Angley, the HIV 'cure' and 21 demons
By Andre Haynes
Stabroek News
November 3, 2006

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If you believe him, Ernest Angley "cured" 87 people of HIV/AIDS on Sunday night.

In fact, people living with HIV and many more who were otherwise afflicted and among the multitudes who gathered at the National Park, were all told that they were healed as the Ohio-based televangelist capped off his three-day miracle crusade in Guyana.

"Everything you put on the Blood," he explained to them, "the Lord will take care of it." Everything included HIV/AIDS, cancer, anaemia, diabetes, deafness, speech impediments, rheumatoid arthritis, nervous spasms, spinal injuries, and a stomach condition that he never did name though he managed to heal whoever was afflicted by it. He also performed healings for confessed alcoholics and drug addicts in the crowd.

In the weeks leading up to the crusade, there were TV and radio spots and newspaper ads in which Angley promised that the lame would walk, the deaf hear, and the blind see. It was also claimed that "AIDS and other death diseases" would be cured at the crusade, which prompted the Health Ministry to issue a public advisory warning about the claims. Among other things, it said anyone promoting the misrepresentation of there being a religious-based cure for HIV is involved in obscene exploitation of people's vulnerability.

Apart from that, Angley, like other televangelists, has also been criticised for taking "donations" from people in poor countries where his claims draw huge crowds.

And certainly, he did ask for a "Thank you Lord offering," as he described it.

"This is the way to be blessed," he said, "the Lord told me to take a blessing offering."

Additionally, he advised against an "I'm too poor" mentality by the people in the crowd.

"That's the reason you're so poor," he explained, "because you're not giving to the lord."

Angley accepted between $2,000 and $10 and people were welcome to give more. He also took cheques.

But even the ministry admitted that miracle healing is a matter of belief, and the preacher had his believers, in the men, women, and children, of all ages, all races, who looked on. Animated, even at 85, Angley was greeted by a sea of waving hands at almost every turn, and he wasted very little time in "healing" the sick after he strutted out onto the stage.

He began with an anonymous "John" somewhere in the crowd, a 23-year-old, who, according to him, had only three months more to live. "Now you're healed," he said, to a roar of applause from the crowd. He quickly moved on to another unseen person, "Annie," a grandmother, who he said had been suffering with HIV for three and a half years and with six months to live. She was also healed in a similar fashion as before. He continued and there were "two miracles" for a grandmother and a baby with AIDS, and a cancer victim ("No cancer anymore!"), and somebody with a broken back ("You're healed!").

He said there was a baby with a deformity who would be fully healed in six weeks and four people with nervous breakdowns whose nervous systems would be repaired. And there was someone with anaemia who would be healed. And there was a grandfather and his son and three grandchildren with AIDS who were also healed as well as a 15-year-old, whom he described as not so young or old. And there was a backslider in the bleachers who up until then was absolutely going to die of AIDS in three months. And there was also someone with diabetes. "Only God can heal diabetes," he said, "you're being healed right now by the hand of God." And there was another person who he said had been suffering with AIDS for four years and was told by a doctor only the day before that he or she had four months to live. He said that person should go back to the doctor.

And whoever it was that needed heart surgery, the Lord was doing it right then according to Angley. And there were two more people with AIDS who were also healed. Then he waved his arm over a section of the crowd and said there were 17 people with AIDS there, and the initials of their middle names were W, C and F. They too were healed, along with whoever 31-year-old F.C. is.

Later, he received persons who said they were alcoholics and drug addicts on stage, and soon they were falling into the awaiting arms of the ushers as they were healed. With every falling body there was a cheer from the crowd looking on. Before the people on stage were led off, Angley announced that 15 of them had AIDS and five would have been going to hell in three months. "God has saved you" he told them.

Later still, he sensed 20 people with AIDS in a section of the crowd and they were healed. And then there were five more, and three more and at last 13 and, if you believe him, Ernest Angley healed each and every one of them that night.

Not everyone got a miracle though.

Among the group of alcoholics and drug addicts who were invited to the stage, there were those who did not fall when the minister touched their foreheads and cast the demons out.

"You're not letting go," Angley told two of them who stood their ground, "You have to want it." Nothing happened and he moved on, mumbling about the man who didn't want to let go. Later, during the individual healings there was another man who didn't fall at his touch.

"You will be destroyed," he said to him, while repeatedly imploring the man to let go. With the man still frozen in place, Angley then told him he had 21 demons in his soul: "I'm not gonna pray for you anymore," he said, "You are resisting the power of God."

The man was led off the stage, while the preacher lamented his situation. "How sad," he said.

The young man, who claimed to have been alcoholic, later said he had a better understanding of God, although he did not feel any different physically.