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‘Three deaths’ after London church advice to stop taking HIV medicine

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  1. Dr Robin Guthrie 18 Oct 2011, 1:33pm

    Yet again rears it’s ignorant ugly head…..

    1. This is a clear example of religious bigotry which needs condemning and confronting robustly …

      I am wracking my brains to think if they are committing any criminal act and struggling … but there must be something that can be done proactively in addition to protest etc – will think …

      1. Don’t think it’s anything to do with bigotry, it’s stupidity, not bigotry.

        1. Its both stupidity and bigotry in my opinion …

      2. If there were “donations” involved, fraud may be a possibility.

        1. I think there may be arguments over fraud related offences but was trying to work out whether there was an offence of putting a person at risk etc

  2. Dr Robin Guthrie 18 Oct 2011, 1:33pm

    Or alternately. Ooops.

    Yet again religion rears it’s ignorant ugly head…..

    1. I thought that was what you meant lol and agree with you about this example

    2. Christians and Catholics church leaders need to be arrested and held accountable for any one who dies as a result of them and their propaganda to hate gays and cause the Catholic and Christian church members to bully and harass gays. Not to mention telling anybody to not take HIV medicine that makes that person die as a result of that.

      1. In cases like this I would agree.

        Not sure what crime they have committed … I want them to have but I honestly cant see one that can be proven in court

        Perhaps it is time to think about how we respond – do we need a new law?

  3. Mumbo Jumbo 18 Oct 2011, 1:40pm

    You can read the full BBC story here:

    http://goo.gl/JvZwN

  4. douglas in canada 18 Oct 2011, 1:47pm

    I once knew a guy who got involved with this kind of “healing” church. He was blind as a bat without his glasses, but they convinced him that “god would heal him if he truly believed.” So he threw his glasses away.

    Young man with a family to support, and because he threw away the glasses, he was completely unable to support his family. In fact, he was completely unable to do ANYTHING. As far as I know, God never did heal his vision problems…

    Another sad, misguided victim or religion.

  5. I can quite decide whether these preachers should be prosecuted or given psychiatric treatment.

    1. bearshaped 18 Oct 2011, 2:05pm

      Both.

      1. Tend to agree, both …

        Although still struggling to think of a criminal offence they have committed – there must be one though …

    2. or burnt at the stake!

      1. Rare, medium or well done?

  6. Cause if death – Darwin. There has to be a degree of personal responsibility and, unless mentally compromised in some way, the people made their choice to listen to a pastor rather than a doctor. A while ago, while watching Big Brother on Ch 4 (to my shame) I saw the christian wingnut they had on there telling the double amputee ex-serviceman that if he just believed hard enough, his legs would grow back. Frankly, when people believe such nonsense I am willing to agree that they are actually insane and need treatment to help them rid themselves of their religious-based delusions.

  7. I cannot express just how mad this makes me. Why would a health service even need to exist if such things were true.

  8. I have come across non-Christian versions of this nonsense. I knew a woman who was convinced that ‘positive visioning’ and relaxation techniques could destroy HIV. At the time I had a feeling that this desperate lunacy was not unrelated to the fact that she had spent the previous year having an exotic latex-free shag-fest in Peru.
    If only there were a cure for mad belief. Even crude reality isn’t up to it a lot of the time. And the people who exploit it are contemptible.

    1. It’s unfortunate that there is a lot of New Age mumbo jumbo around all of this.

    2. I have a friend who also buys into every new-age fad that he comes across.
      A shaman he met in Peru claimed he could cure HIV by keeping the patient in solitary confinement in a mud-hut and feeding them on a diet of nothing but rice and bananas for 3 months. Yes it’s a guaranteed cure as you’d be dead from malnutrition along with any HIV virus you might be carrying.
      My friend is bi-polar though and hangs on their every word. It’s a shame these gurus aren’t subject to medical licencing laws and are thus free to peddle any old snake-oil they like.

      1. I agree, Flapjack there should be either some regulation or specific criminal offence or both …

        The difficulty is I am not sure we have that provision in the UK as yet – let alone places such as Peru

  9. This is typical of religions – generally speaking religiobns has absolutely no respect for human life.

    And guess what the more ‘moderate’ christian churches will do in response to this – yes that’s right. Absolutely NOTHING.

    Mainstream/ ‘mderate religious groups are complicit in this type of behaviour.

    ‘Moderate’ religion beleives that religious ‘freedom’ is more important than human life also.

    1. In a secular society we should protect the right to freedom of expression and practice for all religions. What religion should never have is political or social power that cause harm to others or destroy democratic systems. Challenging ignorance, superstition and stupidity has always been difficult where belief in the healing power of god is concerned. These primitive, patriarchal, tribal beliefs and practices unfortunately have survived into the modern world. There are even attempts to introduce creationism into the school curriculum against well-documented and well-proven Darwinist evolutionary theories. No doubt some fools will agree to this on the grounds of a ‘balanced’ curriculum or against censorship of views.

      The only thing we can do to fight ignorance and stupidity is to robustely challenge the authority of the people who make these false claims and expose them as charlatans and fraudsters and take away their licenses to preach. Do they have them?

      1. Dave North 18 Oct 2011, 7:49pm

        Excuse me, but freedom of religious expression means they can call us all dirty intrinsically disordered poofs on our merry way to hell.

        Stuff that freedom of expression for a lark.

        Time to shut these people up.

        Freedom of religious expression kept slavery alive for a lot longer than it should have.

        1. Dave North: Not quite right. The early abolitionists of slavery where christians – William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln. I would rather have bigots out in the open where I can see them than drive them underground. The best way to get rid of their influence is to force them to explain themselves in public and ridicule their ideas. Expose them as deluded charlatans.

          1. the slave-owners were equally christians, and they had scripture on their side.

            Wilbeforce and Lincoln were enforcing secular values long before they were formulated.

          2. Jonpol: Agreed. They even had to discuss whether or not slaves could be considered as human or not. The point I was really making is that we can’t lump all christians together as psychotic, deluded, nasty and oppressive. I still stick by my earlier assetion that we should protect freedom of speech even if what they say is bigoted and stupid.

          3. IT –

            “The best way to get rid of their influence is to force them to explain themselves in public and ridicule their ideas. Expose them as deluded charlatans.”

            This is exactly why I do support freedom of religious expression.

            I see it as allowing believers to make fools of themselves in public, because there is not a religious belief in the world that would stand up to any amount of reasonable scrutiny.

    2. Firstly, give the churches a chance to respond rather than speculate as to how mainstream churches will …

      By all means condemn this church (and any others that adopt similar practices) – I do and will continue to – but to then blatantly suggest many churches do the same is disingenuous

      We should challenge ignorance and superstition, but we should also encourage freedom of expression and freedom of religion. Its only be having full equality and exercising of human rights that we can see LGBT people having meaningful equality.

      1. Dave North 18 Oct 2011, 4:13pm

        “We should challenge ignorance and superstition, but we should also encourage freedom of expression and freedom of religion”

        I’m surprised you cannot see the irony in that statement.

        1. I am surprised you can not see the reverse bigotry in your attitude, Dave North

          1. There is no irony in challenging ignorance and superstition while defending freedom of expression and freedom of religion. In a secular society there should be scope for a free play of ideas and practices to be openly debated without fear or favour. If we don’t have this then we will witness the destruction of democracy. I am a humanist, an anti-theist, and a secularist and whilst I will challenge religion even I do not believe it is all about ignorance and superstition.

          2. Dave North 18 Oct 2011, 7:46pm

            Stuff the religious. All they do is screw up the planet. Stop apologizing for them.

          3. @Dave North

            As much as I will fight passionately for LGBT rights for you, me and others – I also believe all humans deserve rights and I passionately believe in the universal declaration of human rights – a long established milestone in humanity and freedoms – including freedom to religion …

            If you don’t agree, thats your business – I will stand by my values for full equality – not selective biased equality some Christians seek in advancing Christian propaganda NOR the partial equality some gay people seek by denying religious freedoms. There are competing rights and its complex – but its not beyond or ingenuity at responsible human beings to resolve – unless you don;t want to be responsible

  10. these churches should be prosecuted for putting people lives at risk, i’m sorry but a pastor advising someone to come off of live sustaining medicine should be charged with man slaughter

    1. Might possibly, conceivably have enough to justify an investigation on grounds of corporate manslaughter but I doubt there would be any charges or prosecution because proving any corporate manslaughter is extremely difficult – let alone where one is committed by religious preaching – can of worms …

      I think if any criminal offences have occurred it is more likely to be a fraud or outraging public decency type offence

      1. Interesting to see the juvenile use of arrows by some on here to all my comments … its quite clear that some of my comments many would agree with but because I point out the truth that some gay people are bigoted about religion they negatively score all my comments despite my support for finding robust manners of dealing with churches such as the one in this story … It disappoints me that gay men lack sophistiation and intelligence to see that some religious people are bad and some are not …

        1. Dr Robin Guthrie 19 Oct 2011, 10:39am

          Just because some people disagree with you do not throw a strop.

          You are NOT the font of all wisdom.

          1. Not throwing a strop, just pointing out the childish behaviour that when the comment is something most people agree with on here then I have ended up with numerous thumbs down – and the only genuinely likely reason for this given the thumbs on other posts in this thread is that people are being juvenile and disliking all my posts given they disagree with some of my other views. Believe me this isnt a strop just disappointment at juvenile behaviour and lack of willingness to explore other discussions (and failure to read all comments!)

          2. Neither of us are the fount of all wisdom, Dr Guthrie – both of us are more than willing to engage in debate …

            I merely prefer an adult approach to debate – listening, discussion and a frank exchange of views … then agreeing to disagree if views have not been modified – unfortunately not everyone seems to see debate in the same way

        2. Ufortunately there are a lot of narrow-minded, bigoted humanists as well as christians.

          1. Absolutely, and some of those bigoted humanists seem to think bigotry can only be linked to religion … or like other bigots fail to recognise their own bigotry

            Fortunately, not everyone is like that

  11. Miguel Sanchez 18 Oct 2011, 2:31pm

    People need to know NEVER stop taking their HIV medication.

  12. Please do not stop your meds, do not listen to any wacko religion and if you have faith pray for those that doubt they are doing the right think.

  13. concernedresidentE3 18 Oct 2011, 3:05pm

    as an impressionable 18 year old working in the third world I got mixed up in an extremist evangelical group that persuaded forecfully and repeatedly to stop taking my anti-malaria tablets and instead pray and have faith that God would protect me. I complied and promptly caught malaria. The shocking thing looking back is that instead of gettiong me to hospital these maniacs prayed over me repeaedly until the disease had become severe cerebral malaria and I almost died.

    After the event they had the bloody cheek to write to my parents behind my back denying they had had anything to do with me stopping the medication while telling me to my face it was my lack of faith that caused the illness.

    1. At age 18, you are responsible enough for many life decisions, including this one. You are no longer a poor, impressionable child incapable of thought. You are a grown human being, able to fight in war, vote, and sign a contract. You can’t claim to be a poor fragile child only until when it works out in your favor.

    2. My best friend, who was like a sister to me, was born disabled. She had spina bifida and hydrocephalus. She used to be able to walk with braces and forearm crutches for short distances and used a wheelchair for long distances. She went up for healing after a service, years ago. I walked behind her to catch her in case she lost her balance and was told by a lady, to get out of the way as I was “interfering with her healing.” I wasn’t interfering with anything, as she wasn’t doing anything she wasn’t already capable of doing!! Needless to say, I wasn’t on good terms with that lady after that!!!!

  14. Spanner1960 18 Oct 2011, 3:46pm

    This is not about manipulative and dangerous churches. It is about stupid, gullible and feeble-minded Africans still living in the dark ages. All they have done is switch from a witch doctor to an equally fraudulent church. they would still be sacrificing chickens and goats if they were allowed.

    1. There is an element of gullability in this – that is true …

      However, whatever the naivety of the victims, that does not justify the “fraud” committed by the church/church leaders

    2. What about stupid, gullible, feeble-minded British, Europeans, Americans and Asians who believe that wafers and wine are the body and blood of Christ. Or that the Messiah defied the laws of gravity and ascended to heaven. A virgin birth isn’t exactly in line with our knowledge of the commingling of sperm and eggs to produce a child. You don’t have to be African to live in the dark ages. Priests are simply more sophisticated versions of witch doctors. They may not sacrifice chickens and goats but they do expect you to repent for lent, to confess and pray for forgiveness of imaginary sins to appease an imaginary god and save your imaginary soul from imaginary perdition.

      1. Spanner1960 18 Oct 2011, 7:08pm

        I think the wafers and wine are meant to be a metaphor, and even they know they are not real. Fckwit.
        The Africans are still killing children and murdering albinos.

        1. Some genuinely believe in transubstantiation (which in this day and age is particularly worrying!)

        2. Spanner 1960: Don’t be rude. I wasn’t. The point I am making is that you lump all Africans together in the way that some people lump all christians together as backward, nasty, brutal, bigoted and narrow minded which, of course, they are not. Whatever tribal or animist practices still happen to survive in certain African tribes thankfully are very rare. What will stop these practices is the full political, economic and social development of those countries so that ideas can progress and backward practices of witchcraft and shamanism can be phased out.

      2. I agree there are gullible people in all cultures and all religions …

    3. Lol, because all Africans were summoning witch doctors and sacrificing chickens and goats before churches came along, right?

      Where did you read this?

    4. Staircase2 20 Oct 2011, 1:31am

      This is pure racist nonsense and Ive reported you.

  15. I wonder whether this particular story is appropriate for a gay news site. Where’s the gay angle here?

    Yes, it’s about HIV, but HIV is not a “gay disease” and I think it panders to the homophobes to take it to heart as one. It is a dangerous piece of cultural slander to pretend that it is somehow the property of gay people, somehow our fault, somehow our responsibility alone Conceding that falsehood plays right into their hands. The three victims mentioned here were all women, and gay women are actually much less likely to get HIV from sex than straight people. So I can’t see a gay angle there.

    Yes, religious groups are the chief promoters of homophobia in the world. But this isn’t about homophobia, it’s about ignorance, arrogance and stupidity.

    None of which is to say that this is in any way a good thing. I condemn this nonsense wholeheartedly. I just don’t think it has anything to do with gay news.

    1. Tenuous maybe, but HIV is of interest (rightly so) to many gay people …

      Some gay people are involved with churches …

  16. Eh, if they’re stupid enough to believe something like that then the human race is probably better off without them.

    1. Vulnerable people who don’t think rationally need compassion, not scorn. Have a little charity.

      1. You fight ignorance with educatlion not annihilation. Expose the charlatans and fraudsters for what they are and get rid of them but don’t blame their victims.

        1. OK. But this abdicates people of responsibility. Do we want to say that everyone with HIV is mentally incompetent and incapable of taking care of themselves? Should we say that everyone of faith is medically incompetent? If someone knowingly does a foolish, reckless or dangerous thing then they have to bear some degree of culpability.

          1. Valksy: Good point. It really depends on the situation, availability of help/information, levels of expertise and education. People who are gullible are usually isolated, lonely and easy prey or poorly educated with a less than critical awareness of what’s what. As for bearing personal responsibility for what we do. A couple of examples: Some doctors refuse to treat people with lung diseases because they have failed to give up smoking. Obese people may not check their dieting. In both cases they are culpable because they know the score. It becomes more difficult trying to persuade a young girl to stop being anorexic or a lad to give up heroin addiction. Without knowing the particular situation of the people involved it’s hard to judge how culpable they are.

          2. Valsky: I forgot one category of person. Those that positively believe in the healing power of God. These primitive beliefs that are patriarchal and tribal in origin are still with us in the modern age. None so blind as those who will not see.

          3. Obviously not everyone with HIV is mentally incompetant. Obviously not everyone with faith lacks common sense or mental capacity. Some HIV positive people will have either permanent or temporary mental health issues as will some who are religious.
            Some people are more easily led and thus churches such as this one need to be condemned and action taken to prevent them damaging other individuals and families in this way again.

    2. Staircase2 20 Oct 2011, 1:42am

      Thats outrageous

  17. I don’t know about UK law, but in the US, if a doctor did this, he or she would be sued, fined, sanctioned etc., and rightly so. There is absolutely no reason why the same shouldn’t happen to these peddlers of fatal nonsense.

    1. In the UK if a doctor did this they would be struck off the medical register and possibly fined/imprisoned …

      Not sure what sanctions can be applied to a church … if there are none then we need to find a new way of stopping this happening again …

      I would hope some criminal law would cover these negligent acts

  18. Andy O'Malley 18 Oct 2011, 4:43pm

    This is truely appauling. People who believe in any God are vulnerable to pastors, priests, rabbis etc who claim to have a better understanding of ‘Gods plan’ for people than people themselves do. I feel that theses churches and pastors should be investigated and charged if possible for their foolish advice. people who have HIV are very vulnerable to authority when it is presented in the wrong way. If a doctor or nurse gave bad advice there would be serious repercussions.

    1. Nonsense. Just because someone goes to church doesn’t mean that they absolutely have no control over their own mind, or are magically incapable of reading about HIV or getting a second medical opinion. I am all for holding the church responsible for their actions, but you can’t blame them for every single stupid decision that attendees make. If you do, you’re completely ignoring personal responsibility, something we ALL need to have to some extent.

  19. Another Hannah 18 Oct 2011, 4:43pm

    These preachers should be prosecuted, and must be liable for at least manslaughter. Even proof will be available – it should be possible for detectives to gather evidence and clear this up quickly, cheaply and easily I would have thought.

    1. It is notoriously difficult to prove corporate manslaughter in the UK – only one successful prosecution that I am aware of in 10 years …

      To prove it you would have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the negligent preaching caused the death – and given other factors in the health of the victims this may be difficult – compare the current enquiry at the hospital in South Manchester where 3 patients have been killed and several poisoned where the police are struggling to bring the offenders to justice but admit there may be no charges … This case may be even more difficult to prove in court

  20. Of course, if you go to the website of the “church” in question, you can see that it is run by/centred around a charismatic leader and there are places where you can send donations or buy DVDs and other church projects. Can you say – grift? How about – con man? And now he has blood all over his hands (although there is a reason that the collective noun for a group of christians is flock…)

    1. I have to agree, Valksy

  21. ‘God’ is an ass.

    1. Emma:

      “God is dead” – Nietzsche
      “Nietzsche is dead” – God

      Not really an ass. More a useful construct until knowledge through science and philosophy blew most of it away. There is still plenty of mystery in the universe yet to be discovered. That’s what makes it so enthralling.

    2. A dogmatic definition which, like the others, is unprovable. The theology extrapolated from it would, however, be very entertaining!

      1. Riondo: Indeed. Assianity would be the religion and the assians who followed it would gain a reputation for assinine modes of worship. The ineffable, omnipotent, omniscient ass would expect the equidae of believers to dedicate their equine souls to his greatness. Alters and churches would be set up to worship the Magnificent Ass and …

        On the other hand we could just go for a donkey ride on Blackpool beach.

    3. Jock S. Trap 5 Nov 2011, 5:25pm

      It’s not God, thats just a reason to blame. It’s just cruel man and it’s pity excuse for humanity.

  22. Prosecute the bastards. I’m going to sound cynical but could it be that these fake christians are advising people not to take their medications to rid the world of what they see as an abomination?

    1. I agree – prosecution would be a step that should be taken to deter others from trying this awful tactic.

      1. Which offence would you use?

        Not trying to be difficult, I want them to have committed an offence but sadly feel that none would be proven in court …

  23. These types of churches presume too much and in tempting the Lord God they call destruction on themselves. Their own lack of faith, big mouth and ignorance of the scriptures causes pain and suffering to many people who go there in the hopes of being healed. Blind faith is as bad as no faith at all. Treat these type of happy clapper churches with grave caution and keep on with your meds

    1. In what way is no faith at all bad?

    2. I agree with your comments about being very cautious about churches such as this one … I also agree people on med’s (whether for HIV or other conditions) should continue taking them unless advised to the contrary by a clinician managing their care…

      I can’t agree with your comments that ignorance of the scriptures or lack of faith is a cause of destruction …

  24. The Evangelical Christian church is a fraud and a scam and does not work and here is your proof, stop taking HIV meds, how insane are these people. They need to be held accountable for the murder of any one who dies as a result of their illegally practicing medicine they know nothing about. This is proof that Christians prayers do not work to cure anything. They are frauds and scams to get your money, that is all the Christian church has become today and they pump out hate and destruction and bully children who kill themselves because they are gay. How many more people have to die before these quacks are stopped?

  25. David Nottingham 19 Oct 2011, 10:24am

    Ok, so do these churches recommend and advise cancer sufferers in their congregations to stop their chemo or radiotherapy? Do they tell their diabetics to stop taking insulin? How about telling their members at serious risk of anaphylactic shock to throw away their epi-pens? I think not. No, this is just another nonsense from fundamentalist busy-bodies whose real agenda is rooted in the deluded belief that HIV/AIDS is God’s punishment on the promiscuous. This has cost peoples’ lives. The pastors involved should be tried for manslaughter.

    1. So should Muslim religious leaders who persuade the faithful to become suicide bombers.

    2. There is evidence, particularly from the US, of such churches urging people to abandon clinically attested treatment for the conditions you mention, and not just treatments for HIV/AIDS. So homophobia or sex-aversion is not the only motivation – a lot of these characters really do have a pre-scientific, spirit-obsessed mentality. Very scary.

    3. There are many examples of twisted churches such as this one in a number of countries seeking to persuade people who have cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV, diabetes, epilepsy, and a whole range of conditions to abandon their medications without medical support. There have also been cases of being told to destroy walking aids, break reading aids etc because they are no longer needed. Craziness.

      Even if (which I doubt) there are miraculous healings, then the sensible thing to do is see a clinician to work out the best way to adjust or stop treatement … As I said miracle cures are unusual and there is often a logical explanation (although sometimes they are cryptogenic).

      1. And as Bernard Shaw once rightly asked – ‘so where are the discarded glass eyes and wooden legs..?’

  26. This is so naive. How can anyone believe this and be so gullible to this propaganda as well.

    Get real. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS and it will be some time yet before there will be a cure.

    So don’t be stupid and be brainwashed by these religious organisations.

  27. Derren Brown’s show on the subject was a real eye-opener and shows how easy it is to fleece the impressionable and get them to stop taking their meds. The adrenalin rush of a preacher bringing you up on stage and yelling in your face before pushing you over is often enough to make believers feel cured for the next 20 minutes at least. Also the chronically sick seldom get asked to the stage and are held back by bouncers. Many don’t seek treatment and later die as a result, and that’s not just HIV but cancer and other ailments too.
    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/derren-brown-the-specials/episode-guide/series-10/episode-2

  28. religious murderers they should be tried for murder , god too should be tried for murder as well as the pope

    1. PN might want to contact the leader of Southwark Council to find out the action they are now taking in relation to The Synagogue Church Of All Nations following these revelations.

      ‘God willing’ they will be homeless very shortly

    2. Given that God doesnt exist … how do you suppose we try him …

      Also in this case (as nefarious as the Pope is, I struggle to see how we would link him to this case)

  29. I’ll trying posting this again in the right place this time ….

    PN might want to contact the leader of Southwark Council to find out the action they are now taking in relation to The Synagogue Church Of All Nations following these revelations.

    ‘God willing’ they will be homeless very shortly

  30. Staircase2 20 Oct 2011, 1:39am

    Once again I am shocked by the ridiculous level of kneejerk responses on this comments board.

    How is it that almost none of you have even TALKED about the fact that this pastor is a complete dickhead?!

    This is not about ‘God’ This is not about ‘Religion’ – its about IGNORANCE and deluded powercrazed individuals who want to use someone elses faith in THEM (not God) to fuel their own meglomania (stemming from an insecurity complex in this case the size of Hackney…!)

    I am appalled to see that one person has even resorted to racism in order to have something to write about.

    This is not a matter for the law – this is a matter for those organisations working with HIV positive patients knowing how to deal with this kind of fundamental bigotry head on.

    Ultimately its not possible or desirable to force people to take medication if they chose not to.

    In that sense this article is somewhat of a red herring…

    1. But how do you do that? It might be glaringly obvious to us that this ‘pastor’ (among others) is a dickhead, but how can you reason with people who have Faith? You can say, “Well, this medication will help but it won’t cure you” and along comes some snake-oil pedlar who promises them miracles and then science and reason fly out of the window. You can’t force education on people either, so at some point surely the law has to step in to prevent people being misled to this degree?

    2. The pastor is not a complete ‘dick head’. If he was there wouldn’t be an issue. He is a man whose word is revered and respected by thousands of people, whose lives have been steered and lead by religion often for their whole lives.

      Undoing the damage of years of brain-washing isn’t something that is easily done. Tacking it in school is not easy when the message isn’t reenforced in the home is near impossible and opportunities to tackle it as an entire household issue do not present themselves often.

      We can only then rely on the fact that those in a position to sway the minds of these people don’t extent their mind control to matters that jeopardise the health or lives of their followers, as appears to be the case here.

      When their actions do, those people whose actions result in death or serious harm should be punished. If not, there is no incentive for any of them to stop.

      Its called ‘responsibility’

  31. SCOAN is a mind control cult headed by the so-called prophet TB Joshua. There is quite a bit of material on their website which shows how Joshua operates.
    Phoney miracles and cures are doled out to a zombie like congregation who come to his compound in the hope of a miracle. One of the tricks they use is to rifle through peoples belongings to find out things about them or any medication they have on them,so that TB can give a ‘prophetic’ word from God about their condition or their personal lives.
    One African minister in surveying the obvious syncretism between spiritism and Christianity which these practices represent called it ‘Nigerian Junk’. Its excactly the same as the witchdoctor but with a man in a suit and Christian God words.
    Its really worrying that this organisation is having such a huge influence in the UK and is persuading people to stop taking medication,whether it be for AIDS, depression,cancer or whatever.
    How many people have actually died through coming into contact with these people? It is likely to be more than the three reported.

    1. Good coverage, iain,

      T B Joshua needs to spend some time in a psychiatric unit, and there must be a way to break the spell he has cast over his followers.

      I know there is no reasoning with people of faith.

      So sad, yes, and in the UK too. :(

      1. I suspect, you may be correct about the need for mental health support for the pastor …

        But even if that is not the case, then I suspect he needs some time in prison to reflect on the fraud he perpetrates and the risibility of his actions

  32. I hope you don’t mind this Christian’s perspective, offered repectfully …

    Firstly, I would like to know more about these cases including the church perspective. The PN report presents a bleak picture and if true the churches were precipitious or worse in telling these folk to throw away their medication.

    The report also quotes one of the healing organisations: “We don’t ask people to stop taking medication. Doctors treat; God heals.” I think I would agree but also add that as our knowledge of medical science increases so is the likelihood that people can be cured of their diseases through applying medical science..

    As a Bible believer there are many examples of people being healed by the power of prayer and I have no doubt that people continue to be healed in this way to this day.

    However, in the main, I believe people should take their medication unless there is a very good reason not to do so. I take medicine for conditions I have and while I would love God to heal me, I have no doubt it is God’s will that I continue to take medication.

    1. @JohnB

      I appreciate you are trying to give a balanced view, I also appreciate that you genuinely believe in the power of healing. I remain unconvinced for long and complex reasons.

      I do think the problem in this case is that the individuals stopped taking medication without clinical support (it appears).

      Did they do that under pressure from the church, to demonstrate their faith in the power of healing?

      Did they feel obliged to believe and trust and demonstrate the reality of their faith?

      Did the church demonstrate a duty of care and advise medical care?

      Did the church give any follow up and when the patients were seen to deteriorate did they try to encourage the patients to seek medical care?

  33. PS I just realised the above quote was supposed to be from T.B.Joshua. I am not sure if it is his church that gave the advice that seemed to have contributed to these three deaths. If so I am baffled since this contradicts the statement – we don’t tell people to stop taking medication.

    I am loathe to criticise other Christians, although I recognise there are many con artists around. For what it is worth, having done a quick check on his website and other comments, there is a lot more I need to know before I can endorse this man’s ministry. I therefore remain sceptical.

  34. T.L. Mullins 21 Oct 2011, 2:42pm

    Yeah so how’s all that praying working out for you????

  35. Locke tolerated what you thought because no one could ever establish tyranny in your heart. Mill also tolerated what you did – so long as it did not harm others. And crucially he valued the existence in society of views and opinions he found objectionable – their existence vital to the pursuit of truths which we should not assume we know.

    Does the concept of ‘zero tolerance’ – often deployed in defence of those at risk of harm – mask an unwillingness to debate and argue?

    Is tolerating the vulgar, the offensive, the shocking, not, in part, the price of liberty? Or are such concepts vain and dangerous in today’s very uncertain world?

    1. Sorry. Forgot to say these are quotes from Frank Furedi for a forthcoming Institute of Ideas Event.

    2. Jock S. Trap 5 Nov 2011, 5:24pm

      erm… do what crazy person?

  36. Jock S. Trap 5 Nov 2011, 5:23pm

    Nasty and Cruel. Religion at it’s very worst and fully intended I believe. Time for religion to be just read in the history books.

  37. You are an imbecile if you believe this news story. Notice that they didn’t give the names, sex or residential location of the victims. The whole news seems odd.

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