Evangelist Franklin Graham says the opposition to his United Kingdom tour is due to opposition to the gospel – and that those who have banned him are “truthophobic.”
Graham is scheduled to preach in eight United Kingdom cities between May 30 and Oct. 4 but doesn’t have a place to speak due to a series of cancellations. The arenas and convention centers that were set to host Graham dropped him under pressure from LGBT groups and activists.
At issue are Graham’s biblical positions on marriage and sexuality. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association says the tour will go on, despite him being banned from specific locations.
Graham, in a Facebook post Sunday, stood his ground.
“Opposition to the Gospel shouldn’t really surprise us,” he wrote. “Jesus warned that it would come. As you may know, my eight-city evangelistic tour across the UK has been met with resistance by LGBTQ activists who inaccurately claim that I am homophobic, Islamophobic, and say that I speak hate. Anyone who knows me or has heard me speak knows that this really isn’t true – but, I DO preach the TRUTH of the Gospel. Could it be, rather, that these folks are truthophobic or free-speech-ophobic?”
Graham embedded a video from Martyn Iles, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby. Iles defended Graham in the 10-minute clip.
“Martyn asks if society has become so ‘tolerant’ that it is now intolerant of mainstream Christianity,” Graham wrote. “Those in opposition are okay if their opinion divides, but they don’t want to hear anyone who disagrees with them. This is really a fight for truth, and the Gospel is what is really being ‘banned’ from these venues. It really boils down to the fact that they disagree with the message.”
Graham referenced a Facebook comment that read, “How is Christianity a hatred speech, when you’re trying to save people from HELL? I call it a love speech.” The person who made the comment is right, Graham said.
Iles, in the video, said the U.K. venues are guilty of discrimination.
“Discrimination is the act of saying, ‘You’re not welcome here. We’re going to ban you here.’ … People seem totally blind to this,” Iles said.
The problem, Iles said, “is they hate the message itself.”
“This is a fight for truth,” Iles concluded.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pool
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.