Banning US preacher Franklin Graham may be ‘unlawful’ discrimination: UK House leader
WESTMINSTER, London, England, February 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― UK venues that dropped American missionary Franklin Graham over his Bible-based teachings on sexuality may have engaged in “unlawful” discrimination, the Leader of the British House of Commons warned.
Last Thursday Jacob Rees-Mogg, 50, responded to a question from fellow Conservative Party Member of Parliament Fiona Bruce, who had objected to the cancellation of venue reservations for the Rev. Franklin Graham’s tour of the United Kingdom. Graham had planned to visit eight British cities this year, but all of the venues with which he had signed contracts have reneged on their agreement.
“No-platforming is a particularly disagreeable modern trend,” said Rees-Mogg.
"And although venues are allowed to take their own decisions about whether or not to host Franklin Graham during his upcoming visit, like all service providers, they must be careful not to discriminate unlawfully on grounds of religion and belief,” he warned.
"The UK has robust protections for freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and the price of living in a free, plural society is tolerating views and beliefs we disagree with or are even offended by,” he continued.
"And this is fundamentally important. It is a sad truth that many people who tout themselves as being liberal are only liberal about what they like and are very intolerant of the views they disagree with," he added.
In her February 13 question to the government, Scottish MP Fiona Bruce, 62, referred to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Christmas message of solidarity with Christians throughout the world.
“The Prime Minister said in his Christmas message, ‘We stand with Christians everywhere, in solidarity, and will defend your right to practise your faith’,” Bruce said.
“Plainly that was meant to include the UK, so may we have a statement on whether we can really call ourselves a tolerant, inclusive and diverse society that respects freedom of speech, whatever one’s religious or beliefs, if we deny the Billy Graham Association a platform in this country?”
In an interview with the UK’s Premier Christian News, Franklin Graham, son of the late global evangelist Billy Graham, stressed that his tour had not been cancelled. The tour will begin in Scotland in late May.
Graham agreed that opposition to his appearances in the UK have “stepped up” since his last visit, but said that there is a “real misunderstanding” about his work.
“We’re not here to preach against anyone,” Graham said. “We’re here to tell everyone how they can have their sins forgiven, and how they can have a relationship with God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.”
“We don’t preach against any person or any sin. We preach against all sins.”
Graham noted that his opponents are “very good” at calling people names. This did not stop him, however, from defining marriage to his interviewer according to Christian teaching.
“I believe the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.
“And the Church of England...that’s their position. [...] It’s pretty much the position of the Church worldwide. This is what the Bible teaches.”
Graham said that he is not going to be preaching against homosexuals or Muslims. In fact, he wants homosexuals and Muslims to come to his appearances.
“We want all people to come,” he said. “Our message is for everybody and it’s not against anybody.”
“I care enough about gay people just to tell them the truth,” Graham added. “I’m not going to lie to them. I want them to know that God sees homosexuality as sin. Adultery is sin. Stealing is sin. Pride is a sin. And all of us have to repent and turn from our sins.”
“But I don’t hate the guys that are liars. I don’t hate the women and men who are adulterers. I don’t hate them. But I want them to know that they can be saved, that they can be forgiven.”
Regarding the cancellations of the venues, Graham said that he had never experienced anything like this before, but that it does not concern him.
“It’s a little bit of a headache,” he said, adding that hundreds of churches had been part of the earlier planning. However, he and his group have spoken to other venues. Graham thinks that some of the venues he will eventually book will be bigger than the others.
Graham plans to appear in eight British cities this year: Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, and London. But in the past few weeks, LGBT activists, including elected representatives in local (municipal) governments, have succeeded in getting the Christian preacher barred from all his planned British venues.
However, there has been some pushback from Britons annoyed that elected officials have joined in Graham’s deplatforming. The Scottish Family Party organized a demonstration outside Glasgow City Chambers this past Saturday. Richard Lucas, the founder of the SFP, addressed around 100 protestors in the pouring rain.
“When Glasgow City Council made their decision [to pressure SEC Hydro to drop Graham], they weren’t expecting this,” Lucas told the crowd.