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A new cure for HIV? Oops, no, just an old scam

The technique ought to make people suspicious.

The healing process involves the pastor shouting over the person being healed for the devil to come out of their body, while spraying water in their face.

One of the pastors, Rachel Holmes, told Sky’s reporter Shatila, who is a genuine HIV sufferer, they had a 100% success rate.

Ms Holmes said: “We have many people that contract HIV. All are healed.”

She said, if symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea persist, it is actually a sign of the virus leaving the body.

Quackery gets smuggled in under the guise of godliness, and somehow people think that makes it perfectly reasonable.

The consequences are not reasonable, however: at least six people are known to have died because they stopped taking their medication for AIDS after these contemptible liars told them they were cured: in the article, one gullible gay man admits to having infected his boyfriend with HIV after being told he was HIV free.

One final non-surprise:

The Synagogue Church of All Nations is wealthy. It has branches across the globe and its own TV channel.

On its website, it promotes its anointing water, which is used during the healing, and it also makes money from merchandise, such as DVDs, CDs and books.

Church members are expected to give regular donations.

Comments

  1. Ray Moscow says

    One might think this is a third-world tragedy, but no, it’s London.

    In religion, we’re all third world.

  2. Richard Eis says

    He said: “It is foolish advice and it is tragic advice because the consequences of this kind of advice can only be that people pass on HIV and can only be seriously bad for the individual concerned – including death.”

    It’s not “tragic” or “foolish”. It’s as close as you can get to murdering someone for money without stabbing them with the knife yourself.

    No, i take it back, this is (in a way) worse because you give them the knife and the guilt and tell them to kill themselves and the people they love.

    …and nothing makes for church attendance and full coffers like guilt.

  3. Didaktylos says

    And of course and failure in this sort of “healing” is ascribed to God withholding his favour due to lack of faith on the patient’s part.

  4. Beatrice says

    “We must have a genuine desire if we come to God. We are not in position to question anybody’s genuine desire. Only God knows if one comes with true desire. Only God can determine this.

    “That is why, if anybody comes in the name of God, we pray for them. The outcome of the prayer will determine if they come genuinely or not.”

    Oh yeah, pile on that guilt on the people you scamed. Murderers. *spits*

  5. raven says

    It’s Hitchen’s rule in action.
    Religion poisons everything.

    The consequences are not reasonable, however: at least six people are known to have died because they stopped taking their medication for AIDS after these contemptible liars told them they were cured:

    Toxic religion can kill. It often does. If you are over 18, it is perfectly legal to kill yourself with faith healers.

    It’s not “tragic” or “foolish”. It’s as close as you can get to murdering someone for money without stabbing them with the knife yourself.

    In most jurisdictions, it is a felony to knowingly infect others with HIV without informing them first.

    This is a crime that they will prosecute people for. One irresponsible person can ruin the lives of a lot of other, frequently young people.

  6. JoeKaistoe says

    I wish I could sell morons exceedingly expensive water and convince them it’s a miracle cure. Darn all these morals and ethics I’m afflicted with! If only I were an atheist, I would be free of them…

    Oh wait…

  7. grumpyoldfart says

    Are the police investigating? Has the Government decided to hold an inquiry? Probably not worth the effort. You can’t go around offending Christians just because half a dozen of their patients have died.

  8. raven says

    The Department of Health is “very concerned”? Where are the arrests?

    It is legal in the US to kill yourself with faith healing for those over 18.

    It’s even legal to sacrifice your children to the Sky Monster by medical neglect in some states. That is slowly changing though. Occasionally they are prosecuting and getting convictions.

  9. shouldbeworking says

    If believe in gawd cures all ills, why have we had so many popes and Protestant wing nuts in the past 2000 years? My “born again” cousin has now unfriended on Facebook because I asked that question.

  10. jayarrrr says

    Hey! Dontcha know that “sometimes” Gawd’s answer is “Screw You”?

    “Sometimes” meaning a frequency that looks an awful lot like Random Chance.

  11. Richard Smith says

    The healing process involves the pastor shouting over the person…while spraying water in their face.

    Sounds like standard religious practice: standing over the person and crying out to god while repeatedly annointing their face…

  12. Gregory says

    Notice how the church is insulating itself from lawsuits: “”We are not the Healer – God is the Healer.” So when people die, they can smugly shrug their shoulders.

    How do you fight against the deeply held religious belief in the miracle efficacy of snake oil?

  13. Stonyground says

    Just how stupid do you have to be to believe that shouting and spraying water about can cure a serious illness? I know that blaming the victim is extremely bad form and these charlatans deserve to be prosecuted but you really can’t be a victim of such people unless you are an idiot as well.

  14. RFW says

    Yawn.

    [This fake church] promotes its anointing water, which is used during the healing, and it also makes money from merchandise, such as DVDs, CDs and books.

    The minute I read ‘anointing water’ and ‘makes money’, I knew we were looking at another grifter-run scam. I’m sorry about those conned by this gang of thieves, but the surrounding details are nothing new. It’s just another con-man who figured out that packaging his con as religion makes it nearly immune to legal remedies.

    Until there are laws curbing “freedom of religion” so it can no longer be used as a cover story for outright fraud, we’ll keep reading about this kind of thing.

  15. Q.E.D says

    If one is minded to be a criminal, first adopt a religion. One’s scam becomes tax free and benefits from almost complete impunity from the operation of civil and criminal laws.

    Protected by the cloak of religion one can: charge for “enlightenment”, mutilate children’s genitalia, run for profit tax free businesses, perform quackery, forcibly “marry children” to adults, engage in hate crime against LGBT people, one’s clerics can rape children and one can scam followers out of their money, again, tax free.

    If one were a sick, misanthropic bastard it would be madness not to avail oneself of the “benefits” of religion.

  16. peterh says

    In Swaziland, one can be “cured” of AIDS by having sex with a virgin. So say the witch doctors who hold great sway there.

  17. uncle frogy says

    This story and the many like it that come to my attention from time to time leave me feeling very conflicted.
    For all of the obvious reasons PZ likes to high light here I would like to severely restrict religion by law and by practice to only those areas that they can prove. To tax all their property and income that is not devoted to the support of their congregations.
    At the same time I recognize that that would feed their feelings of persecution and would probably lead to persecution in time in fact.
    We humans have a long history of persecution of each other over what we think, what we look like, what sex we are, politics we favor or even what area we come from or live in . We hardly need any excuse at all before the urge to purge our in group of undesirables rears its head.
    Under this thin skin of urbanity and civilization lives an ignorant, fearful, emotional violent ape.
    There are no benevolent God kings to lead us to some future of peace and harmony through truth and reason there are only our selves and as disagreeable as we are that is all we got to work with.
    Any one have any real ideas how we might proceed to really help change the way we do things now and encourage more use of truth and reason?

    uncle frogy

  18. says

    Clearly the virus gets so exasperated at all the yelling that it packs up and leaves.
    The water is so they’ll admit all their sins, and also where their leaders and accomplices are hiding.

  19. Pikemann Urge says

    Interesting how people can claim to cure a disease without understanding it (even if their faith is true the criticism stands).

    But hey, you want to be more angry? The earliest treatments for AIDS was a chemotherapy drug so toxic that it killed the patients. So it is not just religion that poisons everything.

  20. raven says

    HIV Denialist:

    Interesting how people can claim to cure a disease without understanding it (even if their faith is true the criticism stands).

    But hey, you want to be more angry? The earliest treatments for AIDS was a chemotherapy drug so toxic that it killed the patients. So it is not just religion that poisons everything.

    Oh a germ theory of disease and HIV denialist.

    How quaint. They are almost extinct.

    The ones who are HIV+ keep dying. Of AIDS. Say hello to Christine Maggiore for me. She managed to not only kill herself but kill her little girl as well.

    Crackpots can kill just as easily as religious kooks.

  21. Gentry says

    in the article, one gullible gay man admits to having infected his boyfriend with HIV after being told he was HIV free.

    I’m surprised this contemptible institution even tried to cure him of AIDS prior to “curing” him of homosexuality.

    How is this not illegal? And what exactly is being said in its defense that doesn’t sound like complete bullshit?

  22. raven says

    Denying AIDS and other oddities:

    Kim Bannon has Passed Away denyingaids .blogspot.com/2011/…/kim-bannon-has-passed-away.ht…Cached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    17 Nov 2011 – Seeking Stories of AIDS Denialism …
    Kim Bannon in AIDS Denialist film ‘House of … Kim was born in Topeka, Kansas, graduated from Goddard High School as … All Royalties from Denying AIDS buy HIV medications in Africa …

    Kim Bannon once starred in a HIV denialist film. Since then 3 or 4 people who appeared in that film have died. Of AIDS.

    This happens a lot with HIV denialists. Routine.

  23. Pikemann Urge says

    AIDS denier? I hope that it was not leveled at me. I am an HIV-AIDS denier, not an AIDS denier. Which is a minuscule minority. Which happens to be correct. I don’t like that but what can I do? Human folly is present in things other than religion.

    Of course people are going to die of AIDS, even if they have the correct view. Knowing facts does not my superpower.

  24. raven says

    death cult kook:

    I am an HIV-AIDS denier, not an AIDS denier. Which is a minuscule minority.

    Not any difference at all.

    You are a deluded crackpot but one of the few left. All the others have died by now. Of HIV caused AIDS.

    Of course people are going to die of AIDS, even if they have the correct view.

    This is a flat out lie. HIV-AIDS denialism is all lies and lies that kill people.

    1. People who accept the Germ Theory of Disease can often avoid even catching the HIV virus. Knowledge is power and knowledge is key here. This fact alone has saved millions or even hundreds of millions of lives.

    2. People who are HIV+ can go on treatment in many places. This will extend their livespan by 2 to 3 decades. Many will die of other diseases first. A cure for HIV infection is on the horizon now, with one cure.

    3. The epidemic you don’t believe is being beaten back. New infections peaked in 1997 and even the number dying per year is dropping. By real scientists, not crackpots with lies.

    Chances are good Kim Bannon, Christine Maggiore, and her baby daughter would still be alive with treatment.

  25. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Pikemann Urge #39

    I am an HIV-AIDS denier, not an AIDS denier.

    So what does cause AIDS, thinking evil thoughts and cavorting with demons?

    Which is a minuscule minority.

    Would that it be a non-existent minority.

    Which happens to be correct.

    In your opinion. The real world has different ideas.

    I don’t like that but what can I do?

    I have a suggestion which includes a decaying porcupine.

    Human folly is present in things other than religion.

    Pikeman Urge is Exhibit A.

    Of course people are going to die of AIDS, even if they have the correct view.

    What is the “correct view”?

    Knowing facts does not my superpower.

    It’s not even your ordinary power.

  26. peterh says

    “…severely restrict religion by law and by practice to only those areas that they can prove.”

    In a word, flush it.

  27. crowepps says

    Maybe the way to handle this would be to allow persons who claim religion motivates them to say anything at all, but to make it comletely illegal for them to get MONEY as part of the process. Believe me, if there wasn’t money in it for the professionals, 90% of the ‘religion’ out there would disappear overnight.

  28. matthewpocock says

    While this may not necessarily reach the level of culpability to count as murder, surely this pattern of deaths should surpass the threshold for some form of corporate manslaughter / GBH? The church in question has repeatedly caused others to follow a course of action that has lead to death or terminal infection. They have done this in the knowledge of the past cases. I am not a lawyer, but unless there are some bizarre exemption rules for religious groups, the church as a whole or the members of the church directly involved in these ‘healings’ should be prosecutable for the demonstrable harm they have either knowingly or through unreasonable negligence caused. If not, then I think we need a change in the law.

  29. KG says

    I am an HIV-AIDS denier – Pikemann Urge

    You’re a fucking dangerous moron. Go stick your head in a bucket of quick-drying cement.

  30. Realee says

    This is just despicable.

    I’m a counselor and have talked to clients who were “healed” from depression or other mental illness by their church because when they talked to their community leader about their problems they where told it was the moral path.

    Then, when they’re still depressed…

    There’s still the usual stigma for mental illness holding them back from treatment.
    There’s the sense that they can’t really be depressed (or what have you) any more because they were told clearly that they are healed, so anything remaining is simply their “character flaw”
    OR
    They’re not only depressed but they aren’t a good enough person or Christian for god to have healed them and they think it’s going against their faith to seek help.

    It’s heart breaking and dangerous.

    I can’t imagine how any individual would be so arrogant to tell someone they are unequivocally healed. I’ve seen it with mental illness, which people fail to understand as a physical problem in general all the time… so I can see ignorant someones thinking of it as a spiritual one… I think it’s horrible but I can see the failed effort to apply reasoning… even if it makes my skin crawl… but HIV?!?! So much anger towards these ignorant, arrogant, blind, idiots.

  31. says

    This reminds me of the “cure” the AIDS Denialists were excited about a few years back: “Dr.” Hulda Clark’s ZAPPER. A low voltage device with electrodes to put on the body that would zap away cancer, AIDS and, of course, the common cold!