Christians banned from sharing their beliefs by ASA
For the article in full please see here The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has told a group of Christians in Bath not to make any claims which state or imply that, by receiving their prayer, people could be physically healed, reports Christian Concern for our Nation.
A registered Christian trust, the ‘Healing on the Streets – Bath’ (HOTS) team, comprised of Christians from many different churches, have been praying for the public outside Bath Abbey for three years and regularly offer to pray for people who are sick to receive healing.
But atheist Hayley Stevens took offence to the group’s adverts, complaining to the ASA that the claims by the Christians could 'not be substantiated'.
Her complaint was upheld and the ASA have now ordered the group to stop stating on their website or in literature that God can heal.
The founder of the group, Paul Skelton, said:
“Other teams around the country have been targeted in similar ways.
“It seems very odd to us that the ASA wants to prevent us from stating on our website the basic Christian belief that God can heal illness.
“The ASA has even demanded that we sign a document agreeing not to say this, which is unacceptable to us - as it no doubt would be for anyone ordered not to make certain statements about their conventional religious or philosophical beliefs.
“The ASA has decided it is appropriate to insist that we cannot talk about a common and widely held belief that is an important aspect of conventional Christian faith. They would now like us to recant our Christian faith in the Bible.
“We tried to reach a compromise, recognising some of the ASA’s concerns, but there are certain things that we cannot agree to - including a ban on expressing our beliefs.”
HOTs will appeal the decision.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“This decision strikes at the heart of freedom of belief in the UK. Will we be told that telling people their sins are forgiven, or that you can go to heaven, breaches advertising standards next?”
“Will all Christian websites and leaflets now be liable to these types of complaints? Is all Christian doctrine now going to be ruled as misleading by the ASA?
“This decision reveals all too clearly how basic freedoms quickly begin to be lost in a nation that has increasingly chosen secularism over the Christian faith.”