Take a deep breath before reading

I don’t know how some people live with themselves. People who claim to be able to cure HIV through God, for example, and thus tell patients to stop taking their medication.

At least six people have died in Britain after being told that they had been healed of HIV, and could stop taking their medication.

There is evidence that evangelical churches in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow are claiming to cure HIV through God.

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

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

“We’ve had people come back before saying ‘Oh I’m not healed. The diarrhoea I had when I had HIV, I’ve got it again.’ I have to stop them and say ‘no, please, you are free.'”

That makes me very very angry. It makes me want to have a very stern conversation with Rachel Holmes.

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.

Sky News asked them to respond to the investigation.

We are not the Healer; God is the Healer. Never a sickness God cannot heal. Never a disease God cannot cure. Never a burden God cannot bear. Never a problem God cannot solve.

Nothing to do with them, you see, it’s all God. That’s why it’s all right for them to tell people to stop taking medication.


  1. Jurjen S. says

    The “Synagogue Church of All Nations”? “S.C.A.N.”? They’re one letter off.

    If anything, I’d say the claim that “we are not the Healer; God is the Healer” puts the onus on them to prove they’re not charlatans. If there’s “never a disease God cannot cure,” and yet the disease is demonstrably not cured, I’d say that’s evidence that their claim that they can get God to cure the disease is false.

  2. cmv says

    You see, God is the Healer. There’s never a disease God cannot cure. Doesn’t mean there’s never a disease God will not cure.
    Of course, if God didn’t cure their diseases, they must not have prayed hard enough.
    So incredibly disgusting.

  3. sailor1031 says

    Just one more example of ‘religion’ getting a free pass, though this is really just a business masquerading as a church. Isn’t there a law about practicing medicine without a licence in the UK?
    Oh well, the charities commission is ‘looking into it’ so that’s alright then.

  4. grumpyoldfart says

    If the police won’t prosecute and the Government doesn’t have the guts to intervene, then I guess the Brits will have to put up with the situation.

    Fair enough too, it would be rude to ask The Synagogue Church of All Nations to prove their claims when none of the other religions are required to do so.

  5. Sarcastic says

    Gods is only infinite when it comes to healing. He never seems to be around when a church needs money. Donating money is the job of the faithful

  6. says

    As (liberal Christian theologian) Peter Rollins explains in his new book Insurrection (Howard Books, 2011), faith healing is a prime example of how most fundamentalists receive conflicting messages from their pulpits:

    In fundamentalism, we witness a type of psychotic relation to language in that there is an attempt to banish the hidden message from discourse. And yet this proves almost impossible. While everyone in a fundamentalist community may appear to really affirm the religious view of God both intellectually and in Church practice, there is a complex and hidden set of secret messages that tell people when to believe and not to. For instance, the claim “God will heal you if you have enough faith” really contains the following secret, disavowed message: “If it’s not too serious, pray for it, but if your illness is life-threatening, seek medical help.” (p. 60)

  7. says

    The Scots church is likely to be liable in delict and possibly also criminally. The English situation is less clear; there may be tortious liability but not criminal liability, as English law takes a stronger view of personal autonomy than does Scots law.

  8. Ken Pidcock says

    “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.”

    So, clearly, these are just people whom God chose not to heal. You can’t hold The Synagogue Church of All Nations responsible for that. They tried.

  9. says

    Yes, they actually get off on a technicality of personal responsibility.

    You do have a right to refuse medical treatment and that may protect the church on that front.

    However there are quackery laws and you can be held criminally accountable for practicing medicine without a license. If treated as quacks they can be prosecuted but I am unfamiliar with the legal procedures involved.

    Actually should a prosecution stick it would cause a knock on effect of requiring homeopaths to have medical licenses. I do think the rules regarding this sort of thing need review in the UK after this.

  10. says

    A right to refuse medical treatment is surely very different from advising (let alone urging, or just plain telling) other people to refuse it. I certainly hope it is! It’s not even criminal negligence, because it’s active as opposed to passive.


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