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Fundamentalist church leaders in the UK put lives of HIV parishioners at risk

Fundamentalist church leaders in the UK put lives of HIV parishioners at risk

A NUMBER of  young HIV patients are giving up their medicine after being told by Pentecostal Church pastors to rely on faith in God instead.

Medical staff told the BBC that some pastors in England were putting the lives of young church members at risk by pressurising them to stop medication.

Healing is central to Pentecostalism, a radical belief in the power of prayer and miracles.

A bunch of barmy Pentecostelists getting carried away with themselves in Bedford

A bunch of barmy Christians getting carried away with themselves in the Bedford Pentecostal Church

The Children’s HIV Association surveyed 19 doctors and health professionals working with babies and children in England; its members had reported hearing anecdotal evidence of HIV patients deciding to stop taking their anti-retroviral drugs because their pastors had told them to do so.

Among ten doctors who said they had encountered the problem in the last five years, 29 of their patients had reported being put under pressure to stop taking medicine and at least 11 had done so.

Sixteen-year-old Oliver (not his real name) said he was told by a pastor to swap his HIV medicine for a plastic bottle containing water that would heal him. He said many others had come under the same pressure.

I’ve been to other churches where… the pastor stands forth there, and he says ‘come take this water… if you drink it for this certain amount of days, you are going to be healed’.

Later, after his mother had experienced what he believed was a miracle cure, Oliver stopped taking his medication, and his condition quickly deteriorated.

He has since gone back on his medication and said he believed he needed to combine his drugs with his belief in faith healing.

Dr Toni Tan, a consultant paediatrician, said:

It’s my view that it’s very wrong for faith leaders to actively encourage their congregations to stop taking their medication… it will lead to their deaths.

Pentecostals and other Christians see healing, like speaking in tongues, as a sign of the presence of God. Pentecostal pastor Stevo Atanasio, from the East London Christian Church, said that among his congregation, blind people had recovered sight, deaf people had heard again, and what were considered terminal illnesses had been cured.

We don’t say to people ‘don’t take your medication don’t go to the doctor’. I mean we never say that. But we believe that the first healing comes from inside, it’s a spiritual healing. Some people are hurt, they have broken hearts. If you are healed from inside, then you are healed from outside as well.

Dr Steve Welch, who is chairman of the Children’s HIV Association, said it found it difficult to engage with the faith leaders of churches where healing was an integral part of the worship.

We need to stay engaged with the families and understand that… their faith is an important part of the support they get in their condition, and engage positively with them and not make it a clash of cultures. I think it’s about engaging with the pastors and faith leaders who are giving this advice because that’s how we will actually address the root of the problem.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

 

31 Responses to “Fundamentalist church leaders in the UK put lives of HIV parishioners at risk”

  1. Stephen Mynett says:

    The bogus HIV cures have been a problem for a long time it is simply our faith-based politicians will do nothing to clamp down on it and doctors can do very little.

    Having watched too many friends suffer with a die of HIV I would have no qualms at all with a draconian clampdown on all bogus healers, church, homeopaths or just general woo. These creeps make a good living out of peddling their lies.

    Modern drugs can make a significant difference in terms of quality and quantity of life but only if the regime is followed and doctors regularly consulted and listened too.

    Anyone pushing a bogus cure should be arrested and charged as they are causing the premature of the sufferer. I cannot remember whether it was Trotsky or Lenin who said “Democracy is a precious commoditity and should be used sparingly,” in the case of these faith creeps he is absolutely right. They are denying the right to live and should be locked up before any more damage is done.

  2. L.Long says:

    ‘It’s my view that it’s very wrong for faith leaders to actively encourage ‘ WRONG! It aint ‘very wrong’ it is CRIMINAL!!!
    If these ‘faith heal err Killers’ think their schite is so good then lets see one of them get infected with HIV and use it themselves!! Not likely!!
    I’ve seen a number of these type postings and the one thing I can see is that the victims are all very young who do what their lying parents or preachers tell them. I don’t see very many adults doing this silly nonsense until they are old enough to be like children again.

  3. Angela_K says:

    Can a church be charged with corporate manslaughter because that is what this is, conspiring to cause a death. Wacko religious cures are even worse than Homoeopathy.

  4. […] A number of young HIV patients are giving up their medicine after being told by Pentecostal Church pastors to rely on faith in God instead.Medical staff told the BBC that some pastors in England were putting the lives of young church members at risk by pressurising them to stop medication.Healing is central to Pentecostalism, a radical belief in the power of prayer and miracles.  […]

  5. Daz says:

    Angela_K

    As far as I, in my direct, simplistic way, can see, it’s a case of blatant false advertising. Sadly, I suspect we’d see years of obfuscatory legal wrangling about the difference between advice, opinion and instruction, personal choice and responsibility etc. Exactly like the tactics used by homoeopaths, in fact.

  6. Matt+Westwood says:

    Politicians are not going to do anything about this. They are on a mission to ensure the demise of as many invalids as possible (witness their behaviour over ATOS and the self-congratulatory attitude of IDS over his recent policies). Simple: people stop taking their drugs — > they die — > less sickly mouths to feed.

    In fact I would not be surprised to find that certain elements of our fascist kleptocracy have been clandestinely encouraging this behaviour by our churchmen.

  7. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Pentecostal pastor Stevo Atanasio, from the East London Christian Church, said that among his congregation, blind people had recovered sight, deaf people had heard again, and what were considered terminal illnesses had been cured.

    Evidence please.

  8. Broga says:

    I suppose the blind, deaf, HIV people recovered as a result of prayer. In other words an omniscient God, who allowed them to be sick or suffering in the first place, and who knew he would be prayed to in the future, changed his mind. Prayer: a request from someone who has confessed themselves as unworthy asks God to suspend natural law on their behalf and he agrees. Ambrose Bierce put it much better but that is the gist of it.

    These pastors urging reliance on faith are corrupt. When they are ill do they go to a doctor, do they undergo operations? Of course, they do. Yet they inflict their toxic guidance on their gullible followers.

  9. barriejohn says:

    I know that I’ve linked to this site before, but Melvin Banks was very popular amongst the Pentecostals in Swindon, and did an enormous amount of damage. You wouldn’t believe his claims, and it seems that the more outrageous they are the more ready the gullible are to give them credence. It’s all made up.

    Great Britian’s* No.1 EVANGELIST Melvin Banks

    MORE MIRACLES ARE SEEN IN HIS MEETINGS THAN IN ANY OTHER MINISTRY OR CHURCH (IN EUROPE)

    THE GREATEST SOUL-WINNER IN THE BRITISH ISLES TODAY – WINNING MORE BRITISH CONVERTS THAN ANY IN 2009

    Invite this evangelist and a HOLY SPIRIT REVIVAL will come to your church.

    YOU WILL NEVER HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY AGAIN!

    He pastored “The Church where no-one ever died, where no-one ever had a funeral.” One of Great Britians* greatest.

    100′s of testimonies including many from the occult. – “The Witch who switched (The Witch who fell under the spell of God)”

    http://www.revivalhealing.com/

    * sic

  10. Trevor Blake says:

    Jesus said: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17-18)

    The Christians who believe in medicine who are the extremists and distorters here. The plain statement of Christ Himself is that Christians can heal with a touch. The moderate view is to follow what Jesus said and stop taking medicines.

    The atheist view? Take medicine or don’t, but definitely don’t rely on an invisible monster that lives in the sky (and created and gave you a disease in the first place) to heal you.

  11. Matt+Westwood says:

    “MORE MIRACLES ARE SEEN IN HIS MEETINGS THAN IN ANY OTHER MINISTRY OR CHURCH (IN EUROPE)”

    Strictly speaking, using the mathematical “inclusive” definition of “more” meaning “greater than or equal to”, this is accurate.

    Zero is greater-than-or-equal-to zero.

    Kew ee dee.

  12. AgentCormac says:

    Sorry to go OT here, but right now I am living in the reddist of red mists.

    According to several newspaper reports the CofE has instructed its lawyers to fight to ‘claim the rights to minerals beneath thousands of homes and farms’. In other words, they want to cash in on fracking. Yes, fracking.

    Seemingly, the church is tryng to enhance its coffers by claiming mineral rites under 500,000 acres of land. Now, I don’t know about you but fracking seems to me to epitomise everything which is truly, horrendously awful about society in this country right now: profit above respect for the Earth; profit above respect for people; profit before respect for communities; profit before absolutely anything other than, well… profit.

    How dare the CofE dare to try and claim it is some kind of loving, caring institution? How dare representatives like Sentamu stand up and pretend they care about anything other than their repulsive church? When it comes down to the real brass tacks, they don’t actually give a flying fuck about anything other than themselves, their church and its ability to survive.

    Despite their ‘nicey, nicey’ image, this is clearly an institution which shares the same immoral values as the vatican.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2395371/Church-England-fracking-Land-grab-church-fuels-fears-controversial-fracking.html

  13. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    @AgentCormac: I just wish they would make up their fracking minds.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-23693106

    Blackburn Diocese says fracking ‘damages God’s creation’

    Shale gas drilling risks damaging “God’s creation”, the Church of England in Lancashire has said.

  14. Matt+Westwood says:

    @AgentCormac: Aha yes, it *must* be true, it’s in the Daily Mail.

    Sorry but I think they’re just the newspaper equivalent of trolls.

  15. L.Long says:

    After a specific age (at least 16) I wish all deeply religious people would follow jesus’s words and rely only on faith and refuse all medicine. We know how that worked out for the past 2K years. With the new diseases coming along they should do very well! But I fear for the children of such people.

  16. Daz says:

    AC & Matt

    There is something to it, as per this link. Which is kinda awful … (to be continued in next comment)

  17. Daz says:

    … but the Mail, not content with reporting their actual awful behaviour, seems to have, dare I say it?, exaggerated somewhat. See the section titled “mineral rights” at this link.

    Since 2004 the Church Commissioners have been working to register their mineral interests in line with the Government’s Land Registry requirements, as any responsible landowner is doing before the end of the October 2013deadline. This does not create any new interests or rights and is confined to properly registering what the Commissioners have in most cases owned for many years, and in some cases for centuries.

    Consequently this is simply an exercise to protect existing rights and interests made vulnerable by the change in the law. There are no particular plans to mine under any property. The focus is registration and protection.

    There is absolutely no link with fracking.

    You pays yer money, you takes yer choice. Either the Mail is “being economical with the truth” or the church is. My money’s on it being the Mail.

  18. JohnMWhite says:

    The Mail is probably just sniping at the C of E because of Williams telling people to grow up and the church slowly softening (like ear wax) on gay marriage. They are trying to find some other outfit to be the ‘real’ Christians.

  19. AgentCormac says:

    @ Matt+Westwood

    The first time I came across the story was actually on the front page of The Times (link below). However, thanks to the ever-lovely Murdochs you now have to subscribe to view the whole story online.
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article3844052.ece

  20. ExPatriot says:

    “Faith is believing in what you know ain’t so” Mark Twain. When I lived in OK I had to tolerate some pentacostals and as far as I could tell they were mostly brain dead but still walking and taking up space and oxygen

  21. Broga says:

    The Sunday Programme, which I didn’t listen to, trails a piece on Zoroasterism yet cannot find time for the growing atheist presence. Would Zoroasterism do for the new religion that The Mail needs to replace theC. of E.?

  22. barriejohn says:

    Broga: They are following the New Year celebrations (or “warship” according to the subtitles)) on the BBC News Channel throughout the day. Full marks, though, to Robert Piggot for pointing out that many of the major elements of Christianity came from Zoroastrianism (as it also influenced Jewish thought during The Captivity). However, I don’t know how he managed to keep a straight face whilst reminding viewers that the Magi who came to visit the “Baby Jesus” were (of ocurse) Zoroastrian priests!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism

  23. Daz says:

    or “warship” according to the subtitles

    Sadly, this is actually good compared to much of the work done by the illustrious BBC subtitles department. (Which I imagine to have a staff of one semi-literate two-fingered typist, who listens to the output he’s transcribing through a tin can on a string.)

  24. barriejohn says:

    Daz: My mother uses subtitles all the time, and I relay the funniest examples to the guy who delivers our paper every morning. In fairness, I think that a lot of it is done automatically nowadays, but it’s been hilarious recently to see Egypt referred to as “eejit” day after day!

  25. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Damn! Missed being enlightened about Zoroasterism. I don’t suppose Robert Piggot believes the religious stuff he reports on any more than most priests believe in talking snakes and donkeys, virgin births and resurrection etc. My finger happened to stray on to Radio 2 early this morning and there was someone whining away about what God was doing to help someone or other. On Sundays the BBC gluts the airwaves in a futile attempt to persuade its listeners that everyone is a Christian.

  26. AgentCormac says:

    Sadly, the lovely owners of The Times have clearly now decided that fracking is a wonderful thing, and that anybody opposing this fuck-the-earth dash for profit is a delusional, card-carrying communist/hippy/liberal/pinko/druid/feminist/gay/lesbian/asylum-seeker who bizarrely wants to put the environment and the world we share before money. Grrrrrrr!

    http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/comment/columns/dominiclawson/article1301702.ece

  27. Matt+Westwood says:

    The Times and The Sunday Times (from what I understand about it) are managed by completely different editorial teams.

  28. Robster says:

    Pentecostalism as a belief system is doomed. Given a bit of time, all the deluded will fade away as the flu, bad colds, measles, chicken pox and the rest of the lurgies take them one by one.

  29. Reading between the lines, Dr Steve Welch, who is chairman of the Children’s HIV Association, is saying those fundamentalists are suffering from a form of religious addiction. Yet he recommends tolerance instead of psychiatric help! Here is the quote from him, “We need to stay engaged with the families and understand that… their faith is an important part of the support they get in their condition, and engage positively with them and not make it a clash of cultures. I think it’s about engaging with the pastors and faith leaders who are giving this advice because that’s how we will actually address the root of the problem.” Being gentle with them sends a dangerous message to those who would like to be as bad as they are. It encourages the problem to fester and grow.

  30. Broga says:

    @Patrick Gormley: Showing respect to them merely exacerbates the problem. They assume that their damaging views are worth listening to. It is time these religious zealots heard opinions every bit as forceful, and of course backed by facts, as the superstitions they cling to. Their beliefs have no validity. They are endangering, and at times killing, their own children. They do not deserve respect.