplements, almost unregulated in the US.
    We have been very bad at stopping any of this.

  11. pacal says

    Bronze Dog No. 7.

    One example I remember reading about was a woman with some kind of spinal condition who was lead to stand up from her wheelchair by the faith healer. She got enough of an adrenaline rush from the ritual environment that she was able to stand briefly. After the show, the adrenaline wore off and she felt the damage she did to her spine. She died in agony days later, off camera.,

    I think your thinking about the late Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman who died in 1976 of heart problems. She was a famous and televised Evangelical Faith Healer until shortly before her death. One of her famous “cures” involved the facts you described about a woman who had a severe spinal problem who got up from her chair and died a few days later of complications resulting from walking.

  12. martinc says

    timgueguen @ 16:

    a) Obscure reference to 1970s English TV cop show ‘The Professionals’.
    b) Reference isn’t quite correct: it was Bodie, not Bode.
    c) Interesting Culture-Wars-related addendum: in one episode of The Professionals, the villain (and love-interest) was played by Lalla Ward, now Mrs. Richard Dawkins.

  13. thumper1990 says

    Really? No one else?

    Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs (Meca)

    “Meca”? No one else laughed?

    Though I’m always irritated by religious scams, it’s very difficult for the law to prevent such things without violating the First Amendment.

    Hah, not here in the good old UK! Here they come under the Trading Standards act and so can at least be prosecuted for fraud… however, we just refuse to prosecute them out of some ridiculous misguided “respect” for religion *grumble*.

    Even parents who allow their child to die don’t get jail time.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2205306/Russel-Brandi-Bellew-Faith-healer-parents-avoid-jail-Austin-Sprout-16-dies.html

  14. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Though I’m always irritated by religious scams, it’s very difficult for the law to prevent such things without violating the First Amendment. But with faith healing, it really is putting lives in danger. There may be a case for stepping in. – Ed

    But IIRC, you were completely opposed to any action against the makers of Innocence of Muslims, or even holding them morally responsible for the deaths it led to, because FREEZE PEACH.

  15. says

    But IIRC, you were completely opposed to any action against the makers of Innocence of Muslims, or even holding them morally responsible for the deaths it led to, because FREEZE PEACH.

    For myself, I think the difference is that the faith healers are promoting an idea that provides a clear danger to the health of the “mark.” I think the IoM trailer provided incitement only by way of being something that a certain group is already irrationally upset about.

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