Saturday 16 June 2012

Breaking the Law for God

While shopping today in High Wycombe, I was handed this leaflet:-

By these people:

Their claim is that:  If you suffer from Cancer or indeed any illness, you are invited to sit down in one of their chairs and allow God to heal you... while they pray.

The Cancer Act 1939 states:-

"No person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement containing an offer to treat any person for cancer, or to prescribe any remedy therefor, or to give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof".

If any person contravenes any of the provisions they shall be liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 months.

The Cancer Act of 1939 defines the possible legal defences for persons charged with contravening the Act. The Persons charged must prove they are:-
  • Members of either House of Parliament or of a local authority or of a governing body of a voluntary hospital.
  • Registered medical practitioners;
  • Registered nurses;
  • Registered pharmacists and persons lawfully conducting a retail pharmacy business in accordance with section 69 of the Medicines Act 1968
  • Persons undergoing training with a view to becoming registered medical practitioners, registered nurses or registered pharmacists

or that:
  • the said advertisement was published only in a publication of a technical character intended for circulation mainly amongst persons of the classes mentioned in the last preceding paragraph or one of some of those classes.

The Act states:
"it shall be the duty of the council of every county and county borough to institute proceedings under this section".

the expression “advertisement” includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document, and any announcement made orally or by any means of producing or transmitting sounds".

Clearly this religious group are simply using the desire for a cure for Cancer or any other illness as a marketing tool to promote, evangelise and proselytise their own brand of religion.

They are offering this service in a busy shopping centre less than half a mile from a busy hospital full of ill people. Surely if their intent was to heal the ill, they would be providing this service in the hospital where people suffering from Cancer would be only too pleased to have a same-day cure.

However, they choose to provide this service to healthy Saturday shoppers who's illness seems to be that they have a God shaped hole in their hearts.   

I may need to have a word with the ASA, the local Council and maybe Hayley Stevens. Oh yes... as the Law of the Land is being broken, maybe the police....



  1. How did it make you feel? I would have been boiling inside. You were spot on about their lack of apparent interest in using their "prayer chairs" at the hospital.

  2. Hi Danny,
    A mixture of feelings really.
    1. Anger - at the hypocrisy and self righteous attitude of these faith healers.
    2. Incredulity - at the gullibility and lack of any critical thinking skills by their victims.
    3. Suspicion - that these people were there simply to recruit new converts.
    4. Concern - that people may not get real medical help if they believed God would heal them.
    5. Irritation - that the same organisation has been told not to do this by the Advertising Standards Authority.
    6. Worry - that the religious right are dragging us back into the Dark Ages.
    7. Apprehension - That we will see Benny Hinn or Peter Popoff in this country.
    8. Consolation - tat they're not doing this for money up front.

    However, Advertising cures for Cancer is illegal in this country unless you are medically qualified to do so. So I dropped a quick heads-up to the ASA. These people have already been banned from making medical claims to possible vulnerable members of the public. They've chosen to ignore the ASA adjudication. I think they need a little reminder that they're not above the law because of their beliefs.