Press Release Regarding Yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph

We are concerned with the persistent unsubstantiated headlines of the Belfast Telegraph. Yesterday’s headline “my cancer was driven out by prayer” has tipped many over the edge.

This front page article is a slap in the face of the many skilled doctors of the Royal Victoria hospital, who worked so hard to save Rachelle, and unsympathetic and upsetting to those who have lost loved ones to cancer. It is also dangerous and irresponsible to send out the message that prayer cures cancer, when there is absolutely not one shred of supporting evidence. It isn’t just a hypothetical danger that parents may dispense with healthcare and opt solely for prayer – it has actually happened.

The Belfast Telegraph has an absolute right to freedom of expression. However, as one of the largest readerships in Northern Ireland, it also has a responsibility to maintain the highest journalistic integrity.

ISPO clause 1 part 3 clearly states “the press, while free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact”. Given the reaction on social media, this is arguably not the case.

Atheist NI believe in an ethical, rational and secular Northern Ireland.

Boyd Sleator

Atheist NI chairperson.

One response to “Press Release Regarding Yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph

  1. These articles as unabashed religion canvassing, and the tone of all but ignoring the efforts of the hospital staff are quite galling.
    The comments section of the BelTel were closed, following a lot of volleys for the young lad’s similar ‘story’ some weeks previous. I think we know why.
    The girl should go to the relatives of cancer victims and explain that, although god chose to forsake their loved ones, it decided that she should be spared. See if she could finish that sentence without recognizing her narcissism.

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