By Al Webb
Religion News Service
LONDON (RNS) Britain's powerful media advertising watchdog has banned a Christian group from claiming on its website and brochures that God's cure-all powers can heal a string of medical ailments.
The Advertising Standards Authority, the independent regulator of advertising in all British media, ruled that the ads generated by the group Healing on the Streets are irresponsible and misleading.
The ASA, whose tight rules are considered among the world's most stringent, cites a leaflet produced by the group from its center in the spa town of Bath, England, claiming that God "can heal you from any sickness."
Among illnesses that can be cured with divine help, it said, are "ulcers, depression, allergies, fibromyalgia, asthma, paralysis, phobias, sleeping disorders or any other sickness."
The ASA told the BBC that someone had complained about the group's leaflets and website, and the panel had "concluded that (the ads) could encourage false hope and were irresponsible."
In a statement, the healing group said "it seems very odd to us that the ASA wants to prevent us from stating on our website the basic Christian belief that God can heal illness."
The group added that it had tried to reach a compromise with the advertising panel, "but there are certain things that we cannot agree to, including a ban on expressing our beliefs."
For more information, the group said, "see the Bible."
According to the BBC, the Healing the Streets ministry was launched seven years ago in Northern Ireland and its tenets have been taken up by scores of churches throughout Britain.