Christian MPs demand a reversal of the ASA’s ‘God Can Heal’ leaflet ban

LAST year the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority slapped a ban on a humorous but “disrespectful” Phones4U ad featuring a winking Jesus promoting Samsung Galaxy Android phones, much to the delight of the hordes of Christians (98 all told) who lodged complaints about the promotion.

The banned Phones4U ad

The ASA’s daft decision passed almost without comment. No huge fuss, as far as I can ascertain, was kicked up by outraged defenders of free expression.

But this week we DO have a fuss – this time over the ASA’s marginally more sensible decision to ban a God Can Heal leaflet handed out by a bunch of Christian freaks in Bath called Healing on the Streets (or HOTS, if you prefer).

The ad makes ludicrous claims about God’s ability to heal real horrible things like back pain, arthritis, MS, fibromyalgia, paralysis and … well, you name it … and God, who most likely inflicted this stuff on you miserable sinners in the first place, can make it all vanish if only you’d go on bended knee (the non-arthritic one) and pray for forgiveness and healing.

The fuss is being made by a gaggle of Jesus-lovin’ MPS – well, three actually – who have challenged the ASA’s ban on the grounds that:

It appears to cut across two thousand years of Christian tradition and the very clear teaching in the Bible. Many of us have seen and experienced physical healing ourselves in our own families and churches and wonder why you [the ASA] have decided that this is not possible.

This is a quote from a letter sent to the ASA by Gary Streeter (Con), Gavin Shuker (Lab) and Tim Farron (Lib Dem) who want the ASA to produce “indisputable scientific evidence” showing that prayer does not work – otherwise they will raise the issue in Parliament.

Ooo-er, that should make for an entertaining debate.

Streeter points out in his letter:

You might be interested to know that I received divine healing myself at a church meeting in 1983 on my right hand, which was in pain for many years. After prayer at that meeting, my hand was immediately free from pain and has been ever since. What does the ASA say about that? I would be the first to accept that prayed for people do not always get healed, but sometimes they do. That is all this sincere group of Christians in Bath are claiming.

He added:

It is interesting to note that since the traumatic collapse of the footballer Fabrice Muamba the whole nation [what, even the UK’s huge atheist population?] appears to be praying for a physical healing for him. I enclose some media extracts. Are they wrong also and will you seek to intervene?

Hat tip: Pete H and BarrieJohn

62 responses to “Christian MPs demand a reversal of the ASA’s ‘God Can Heal’ leaflet ban”

  1. Jacob Jonker. says:

    Everything that is, can be explained, but should we rob people of the belief in a personal Super-Archetype to which they ascribe powers which are vested in the Universe as a whole? Agnostics take the middle ground, don’t care or are wise enough not to take a position on something they have been unable or unwilling to think through. Atheists believe that without evidence the belief in a God is unfounded. Presumably, if evidence were to become available to them tomorrow, Atheists would believe in a God. Presumably, Atheists also don’t believe in psychology, or thoughts, or language, society, culture, science, etc. But Atheists do believe in science. How can they not believe in psychology, thoughts, language,etc.? Atheism is really more nonsensical than God-belief. If only God-believers could stop mixing their descriptions. The Creator of the Universe is unknown, if the Universe was indeed created. However, it is possible that the Universe is uncreated. That means it has no beginning and no end. Scientifically, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of either case. The Big Bang theory is not an indication that there was no Universe in any shape or form before. Philosophically, the spiritual experiences had by believers can be explained as personal interpretations of deep memories. Whether these memories are accessed through the sub-quantum Void or deep-genetically imprinted(we are star dust,after all) is beside the point. These memories are facts(As is the Universe a fact, matter and consciousness both). Other people who have had no such experiences want to see the evidence. Fair enough. It has been said that when people stop believing in a God, they will believe anything. Atheists often believe things which are as daft as any religion, indeed, more daft, because a religious person may have had a personal experience of something. Atheists can scarcely claim to have experienced the Big Bang, and even if they had, they could still not show any evidence, either of the Big Bang or that it was uncaused. And if they could prove that the Universe was uncaused, it would have no beginning, and therefor no end. Hence would be eternal and, thus, infinite. As people who have thought this through evidently find out, one can simply not sensibly discuss this particular issue with either Atheists or dogmatic Abrahmic religious believers.

  2. tony e says:


    Thank you for your somewhat wordy reply.

    Now, despite your efforts to circumvent what I have now asked on several occasions, the best you can come up with, and I take a small measure of delight in using your own words, is ‘There is no equation that could end up with ‘God’.

    You have came on this site and stated your beliefs, but they have to be backed with facts, not the tired and shabby excuses like ‘I think you can prove the existence of God beyond reasonable doubt from the scriptures,’ Thanks to science almost everything that the scriptures stated as fact have been proven to be, for want of a better phrase, a load of bollocks.

    Now, for the third time, and try to avoid waffling, give me an equation to prove god or admit you are wrong.

    It’s straight question and I’d like the oourtesy of a straight answer.

  3. Ken says:

    Tony – ‘There is no equation that could end up with ‘God’.

    ‘…give me an equation to prove god or admit you are wrong’.

    I’ve answered your question! There is no equation to prove God, as there is no equation to prove you love your wife (assuming you are married), or that you can scientifically prove the existence of other people’s minds etc. What you want me to say is ‘therefore God doesn’t exist’, but that would only be true if empirical science were the only way to knowledge, which it isn’t.

    As for science proving scripture wrong, scripture is not science text book. There is within it, however, the occasional nugget of information which God would know but the human authors couldn’t have known. There is also God at work in human history, which to me was decisive in convincing me of the truth of the OT, for example. The information isn’t difficult to find with a little effort.

    There is a biblical equation where the exchange rate for the truth is a lie “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature/creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever” which manifests itself either in bowing down to statues as gods, consumerist materialism, or imo for sophisticated 21st Century man, worshipping the creation in the form of Dawkins-style evolution. Instead of seeing the universe as a reflection of the greatness of God, it is seen as a reflection of our intellectual pride and scientific prowess.

    Either one or the other is true as an account of how we got here, the exchange rate is clear.

  4. Ken says:

    Jacob – I got the joke from your link “The darkness has enabled the light to come into our ken”.

  5. tony e says:


    Rather than read one of your long and evasive responses again, I’ll take it you cannot prove your god.

    That was hardly a surprise.

  6. Ken says:

    Tony – if you haven’t read the response, how do you know it was evasive?

    The chief evidence for the Christian God is that without him, you can’t prove anything.

    Is that better?

  7. tony e says:


    It’s your god, the burden of proof lies with you.

    As for your reply – still not an equation is it?

  8. Ken says:

    Tony – it’s not suprising Christian apologists think it lame that atheists constantly repeat the mantra ‘we don’t have to prove God doesn’t exist, you have to prove he does’, but there are atheist thinkers who likewise think atheists have to do better than that. All the more so if atheists insist on deciding in advance what they will accept as ‘evidence’.

    Since this is the most important question of life, I would have thought it deserved more application or effort than that.

  9. tony e says:


    I have to award you 10/10. You have given incredibly long winded reply’s to my question, whilst totally avoiding an honest answer.

    All I want is the equation to prove a god does exist.

    You can be as evasive, waffle, lie, whatever as you like.


    I’ll keep it simple – give me a mathematical equation for the existence of a diety or fuck off.

  10. Jacob Jonker says:

    Super-sensible Intelligence needs a super-sensitive intelligence to experience it, evidently. It depends on the wavelength individual people are on. If Atheists are Short-Wave, God-believers must be FM.

  11. PhDelinquent says:

    Despite the ASA ruling, these people are still in action and still sailing perilously close to the wind.

    Encountered them today and posted on what happened.