A church poster implying that “blessed oil” cured a child’s life-threatening heart condition has been banned by the advertising watchdog.
The advert for the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) featured a testimonial from a woman implying that her son’s lung and heart defects were cured by oil that the church had provided.
The poster said: “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.”
The British Humanist Association and two members of the public objected to the advert’s “implied medicinal claim”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) questioned whether the poster would discourage seriously ill people from getting medical treatment.
It concluded that some readers might infer from the advert that anointing oil had played a part in the boy’s recovery.
In its ruling, the ASA said: “Because UCKG had sent no evidence to support such an implication, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.”
In its response to the ASA, UCKG said the testimonial had clearly stated the individual had received only “spiritual” support from the church. It said it was not their intention to discourage anyone from seeking qualified medical advice.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled: “We considered that some readers were likely to infer from the ad as a whole that anointing oil had played some role in the son’s recovery. Because UKCG had sent no evidence to support such an implication, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead. The ad could discourage people from seeking essential treatment by implying that the oil had a curative effect.”
The ASA ruled that the ad had breached the committee of advertising practice code and must not appear again in its current form.
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, headquartered in Brazil, also uses the name “Stop Suffering.” However, the church causes a lot of suffering by preaching a form of the Prosperity Gospel: if you want to receive money, healing or another blessing, you first must give or ‘sow’ money.
Speaking of getting rich… The founder of one of Brazil’s biggest evangelical churches siphoned off billions of dollars in donations from his mostly poor followers to buy jewelry, TV stations and other businesses for himself, authorities charged Tuesday.
Theologially, the church is considered to be a cult of Christianity.