Leaders of Britain’s Black churches have met with Ofcom, the broadcasting standards watchdog, to discuss concerns that TV ministries, with a focus on miracle healing, could be endangering lives by encouraging people to stop taking their medicines because God will heal them.
The meeting, led by Bishop Dr Joe Aldred (pictured), was called by Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs (MECA) of ecumenical organisation, Churches Together in England (CTE).
Ofcom used the meeting to share its remit, which includes regulating UK-based TV and radio broadcasters, to protect the public from harm or offence. It is mindful not to interfere with people’s right to freedom of religious expression.
Whilst some questioned the need for Ofcom, and wondered aloud whether or not the organisation was trying to restrict the expression of Black faith, others welcomed its work. Dr Michel Sacramento, President of Pastorale Francophone UK said, “Far from hindering our mission for broadcasting the message of the Gospel, the Ofcom regulations may help spur evangelical broadcasters into developing more imaginative ways of communicating the Gospel to a cosmopolitan audience, taking into consideration the peculiarities of the environment in which it is articulated. The challenges we now face may turn into blessings, as we grow stronger in effectiveness and scope.”
Those present agreed that church leaders, who broadcast TV ministry programmes with an emphasis on healing, should encourage their viewers to seek medical advice before making any change to their treatment regimes.