God Told Me to Kick You in the Face

You know how preacher Benny Hinn touches people on their foreheads or faces in order to “heal” them?

Todd Bentley has a different approach. He just kicks people in the face (start at the 1:00 mark):

Now, Bentley wants to tour Britain to pretend to heal even more people (while taking in plenty of money, I’m sure), but a number of Brits are trying to prevent it from happening:

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.

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.

‘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.’

Of course, Bentley is denying all of it. I guess he’s never heard of the Internet.

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.’

If only they could keep him out for fraudulent practices.

Faith-healers never release medical records of their “patients.” If they could actually do what they say they can do, Christians would have the greatest conversion tool in history. Instead, con artists take advantage of gullible people who need real help instead of faith-based shams. But, you know, who cares about their health when they’re giving you money.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I don’t know. Seems to me like a strong kick in the head is just what anybody who believes in a charlatan like this needs.

  • Corey Henderson

    Isn’t Gluttony a sin? 

    • Gus Snarp

      With everything that’s wrong with this guy and with this video, you go after him for being overweight? Stay classy.

  • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

    I can get behind a tour centred on kicking credulous morons in the face.

  • Gus Snarp

    I do not understand. Is this some kind of weird Poe? The audience seems to think it’s some kind of comedy routine, but then it becomes a church service? I don’t get it. Is this nervous laughter because they know this is wrong? Are these supposed to be true stories? Do these people believe that God directly speaks to this guy and tells him to perform acts of extreme violence? I mean what the hell is going on here?

    • MJ

      I have family members into this guy – trust me, its not comedy AT ALL. They think its totally legit.

  • Amyb

    Are there any videos of him actually hitting, kicking, knocking people over etc…?  I mean, this seemed more like a comedy show (Not my cup of tea but maybe I don’t get Christian comedy.) than anything else.  I feel I need proof he actually does the things he describes but that is just the skeptic in me.  If he lies about healing people I wouldn’t be surprised if he lies about the “way” he does it.

    • http://twitter.com/arensb arensb

       Same here: the shots of people laughing leads me to wonder if this is some sort of cargo-cult comedy routine.

  • farnsworth

    I have MS, I can no longer work. A woman told me that she had healed hundreds of people, and she could heal me.  I told her I do not believe in God, but if she could heal me, I would instantly convert to Christianity.  So she started saying, “Out demon!” while putting her hands on my body.  I thought, “Demon?  Seriously, you think MS is caused by demons?”  She said I needed to “walk it out,” just start believing in God, and that the cure would come months down the road after I had been a believer for a while.  Because belief in fairy tales is something you can just choose to switch on.

    No surprise, I still have MS and I still am permanently disabled. 

    • jdm8

      I was told “I needed more faith.” Gee, thanks, lady. Biblically, that means she is saying I don’t have any, not that she had that in mind when she said that.

      The whole deal about demon possession that Christianity is likely the Roman civilization severely affected by lead poisoning.

    • Barbara

      I’m sorry to hear about the MS. I hope you’re managing okay with it. *hugs*

  • MacCrocodile

    Okay, rational-people-meeting, everybody! New plan: we “welcome” these folks on their international tours, but as soon as they hit international waters, everyone disavow their citizenship.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Todd:  “Now, Judge, uh Your Honor, I plead innocent.  I did no wrong.  Sure I kicked her in the face.  I probably broke her nose and knocked out a few teeth.  Ok, ok. When she fell, she got a concussion, broke her hip and detached both retinas.  Ok, I fractured her skull and she has CNS fluid leaking into her sinus cavity.  But you’re ignoring the bigger picture.  I did it for her own good.  Don’t you see.  She was sick.  She needed the healing power of God.  And the voice of Jesus himself, told me.  He said, in a manly man’s voice. ‘Todd, kick that bitch in the face.’  I ain’t going to argue with God, are you.  And I know what you are saying to yourself, how is a kick to the face going to cure a ninety-five year old suffering from osteoporosis?  Well, I don’t know.  But God works in mysterious ways, right.  I’m mean Jesus spit in the eyes of a blind man, and he could see?  And now that she is no longer able to walk or bath herself, she doesn’t have to worry about falling in the bath tub?  I was just doing God’s work.”

    Judge: “Guilty.”

    • C Peterson

      Or, given the degree to which religious organizations are increasingly being allowed to flaunt the law, “Not Guilty”.

  • Gus Snarp

    Googling this guy has left me even more disturbed. I haven’t found any evidence yet of the violence being real, this article, for example describes him as having been videotaped claiming to have healed through violence – essentially, what we see in the video above: 
    http://www.tampabay.com/news/religion/article651191.ece. That’s from 2008, when he was apparently drawing throngs of people to a revival in Lakeland, Florida, which makes me ashamed to come from that area.

    But whether he’s done this or not, is it not a terrible thing to tell a mob of deluded people that God has commanded you to heal people through, frankly, terrible violence? Is there not a possibility that some of them will go out and start practicing what this guy preaches?

    Oh, and his story is rather interesting. He was convicted of sexual assault as a teenager, and apparently it was not a single occurrence, nor a minor one. He has jumped on the Christian redemption and forgiveness train to become a faith healing preacher in spite of his past, but even while he was preaching he cheated on his wife. But he got a divorce and married his mistress, so I guess that makes it OK and he’s been forgiven again. So much for the sanctity of marriage.

    I think most faith healers are conscious frauds, it would be pretty hard not to be, but this guy more than most seems to me to have very coldly and calculatingly found a way to cash in on his back story, combined with the whole redemption thing, to build a business around conning people. It’s sick, whether he’s really kicking old ladies or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.gwinn Don Gwinn

    I could swear I remember seeing Youtube videos of Bentley kicking people on stage–push kicks to the chest with boots–but I cannot find them.  Either they’re gone, or I’m not remember correctly.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QPVVPRJ7QKLPU6TF5B4IZTENTI No

    I have to agree with a few others here. I don’t get the sense that he’s actually advocating doing those things to people. It sounds to me like he’s lampooning faith healing a bit by taking things down a rather extreme, bombastic, and exaggerated route, which is what comedians do often. It sounds like a bit to me, and we just don’t have enough content in this video to say he’s actually saying he would or has done these things.

    Now if we have video of this guy fulfilling his words with action, then by all means, there must be some legal recourse. My guess, though, is that even if he acts as he seems to indicate here, that there is little to no video because he locks each event down like a vault so he can’t be caught in the act, and so that it’s someone’s word against his if someone wants to sue.

    But based on this, I don’t see an immediate need for alarm. The video cuts too often, and it’s so over the top that it really sounds like a line of joke, especially with all the audience laughter.

    • MJ

      Again, its not a joke at all. A few years ago, his “revivals” were all the rage in Charismatic circles.

  • Justin Miyundees

    Darwin award candidates are bound and determined to attend.

  • Lee Barbo

    This doesn’t sound too far off the track in comparison to some of the speakers I’ve heard when I used to attend church. I can recall watching a young girl writhe on the floor making moaning noises and laughing hysterically and an evangelist telling the congregations not to worry about her, she was just ‘makin’ love to the Lord’. Ew. sermon. Another evangelist team, two women, claimed the God made their vehicle fly in order to prevent them from being late to a Then there was the time the preacher, who was coming under fire about the church’s finances, preaching about how Old Testament judgements would be coming back (because of the scripture saying in the end times, things would be as in the days of Noah). He preached that we shouldn’t surprised if dissenters start’ dropping like flies’ from God’s judgement. Another time, the past0r preached from the pulpit to our mixed race congregation that he would only perform a mixed race marriage if the couple would ‘get sterilized’ first so that they couldn’t have children.
    Of course, it was ridiculous claims and incidents as these that set me on my way to atheism because, try as I might, I just couldn’t buy into the load of crap that was being sold. 

    • thebigJ_A

      Wait, Jesus is a pedophile, too? I thought that was just Mohammed!

  • trj

    A video exists of Todd kicking a man with colon cancer in the stomach. Unfortunately, it’s been pulled from youtube, and I can’t find it anywhere else. You’ll find lots of references to it if you google “todd bentley kick stomach”.

  • Barbara

    I thought for sure this video was some kind of satire piece and that Todd Bentley was a comedian. I googled his name and am shocked to find that he is 100% for real in the ministry business. As awful as his speech was, I am more disturbed at his large audience. We expect dangerous people to be shunned by the greater community, not applauded with hand clapping and laughter. When are people going to wise up and realize that just because someone is religious, that doesn’t mean he or she is a person worth following.

  • http://twitter.com/moother moother

    USA: dumbest country in the wooooooooooooooooooorld

    • Gus Snarp

      Sadly, no, we’re not. For example, we’re not nearly so convinced of homeopathy as most of Europe. For the most part our faith healers are looked on by the general public as crackpots, even if they can draw large crowds. Very few Americans really believe in witches and demonic possession, while in some African countries people are still tried, convicted, and executed for it. Yeah, sometimes we’re easy to pick on, and sometimes we deserve it, but this guy’s mere presence here doesn’t make us dumb. We’re one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world, which gives us a disproportionate share of great athletes, great scientists, and utterly loony dingbats as well.

      Save the accusations of our stupidity for posts describing how many of us believe in young earth creationism and are willing to let our government pass laws based on unscientific principles.

  • michael both
    • Gus Snarp

      Disgusting, yes, but it claims to be a compilation of his violence, and yet again we don’t actually see him perform any violence. The only thing close is a very clearly staged knee to the chest that obviously doesn’t actually make contact. I think this guy is screwed up, I think he’s clearly a disgusting fraud and he’s hurting people in ways that may be far more lasting than physical violence, but at this point, especially after seeing the staged knee in that video, all the evidence I’ve seen suggests that the claims of violence are all part of his act, anything he does that actually looks violent is probably, like that knee and everything else he does, faked. I think he wants these rumors that he really knocked someone’s tooth out floating around out there, he wants people believing he uses violence because it’s a part of his schtick, but absent any actual evidence, I’m highly doubtful he ever actually commits physical violence on his patsies.

  • Tak

    He certainly presents a danger to others… only a Christian could get away with hearing voices and jumping on people. I’ve seen individuals committed to the psych hospital for less bizarre religious behaviors. This guy is mentally ill and should be hospitalized due to dangerous delusions and voices that tell him to hurt people.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I saw someone on FB earlier claiming that his “friend, the bible” gave him the cure for his Aunt’s cancer. I wonder if he kicked her on the face.

    Okay, in all seriousness…Face kicking? Yeah, he cured them. He got their mind off their old issue by giving them a new one!

  • alt+3

    Sure, faith healing is a scam, but at least it’s better than a kick in the… uh… Hm. I guess it’s not.

  • hallucination

    there will always be people who believe in asses like this, because there will always be sheep who just latch onto the concept of a faith and never really think for themselves. All faiths (or should i say philosophies) have these people, Christianity, Atheism, Judaism, and Islam even if not all of them have faith healers.

    • thebigJ_A

      Pretty sure atheism hasn’t got people who claim to get messages from gods….

      • hallucination

        that was never my point

        • thebigJ_A

          Ok… how about “pretty sure atheism hasn’t got people who latch on to the concept of a faith”? 

          I’m not sure what your point was, to be honest.

    • Gus Snarp

      For the hundredth time, atheism is not a faith, as such it does not require capitalization. 
      Atheism is either A. Not in any way a faith but simply a statement of a lack of belief with no organizing principles whatsoever that anyone can belong to simply by not believing or B. A somewhat organized movement that is largely based on skeptical ideals and is characterized by the notion that leaders are judged on a regular basis on the quality of their ideas and arguments, not on their general popularity.  In either case is completely unfair and inaccurate to lump atheism in with actual religious faiths the way you have.

      For concrete examples go to any post on this blog about Bill Maher or Penn Jillette and read the comments and see if they reflect people uniformly and blindly following a dogmatic leader, or a group of people arguing about whether these people even deserve to be members of the group based on their ideas and how they’re articulated. See also recent discussions of sexism in the atheist and skeptical communities where both sides supposed sacred cows are routinely gored. You’ll find precious little of what you are claiming here, even if some people in those discussions are claiming it as well.

      • hallucination

        even if it isn’t a faith i thought it was still a proper noun, and you clearly haven’t been on the internet where i have. I have had the displeasure of talking with people that say they are atheist and believe in science, but disregard anybody who has any theistic ideas regardless of any valid points or questions. These people are the sheep i am talking about, you don’t need a God or supreme being to be stupid.

        • thebigJ_A

          There are dumb people everywhere. That has little bearing on whether or not any gods exist. 

          I’m sorry if you’ve had negative experiences in the past. This is a good place to pose questions, imo. So long as you’re actually looking for an honest discussion, people around here are generally willing to talk.

          People trying to score points with long-refuted arguments, or people who aren’t really looking for an open discussion, will be less likely to be appreciated. 

          I bid you welcome.

        • mike kozlowskyj

          In this case a lower case g is required as in; “,you don’t need a god or…”  because you are not referring to a specific supreme being named “God” just a god or any gods

      • hallucination

        also your comment that i won’t find any of that here is actually what i was hoping for in coming here.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VDAQBEPUXKQTXZXOHQB4Y2BCH4 Aa
  • thebigJ_A

    The FSM is telling me to knock his tooth out.

    Luckily I’m a rational human being and don’t hurt people based on imaginary friends.


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