A Christian group is to be allowed to claim that ‘God can heal’ following a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority yesterday.
But Healing on the Streets has been told it can only use the phrase on its website and cannot include it on printed material.
The group claimed in hand-out leaflets that God could heal a range of ailments, from arthritis and asthma to depression and MS.
Healing on the Streets was originally banned from using the claims on both its website and in leaflet form in February.
But in a new adjudication – which follows an independent review – the ASA has admitted that the website is outside its jurisdiction.
It upheld the leaflet complaint, meaning the group cannot use the phrase in printed literature or even on a leaflet available to download from its website.
The leaflet read: “Need healing? God can heal today! Do you suffer from back pain, arthritis, MS, addiction, ulcers, depression, allergies, fibromyalgia, asthma, paralysis, crippling disease, phobias, sleeping disorders or any other sickness?
“We‘d love to pray for your healing right now!
“We’re Christian from churches in Bath and we pray in the name of Jesus.
“We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness.”
Speaking after the ruling, a spokesman for Healing on the Streets, which is based in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, welcomed the ruling and said the group would “continue to express our beliefs”.
He said: “The revised adjudication does not apply to what is on our website, meaning we can continue to express our beliefs that God can and does heal, as well as providing information and testimonies explaining all about Healing on the Streets.
“HOTS Bath will continue to fulfil its commitment to demonstrate the love of God through healing of body, mind and spirit on the streets of Bath and elsewhere.”
A spokesman for the ASA confirmed: “We acknowledged that HOTS volunteers believed that prayer could treat illness and medical conditions, and that therefore the ads did not promote false hope.
“However, we noted we had not seen evidence that people had been healed through the prayer of HOTS volunteers and concluded that the ad could encourage false hope in those suffering from the named conditions and therefore were irresponsible.”