Health

6 HIV Patients Die: Church Told Them to Stop Taking Medication

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A troubling report out of Britain, which claims that at least six HIV-positive people have died after their churches instructed them to stop taking their medication, saying God had cured them.

Sky News launched an investigation into the Synagogue Church of all Nations (SCOAN), a "wealthy" church which has branches all over the world. A reporter went undercover into several churches in England and Scotland. Pastors claimed they could cure HIV patients by "shouting over the person being healed for the devil to come out of their body, while spraying water in their face," reports Sky.

One man named "Emmanuel" said he went through the so-called treatment:

"(The pastor) told me I'd been healed  -- 'You've got to stop taking the medicine now. I'll keep praying for you. Once God forgives you then the disease will definitely go.'"

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One pastor claims a success rate of 100%.

"We have many people that contract HIV. All are healed," said pastor Rachel Holmes.

The church will not admit failure even after the person stops taking their medication and their symptoms come back.

"We've had people come back before saying, 'Oh, I'm not healed. The diarrhea I had when I had HIV, I've got it again,'" Holmes said. "I have to stop them and say, 'No, please, you are free.'"

The pastor said such signs are actually evidence that the virus is leaving the body.

Of course, medical experts say this is nonsense -- dangerous nonsense at that.

"It is foolish advice and it is tragic advice because the consequences of this kind of advice can only be that people pass on HIV and can only be seriously bad for the individual concerned - including death," said Former British health secretary Lord Fowler.

Indeed, Sky News reports that at least six people have died after they trusted their church's advice.

SCOAN stands by its methods, saying in a statement to Sky News:

"We are not the Healer - God is the Healer. Never a sickness God cannot heal. Never a disease God cannot cure. Never a burden God cannot bear. Never a problem God cannot solve.

"To His power, nothing is impossible. We have not done anything to bring about healing, deliverance or prosperity. If somebody is healed, it is God who heals.

"We must have a genuine desire if we come to God. We are not in position to question anybody's genuine desire. Only God knows if one comes with true desire. Only God can determine this.

"That is why, if anybody comes in the name of God, we pray for them. The outcome of the prayer will determine if they come genuinely or not."

This is likely little consolation to Emmanuel. He is not healed, and worse, he may have given the virus to his boyfriend.

"Yeah, I think I've passed it on. He got ill. Physically, he's lost some bit of weight. He's very small. I think he's worried... Yeah, I feel guilty, if I'm the one who passed it onto him I'm feeling guilty. Yeah, very much guilty."

Here is the Sky News report: