In June this year, I wrote about a poster in Finsbury Park, north London, put up by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.
The text of the poster read: My son was born with a heart problem. After a party he started bleeding from the mouth. I rushed him to hospital and the specialist said he had 16 loose arteries. He went into a coma, his heart stopped and both his lungs collapsed. Doctors and specialists expected him to die. At the UCKG I was given some blessed oil to anoint my son with. Now that his heart and lungs are better I thank the UCKG for all the spiritual support I received. Julia Caro.
At the time, I picked the claims apart and also pointed out that the US version of the poster has the same text but a different couple.
I also corresponded with someone who contacted me at work and encouraged her to report it to the ASA.
The ASA have now ruled against the poster, as reported in the Telegraph and the Guardian, among others. In their defence, the church said: The UCKG does not claim to heal people but believes that God can through the power of faith. Always follow your doctor's instructions.
If the healing is done through God, not the UCKG, does he really need to advertise, his wonders to perform?
The UCKG has more trouble heading its way.
Thanks to Pam for sending me this news story about how Bishop Edir Macedo, the founder of the UCKG, and nine others in Brazil have been charged with collecting money for charitable work, evangelism and building funds then using it to purchase companies which, in turn, were used to launder money which was then loaned to Macedo and other church leaders. That money was used to buy other businesses, real estate, aircraft and a TV station. Two of the companies involved are said to be responsible for moving and hiding over $71 million.
The church in Brazil has 8 million followers and is present in 172 countries. The Brazilian Public Prosecutor is considering filing formal requests with other countries to look into the financial dealing of the UCKG there.
The Lord helps those who help themselves.
All of which makes a claim on a billboard look like small potatoes. But it is important to challenge every attempt by religion to chip way at science, truth and sanity.