Remember how the Equippers church in New Zealand put up a billboard saying “Jesus Heals Cancer”? The billboard included tally marks indicating how many people had been “cured” by Jesus…
After complaints, they replaced it with a sign reading, “Jesus heals every sickness and every disease — Matthew 4:23” — which was another lie…
Now, the Advertising Standards Authority in the country has ruled that the church “breached advertising standards” (DOC) — basically, it’s a case of false advertising:
… it said the billboard made its statement as a “strong absolute statement of fact” when it should be stated as a belief of the church. It breached the advertising code of ethics on that ground.
The authority said that while the church wanted to offer “a message of hope” its billboard was provocative and would cause offence to people who were dealing with, or knew people who were dealing with, cancer.
It said the billboard could cause confusion for some people as it could be interpreted as meaning the Equippers Church was able to offer something that other churches could not.
This rule was also violated:
Rule 2: Truthful Presentation — Advertisements should not contain any statement or visual presentation or create an overall impression which directly or by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim is misleading or deceptive, is likely to deceive or mislead the consumer, makes false and misleading representation.
It’s the right decision, though poor reasoning. What if a church advertised that it offered members a ticket to Heaven? What about an ad promoting homeopathy or psychic services as if both were legitimate?
Aren’t those also lies parading as fact?