Talk about a tough call. Is this the strangest religion-angle Ebola story yet?
There are so many strange things to note in the following report from way down under, care of The New Zealand Herald. First of all there is the deceptively simple double-decker headline:
Warning over 'miracle' Ebola cure
Warning ahead of NZ seminar to push church’s ‘miracle’ potion
OK, so you have the word "miracle" in the same headline with the word "church." That's a somewhat logical connection, I know, but what kind of church are we talking about that says it has a cure for miraculous Ebola?
Read the top of this story very carefully:
A controversial healing group that claims to have a cure for Ebola is coming to New Zealand this weekend to promote a bleach-based solution that medical experts have slammed as being potentially fatal.
Genesis II Church of Health and Healing leader James Humble is heading a three-day, US$500-a-head ($646) seminar in Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains.
The event is part of an international tour by the non-religious church, which has its headquarters in the Dominican Republic, to publicise its Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS).
All together now: What, precisely, is a "non-religious church" that also bills itself as a "healing" group?
Now, I have heard of "sexual healing," but not "secular healing" -- if the word miracle is involved.
There are all kinds of strange angles in this story, so read it all. But I am fascinated with the way that religious language keeps being used, but never explained or challenged. For example:
More than 40 people have confirmed attendance for the seminar. ... It will feature talks by "Archbishop" Humble and other church members. Attendees will get lunch, booklets, a "Reverend ID card" and "Health minister ID card", and afterwards be authorised to "open a Church chapter".
The "church" reference is used again, later. There is no explanation of what this group is, in religious terms, or what it believes. Why use the word "church" for a non-religious group? If the group uses the term, then readers need to know what they mean when they say "church." The one thing journalists can't do in this case is just leave the whole matter confused.
Or did I miss something?