LONDON, England, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – British parliamentarians along with over 6,000 people have signed an online petition to ban world-famous American evangelist Franklin Graham from entry into the country because they say he has used “hate speech” against “Muslims and LGBT people.”
Graham is scheduled to speak in the U.K., in Blackpool, Sept. 2018.
The evangelist has taken a strong Biblical stance against homosexuality, calling it “a sin” and warning those engaging in homosexual acts about the judgment of God. He has called Christians to boycott businesses that promote the LGBT agenda. He criticized Disney earlier this year for its remake of Beauty and the Beast that promotes homosexuality. “They’re trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children,” he said. “Watch out!”
The evangelists has also been an outspoken champion of the right to life of the preborn. He said earlier this year that fundraising for Planned Parenthood “is like raising money to fund a Nazi death camp.” He has also not shied away from pointing out how Islam is antithetical to Christianity.
A Change.org petition accuses Graham of harboring hatred for Muslims and people with same-sex attraction.
“Unlike his father, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham engages in outspoken bigotry targeting refugees, Muslims and LGBT people. His father promoted unity and respect in communities but Franklin Graham’s extreme views promote prejudice and division,” the petition states.
Gordon Marsen of Blackpool and Afzhal Khan of Manchester Gordon are among the MPs who want Graham barred.
The movement to ban Franklin Graham from British shores contrasts sharply with the welcome his father Billy Graham received when he arrived in the UK in 1954. Between 1.5 and 2 million people in total turned out to the mass gatherings of the elder Graham’s “London Crusade.”
News of the petition against Graham comes as the British government refuses to answer whether proclaiming the Christian faith in public could be a “hate crime.”
During a Question Period in the House of Lords regarding hate crime prosecution, Lord Pearson of Rannock asked the government to confirm that a Christian who states that “Jesus is the only Son of the one true God” cannot be arrested for it. Baroness Vere, representing the government, refused to comment.
“My Lords, will the Government confirm that the latest definition from the [Criminal Prosecution Service] of a hate crime is one which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by prejudice based on a person’s religion? Will the Government therefore confirm unequivocally that a Christian who says that Jesus is the only Son of the one true God cannot be arrested for hate crime or any other offence, however much it may offend a Muslim or anyone of any other religion?”
Baroness Vere replied, “I am not going to comment on that last question from the noble Lord. However, I will say that when the public statements were revised, the definition did not change; it has been the same for the last 10 years.”
Lord Pearson told Premier Christianity that this refusal to answer his question — unprecedented, in his experience — worried him. He suggested that religious freedom in the UK is being eroded by “hate crime” legislation, and that this is being done to please Muslims.
What constitutes a hate crime in the United Kingdom is unclear and is largely based on the extent to which the feelings of the injured party have been hurt, Pearson maintains.
“I want the government to answer. We’ve got to have it clarified. The stricter Muslims do feel offended by Christianity and our belief in Jesus being the only Son of the one true God.”
He said there are “quite a few” stories in which Christian festivals or traditions are canceled or diminished for fear of offending people of other religions, “and of course by that one means particularly the Muslims,” he said.
Pearson draws the line at personal attacks, e.g. saying “You’re an idiotic Muslim” to an individual, but believes people should be able to criticize a religion and to proclaim their own without the law getting involved.
“I would have thought free speech trumps it, and I’m afraid at the moment free speech is on the retreat in this country particularly from a wish to appease Islam. There’s no other way of putting it,” he said.