An evangelist who kicks followers in the face, claiming his violence will cure them of cancer, is to tour Britain this month – but his proposed visit has provoked outrage and demands that he be banned from entering the country.
Tattooed preacher Todd Bentley, who as a 15-year-old was convicted of a sex attack on a boy aged seven, claims God uses him as an instrument to heal the sick, and is urging the frail to attend his shows.
The former drug user, who is Canadian but based in the United States, even laughs about his ‘healing’ techniques. In one show he treated a man claiming to be suffering from colon cancer by planting his knee hard into the victim’s stomach. The man fell to the floor in agony.
On another occasion, a man was pushed over so forcefully that he lost a tooth.
Burly Mr Bentley, 36, said in one YouTube clip: ‘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 has urged Home Secretary Theresa May to ban Mr Bentley from the UK. He told her: ‘His visit can do nothing but harm and I would be grateful for any measures you can take.’
Mr Bentley launches his tour at the 400-capacity Croydon Conference Centre in South London with three shows from August 30, before visiting Liverpool, Cwmbran and Co Armagh in September.
Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester who now runs a church education charity, said: ‘I think the Home Secretary should make enquiries and see if there is any threat to public order. If the police have any indication that violence will be used against people who may be ill or vulnerable, it will be for her to decide if police should attend.’
Peter May, a prominent Christian GP who served for 25 years on the Church of England’s ruling General Synod, and has investigated spurious faith healers for more than 20 years, said: ‘I’m concerned by Todd Bentley’s methods because a physical injury on any sick person could be very serious. …
Faith is so weird. Some people will perform amazing mental back-flips to justify a previous bad decision, rather than just saying, “Ooh, that was dumb of me.”
Cancer is s group of diseases involving unregulated cell growth. The causes of cancer are 90-95% environmental [link]. In other words, only 5–10% of all cancers are due to an inherited gene defect, so instead of a kick in the face, you need to change your lifestyle and exposure to cancer causing agents.