congregation applauded. He went on: “If you’re disobedient, you’re going to struggle and suffer.” Next he told a story about a man who was willing and obedient. One morning this man said his prayers, as he usually did, and then boarded an airplane. The plane exploded. Casey Treat told how people were “cooked” to the left of the man and to the right of him, the row in front and the row in back, but, miraculously, the man survived. “Disobedience brings destruction in the presence of God. Judgment is immediate.” This sermon implicitly outlined a chain of command: it’s not just a matter of obeying God but also of obeying all these other authorities and wiping out rebellion.


Some people at the Christian Faith Center told me about Frances and Charles Hunter, a couple who came to town once a year to do faith healing in the Seattle Center Coliseum (where I used to photograph the Seattle Sonics’ basketball games). For three days before the big night of faith healing, the Hunters trained local Seattle people as healers and assistants. These people did most of the actual healing work in the Coliseum. The evening began with a mass prayer and sing-a-long, and then everyone was asked to leave the floor of the arena except the people with cancer, who were instructed to form a line down the length of the floor. The Hunters walked down the line, placing their hands on people’s heads and shoulders, beseeching God to cure the cancer. When they finished, the rest of the crowd was invited down from the stands to the floor to form lines in front of the dozens of healers.

I photographed from the stage at one end of the coliseum during the opening prayer (fig. 52). Hundreds of people stood, arms raised, calling on God to help them. If you look at the photograph from far enough away, all those faces form a pattern. Because I was standing on the stage, the point of view of the photograph is downward, a perspective similar to that in the photograph of the phone crusade. What, I wondered,

Faith Healing