An American evangelist who reportedly strikes his followers in a bid to cure them of cancer has provoked controversy ahead of his visit to the United Kingdom, with one MP urging the government to ban him from entering the country.
Todd Bentley, who is reported by the Daily Mail as having been convicted of a sexual attack on a seven-year-old when he was 15, is to tour Britain later this month.
The tattooed preacher, who shot to prominence four years ago through his church, Fresh Fire Ministries, claims God uses him to heal the sick. However, it is his ‘healing techniques’ which have caused outrage.
In one show he is filmed kneeing a colon cancer sufferer in the stomach, with the man falling to the floor. In another a man is pushed over on stage and loses a tooth, reports the Daily Mail.
On one Youtube clip he says: “And I’m thinking why is the power of God not moving? And He said, Because you haven’t kicked that woman in the face.
“And there is this older lady worshipping right in front of the platform and the Holy Spirit spoke to me. The gift of faith comes on me. He said, “Kick her in the face with your biker boot.” I inched closer and I went bam! And just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God.”
Labour MP for Croydon North Malcolm Wicks wants Home Secretary Theresa May to ban Mr Bentley.
He said: “His visit can do nothing but harm and I would be grateful for any measures you can take.”
Peter May, who served for 25 years on the Church of England’s ruling General Synod, and has investigated faith healers for decades, said: ‘I’m concerned by Todd Bentley’s methods because a physical injury on any sick person could be very serious.
“I’ve looked at the video clips on his forum and it requires significant impact for someone to lose a tooth. There may be people who are Christians who believe their health has been transformed, but I believe Todd Bentley should produce the medical evidence. I would urge people to keep away from him.”
Shanee Lemos, who is organising the UK tour, insisted: “I’ve worked with Todd for a long time and I’ve never seen him kick someone.
“Even the terminally ill or people with a few days left to live are encouraged to come along and Todd will attempt to cure them.”