‘Miracle Healing Church’ in Mityana was closed by police after nearby residents complained to the Police that people were being starved and the sick prevented from seeking medical help. This story appeared in today’s New Vision. It also turns out that most of its members were suffering from AIDS. But that’s not all:

In the same village, a three-month-old baby was recovered from a house in a critical condition. He looked malnourished. Residents said the baby’s mother, Joyce Mutezi, refused to take him to hospital, saying prayers would heal him.

Poverty and sickness is rife all over the country. Sadly there is an increasing number of churches mushrooming whose leaders advocate prayer instead of the use of modern medicine. Herein lies the irony – whereas it was missionaries that first built many of the hospitals and health centres Uganda ever got, today’s evangelists seem to be hell-bent on doing the opposite – discouraging medicine, in favour of magic.

As discussed in a previous post, there are pastors in this country who encourage HIV positive people to stop taking their ARVs because ‘God’ has purportedly ‘healed’ them. TASO, the pioneer AIDS care organisation in Uganda (which provides antiretroviral therapy to 23,000 people) announced in September 2008 that unverified faith healing was posing a threat to adherence to antiretroviral therapy by persons living with HIV/Aids.

In Part 2 of the ‘Does ‘God’ Heal?’ series I will discuss in detail why claims of faith healing aren’t taken seriously by medical professionals and people who think critically. In the meantime, let’s urge the sick to seek medical help instead of relying on false promises of miracle cures.