Quote# 86081

[re: authorities banning faith healing group from saying they can heal people]

This is an outrageous attack on freedom of religion, on the basic right of people to express central tenets of their faith. Of course, the authorities have a role to play in keeping a check on the scientific claims made by businesses in their ads. If, for example, Pepsi suddenly announced that a can of its pop can cure backache, that should be challenged; likewise, companies that spout homeopathic claptrap can reasonably be asked to provide evidence for their claims. But the state and its offshoots have no business whatsoever sticking their snouts into the expression of a religious conviction, into the public articulation of faith, which is precisely what the HOTS leaflet was. Monitoring claims that are made in an explicitly scientific fashion is fine, but policing the expression of an inner conviction, of a profound belief in the healing qualities of God, is ludicrous and authoritarian. Not content with policing the public square, the ASA, it seems, now wants to monitor men’s souls too.

Brendan O'Neill, The Telegraph 49 Comments [2/17/2012 4:30:07 AM]
Fundie Index: 46
Submitted By: Night Jaguar

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Put up or shut up!

Show us verifiable evidence to support the claim that "god" heals and the ban will be dropped.

2/17/2012 4:36:49 AM


Yeah, no overlap between those two cases at all. Totally good to go.

Ya loon.

2/17/2012 4:37:27 AM

Night Jaguar

Shorter O'Neill:

Business lying about ability to heal, bad.
Religion lying about ability to heal, okay.

2/17/2012 4:51:18 AM


Yeah, create such a loophole and companies will just write "god" in a corner of their ad and claim that false advertisement is religious freedom.

2/17/2012 5:15:47 AM

This isn't an attack on freedom of religion. It's an attack on people making unsubstantiated claims that they can cure serious diseases - claims that might well lure in the unwary and hopeless. It's no different to homeopathy in that respect and is policed as such. I bet you just fapped yourself raw reading Warsi's bullshit the other day too eh?

2/17/2012 5:55:02 AM

the healing qualities of God

Strangely denied for amputees. Or as good ol' Pat Robertson would say "You didn't believe hard enough!"

2/17/2012 5:59:47 AM

Mister Spak

"But the state and its offshoots have no business whatsoever sticking their snouts into the expression of a religious conviction, into the public articulation of faith,"

What if this religious conviction/public articulation of faith says an invisible man can cure backache or you should use homeopathic claptrap? Should the state stick its snout into this? Or should it only stick its snout into into the false religions that compete with your true religion?

2/17/2012 6:15:22 AM


When snake oil salesmen start pretending to practice medicine, they need to either prove 'faith healing' can be done or get arrested for fraud.

2/17/2012 6:23:28 AM

D Laurier

No Brendan.
It isnt an attack on faith.
Its an attack on FRAUD.

You are lying to people, and taking their money.

2/17/2012 6:52:11 AM


Freedom of religion is the freedom to believe in bullshit. It's not the freedom to make up bullshit claims about yourself that will cause harm or death to someone else. What if I said that I believe the Aztec religion and that I needed to sacrifice you? See, that'd be illegal, even if I sincerely believed it, because it'd be causing harm to another person and that's what you're doing.

2/17/2012 7:03:19 AM

Doubting Thomas

Sorry for me being ignorant, even though I lived there for a couple years, but do they really have freedom of religion in Britian?

On one hand I'm inclined to agree with him in that it does limit freedom of religion if these people really believe they can cure diseases by praying. On the other hand, I'm sure these groups probably are scammers who charge outrageous amounts for "prayer cures" which obviously won't work one bit, which is going to be detrimental to others' health. On the third hand, if someone is stupid enough to go to these people instead of being treated by a doctor, then maybe society is better off without them.

2/17/2012 7:25:38 AM


A religious sect's profound belief that they can heal diseases has to prove its statement scientifically, just as Pepsis profound belief that their soda can cure diseases, stupid. When you mix in diseases it becomes medicine, which is a science, and every claim has to be proven scientifically.

Religious sects are free to heal heartache from broken love, lethargy, boredom, things like that, with their profound beliefs.
You are also free to cure yourself with prayers, to refuse medical care for yourself, but not to induce anyone else to refuse medical care.

As far as I know they do have religious freedom in Britain. They have a state Church, but no-one is forced to be a member.
Sweden used to have a state Church and every child born to parents belonging to that church was automatically enrolled in the Church. But everyone was free to leave the church if they wanted to.

2/17/2012 7:34:55 AM


Hey, buddy, if you preach an outrageous claim or cure, and the outrageous claim turns out to be false, or the cure turns out to be ineffective, you're in no place to demand respect for it, period, regardless if you use the guise of 'religious conviction'. Religion, like everything else, must earn respect, it is no way entitled to it, and you aren't entitled to it. Either meet the claims you suggest and shake off your well-deserved con-artist status, or shut up as you meet your well-deserved ridicule and destroyed reputation. Society has been polluted long enough by your types who think religion and "people of faith" should be given inflated status and extra rights simply because of religion.

2/17/2012 8:12:31 AM

Brendan Rizzo

Except that there is no more evidence that faith healing works than there is that homeopathy works. You just want religion to be exempt from all secular rules and regulations. Do you know what it was like the last time that religion was exempt from secular law? In the Middle Ages, if a clergyman committed a crime, no matter how heinous, he would be tried by an ecclesiastical court. Ecclesiastical courts were notorious for going easy on members of their own, no matter how damning the evidence against them. Those courts were known to let priests get away with rape and murder. This is a major reason why medieval Europe was one of the most corrupt epochs in history.

Also, only intelligent people are permitted to have the name Brendan. You are not intelligent, so change your name immediately. You have brought disgrace to the name.

2/17/2012 8:22:33 AM


An exquisite example of special pleading. Claims are claims no matter what the origin of the belief which created them. If I believe, truly and profoundly, that a substance or deity has special powers then I am free to believe that, I am free to discuss that belief with others who share it and welcome others who also believe it to share our discussion and actions in using the substance or beseeching the deity. The argument that I should be free to promote that belief to the detriment of people who are incapable of discerning between belief and verifiable fact does not follow this freedom.

Freedom comes with the responsibility to both oneself and others to behave as though the individual has freedom. Advertising is an attempt to persuade the individual to act as the advertiser wants - in effect it removes personal autonomy if it is believed and acted upon. Therefore society as a whole - in this case through the corporate body of the ASA - has a responsibility to ensure that decisions made by an individual exercising the freedom to choose beliefs and act on them are based on accurate information. 'GOD HEALS CANCER' is not accurate.

2/17/2012 8:22:48 AM


Yes, we have religious freedom in Britain. We do have a state church, but it's got no more power than the royal family (ie none). Most people in Britain don't go to any church. Atheism is not a dirty word. It's not too bad.
The point about these faith healers is that they don't make the general claim that their god can heal people. They make a specific claim that they can, and do, heal people at their church, apparently using god's powers. As this is demonstrably untrue, legal action was taken against them. Brendan O'Neill seems to think that, while others are forced to provide evidence for their wacky claims, religious kooks should have some sort of special protection from this. This shouldn't really be a surprise to those familiar with his unique brand of stupidity which has previously encompassed topics from climate change to racism, all discussed with the keen insight and observational shrewdness of a concussed potato.

2/17/2012 8:36:59 AM


Your inner convictions are fine but when you display them outwardly in a manner that is hazardous to the public the state has the responsibility to protect citizens, you stupid, fucking twat.

2/17/2012 8:53:41 AM


Their opinions, religious or other, are their business. Their actions are harming people, and must be stopped.

2/17/2012 8:53:43 AM


Heal an amputee or sit down and shut up.

2/17/2012 9:02:34 AM


"...but policing the expression of an inner conviction, of a profound belief in the healing qualities of God, is ludicrous and authoritarian."

No, the inner conviction, of a profound belief in the healing qualities of God, is ludicrous and authoritarian.



2/17/2012 9:07:15 AM


You can express "a profound belief in the healing qualities of God" all you want. What you can't do is say you can heal someone, either by invoking God or by any other method, unless you have actual evidence. If Pepsi said drinking a can of Pepsi would encourage God to cure your backache, it would still be illegal.

2/17/2012 9:10:45 AM


So, explain to us, what exactly is the difference between the 'homeopathic claptrap' and this 'power of prayer' bullshit?

It's nothing to do with inner conviction or their beliefs. They listed a number of real medical conditions that they claimed they could cure through prayer as a substitute for actual medical treatment. To prey on the convictions of innocent people without any supporting evidence for their claims is appalling and downright dangerous.

2/17/2012 9:24:06 AM


You just said yourself you understand the reasoning behind preventing a soda company from claiming their new drink cures AIDS when it's obviously false advertising, so why can't you accept when someone calls bullshit on a faith healer that is not curing people's cancer and usually getting them killed when they insist that their 'miracle' makes it unnecessary to follow up with a real doctor or continue taking their medication?

For the sake of argument I will briefly assume that there is a magic man living in the sky: *God* might be able to cure disease, but performance artists screaming hallelujah don't have the most convincing track record and are subject to the same scrutiny as any other snake-oil peddler.

2/17/2012 9:31:41 AM


My BS is protected by religious freedom. All other BS should be stopped

2/17/2012 9:35:31 AM

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