Franklin Graham has asked the Scottish Event Campus and Glasgow Sheriff Court to explain why his event was canceled at the venue, according to The Christian Post.
“This is ultimately about whether the Scottish Event Campus will discriminate against the religious beliefs of Christians,” Graham said. “More than 330 churches in the Glasgow area alone support this evangelistic outreach and their voices are being silenced. This case has wide-reaching ramifications for religious freedom and democracy in the U.K. and Europe.”
As previously reported by Christian Headlines, seven out of eight UK venues canceled The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Franklin Graham tour amid pressure from LGBT groups.
Tensions grew after a primary shareholder for the Glasgow City Council asked the venue to reconsider Graham’s event.
“We are aware of the recent adverse publicity surrounding this tour and have reviewed this with our partners and stakeholders,” said Susan Aitken, a Glasgow City Council leader.
“Following a request from our principal shareholder the matter has been considered and a decision made that we should not host this event.”
She later also commented, "How [Mr. Graham] expresses his views could, I believe, fundamentally breach the council’s statutory equalities duties.”
Activists pointed out Graham’s previous statements on homosexuality to validate the cancellations. In 2016, he accused LGBT people of “trying to cram down America’s throat the lie that homosexuality is OK.” The Glasgow Times also referenced Graham’s belief that anti-discrimination laws would mean that people’s “children, and grandchildren, will be at risk to sexual predators and perverts.”
Graham made the request in hopes of a discussion with the event venue’s leadership. He wants them to at least “meet with us and discuss options for a way forward. Let’s work towards a resolution.” Depending on the results of that meeting, Graham is considering legal action.
“… If we don’t stand up for the right to free speech and freedom of religion, there are lots of churches in this country that meet in public who are at risk. They could be kicked out, they could be forced to go somewhere else, just because of their faith,” he said. “We haven’t broken any laws and I think it’s important for the church that we resolve this matter so that it protects them.”
Nearly forty leaders from local churches also voiced their concern to the council in a letter.
“We reaffirm our love and respect for people of all sections of society, including those identifying as LGBTIQ, ethnic minorities and people of all faiths and none, and we strongly refute scandalous allegations of promotion of ‘hatred’ and ‘intolerance’ on the part of Rev Franklin Graham,” it read.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Mark Wallheiser/Stringer
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine.