MP calls for ban on tattooed preacher who 'cures' cancer by kicking people in the face
- Canadian Todd Bentley launches UK tour in Croydon later this month
Violent: Canadian preacher Todd Bentley with a follower at one of his 'healing' shows in which he kicks people in the face, claiming it will cure them of cancer
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.
'Nothing, but harm': Labour MP for Croydon North Malcolm Wicks (left) has urged Home Secretary Theresa May (right) to ban Mr Bentley from the UK
'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.’
The preacher came to prominence four years ago through his church, Fresh Fire Ministries, which launched a Christian ‘revival’ in Lakeland, Florida. The event, which attracted 400,000 people, was also on international channel God TV. Mr Bentley claims he cured viewers at home.
Shanee Lemos, who is organising the UK tour, denied the preacher used violence. He said: ‘I’ve worked with Todd for a long time and I’ve never seen him kick someone.’
He added: ‘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.’
A Croydon Conference Centre spokesman would not be drawn on Mr Bentley’s methods. Mr Bentley said: ‘Kicking people in the face is not a practice of our ministry and I do not see this happening in the UK.’
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