Can prayer cure illness?

 

In the studio pre-broadcast
In the studio pre-broadcast

If you happen to watch BBC1’s The Big Questions on a Sunday morning then you might have spotted me among the guests this morning. I was invited onto the show to debate the question ‘Can prayer cure illness?’ because of my involvement in the ASA complaint against Healing on the Streets in Bath. I was joined in the ‘no’ camp by Kevin Friery of Hampshire Skeptics, and I owe him huge thanks for helping calm my nerves about my first live TV experience. I also think he deserves credit for the comment he made about praying for traffic lights to stay green! Continue reading Can prayer cure illness?

Religious Healing Claims not exempt from CAP Codes

Today the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) advised via their website that claims of Religious and Spiritual Healing are not exempt from being found to breach CAP Codes stating ‘Rule 12.2 prohibits marketers from discouraging essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.  They should not offer specific advice on, diagnosis of or treatment for such conditions unless that advice, diagnosis or treatment is conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional.’ 

They cited specific claims that would be in breach of CAP codes with examples of times such claims had been made by religious organisations and also used as an example my successful complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about the claims being made by the ‘Healing on the Streets’ organisation in Bath who claimed that their god could heal everything from colds and broken bones to HIV and crippling disease. Continue reading Religious Healing Claims not exempt from CAP Codes

An Outcome In The ASA ‘praying for healing’ Appeal

The complaint I made to the ASA about Healing on the Streets (HOTS) Bath was originally upheld by the ASA with the following:

 The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told HOTS not to make claims which stated or implied that, by receiving prayer from their volunteers, people could be healed of medical conditions. We also told them not to refer in their ads to medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.

The ASA had told HOTS that they could not state that they believed prayer could cure people, which had been the amendment HOTS suggested they were happy to make at the time. This decision by the ASA was appealed by the HOTS group and I was asked to contribute a statement to the appeal being conducted by an independent person who had not been involved in the original case. Today I received word that an outcome had been reached and the original “outcome” has been upheld but only applies to the leaflet now, and not the website which was decided to fall outside of the remit of the ASA in this case. Continue reading An Outcome In The ASA ‘praying for healing’ Appeal