During an episode of a satellite-delivered religious program called “The Miracle Hour,” the presiding religious authority Bishop Simon Iheanacho told a caller with diabetes that he had driven the disease from the caller’s body. Observers worry that in the aftermath the caller will not seek out proper medical advice.
The progam is produced by UKWET, or UK World Evangelical Trust, according to a BBC report. The organization is said to be reviewing its new programs to make sure they adhere to “good practice.”
A critic of the diabetes episode was highly critical, saying that the Bishop insinuated that the caller had been cured when instead he should have suggested consulting a doctor.
Another caller believed that her children were possessed by snakes, and was advised by the Bishop to anoint them with oil.
Another caller suffering from breast cancer was told that it had been removed. According to BBC, the Bishop said, “We cursed the cancer. It’s dead,” and “Tell them not to worry about anything.”
African Health Policy Network’s Francis Kaikumba was the key individual questioning the programming, noting that similar content is presented on a number of other shows and calling for an investigation of the individuals and programs involved.
RBR-TVBR observation: This is an interesting case. Would Iheanacho and others associated with the program be liable in a court of law if the “healed” turn out to in fact not be healed? And if the program is advertised as offering healing services, would it then be under the purview of the Federal Trade Commission and its truth in advertising policy if the program is unable to make good on that promise?
And of course the big one: How would this square with the constitutionally guaranteed separation of church and state?
We know of no such case percolating in the US, but if one comes up, you can bet it would be divisive and explosive.