We’re used to it here in the US, but in other countries, Franklin Graham’s hateful rhetoric does not fly at all.
Franklin Graham‘s planned tour of the UK has run in to a snag: It appears few in the UK want him there. The far right evangelical Christian leader with strong ties to President Donald Trump had announced a UK tour starting in June, but as word spread venues started canceling on him, or pulled out of negotiations. At issue: Graham’s anti-LGBTQ extremism.
ACC Liverpool, a convention center adjacent to the John Lennon Peace Monument has blocked Graham, calling him “divisive” and saying he is “incompatible” with their values.
“Over the past few days we have been made aware of a number of statements which we consider to be incompatible with our values,” the ACC Liverpool said in a statement, as The Guardian reports. “In light of this we can no longer reconcile the balance between freedom of speech and the divisive impact this event is having in our city. We have informed the organizers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled.”
The mayor of Liverpool supports the decision:
Our City is a diverse City and proud of our LGBTQ+ community and always will be. We can not allow hatred and intolerance to go unchallenged by anyone including by religious groups or sects. It’s right we have banned from the M&S Arena Franklin Graham.#Love conquers hatred always— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) January 26, 2020
A London venue has also backed out of negotiations in the wake of “an All Out petition calling on The O2 to refuse to host Graham, with the petition gaining more than 8,500 signatures by early Tuesday morning,” Newsweek reports.
Graham is accusing his UK opponents of discrimination – while falsely suggesting all Christians support him and his beliefs.
“We feel that we are being discriminated against because of our religious beliefs,” Graham said. “Cancelling venue contracts based on the demands of one very vocal group, without consideration for the views and rights of the Christians who contracted for the venue, including the views of thousands of other Christians who support it and who would be negatively impacted, does far more to harm and divide society than simply letting the events go on as planned.”
He also called it “wrong for venue managers and local officials to make a decision that disadvantages Christians,” as if all LGBTQ people are not Christian.
“The rub, I think, comes in whether God defines homosexuality as sin. The answer is yes,” he told his 8 million Facebook followers. “But God goes even further than that, to say that we are all sinners — myself included. The Bible says that every human being is guilty of sin and in need of forgiveness and cleansing. The penalty of sin is spiritual death — separation from God for eternity.”
“I invite everyone in the LGBTQ community to come and hear for yourselves the Gospel messages that I will be bringing from God’s Word, the Bible. You are absolutely welcome,” he claimed.
Written by David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement. Image via NCRM