ASA rules that God can heal
But the claim can only be made on a website; not on printed leaflets.
Yes, that’s the latest ex cathedra ruling of the omnipotent Advertising Standards Authority.
A bit of background:
A Christian group in Bath which goes by the name of HOTS (Healing on the Streets) was banned in February by the ASA from claiming that the Creator of the Universe can heal. As in all such cases, Manichaeism prevailed and the sheep divided from goats: the faithful were incensed, claiming a fundamental attack on religious liberty and freedom of expression, while the secular-humanist-atheists were insisting on the strict application of the scientific method in accordance with the principles of logical positivism (ie, there’s no proof).
As a result of a complaint (yes, one, singular), the ASA investigated with regulatory zeal the outrageous claim that God could heal, and determined after a few coffees that He is just another witchdoctor offering nothing but tinctures of bogus homeopathic potions and ineffectual lotions. God cannot heal, they concluded: the absurd claims of HOTS were fraudulent. The group was told to go and
His Grace will not go into the theological evangelical charismatic debates about which apostolic gifts ceased when and whether or not God still irrupts into human history as He was wont. The issue here is the ASA, to which His Grace is not particularly well disposed (declaration of interest).
The ‘Authority’ has now amended its original judgment, which obviously wasn’t ex cathedra, and issued another one, which is (moreso).
HOTS are now free to proclaim on their website with impunity that God can heal, but they still may not do so upon printed leaflets, for websites (the ASA has determined) lie outside their jurisdiction.
Now then, His Grace is mightily puzzled by this, for reasons which one or two of his regular readers might understand (clue: here, here, here and here).
If His Grace’s blog isn’t a website, he is at a loss to know what it is. Why is it permissible for a Christian to advertise the healing power of God upon a website with impunity, while the promotion of the traditional and legal form of marriage on a website falls under the quasi-judicial powers appropriated by the ASA?
If God’s healing powers are determined to belong to the realm of causes and ideas, and so outside the jurisdiction of the ASA, in what sense and by what reasoning do they assume the authority to pontificate upon marriage, which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church?
It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that ASA Chairman Lord Smith (with his shifting declarations of interest) is a tad more interested in promoting gay marriage than he is in trivial issues like preternatural healing, could it?
If not, could he please explain why the HOTS website is decreed to lie beyond the competence of the ASA, while His Grace’s website is subject to their bullying, harassment and summary judgment?