LIVERPOOL, England, January 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A leading American evangelist has responded to the cancellation of his appearance with a Gospel message.
The Rev. Franklin Graham, who was supposed to appear at the ACC Liverpool stadium on June 12 of this year, issued the following statement on social media yesterday:
A letter to the LGBTQ community in the UK —
It is said by some that I am coming to the UK to bring hateful speech to your community. This is just not true. I am coming to share the Gospel, which is the Good News that God loves the people of the UK, and that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us from our sins.
The rub, I think, comes in whether God defines homosexuality as sin. The answer is yes. 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.
That’s why Jesus Christ came. He became sin for us. He didn’t come to condemn the world, He came to save the world by giving His life on the Cross as a sacrifice for our sins. And if we’re willing to accept Him by faith and turn away from our sins, He will forgive us and give us new life — eternal life — in Him.
My message to all people is that they can be forgiven and they can have a right relationship with God. That’s Good News. That is the hope people on every continent around the world are searching for. In the UK as well as in the United States, we have religious freedom and freedom of speech. I’m not coming to the UK to speak against anybody, I’m coming to speak for everybody. The Gospel is inclusive. I’m not coming out of hate, I’m coming out of love.
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.
Graham, 67, the son of internationally renowned preacher Billy Graham, had planned an eight-city tour of the United Kingdom. However, his plans to appear at the ACC Liverpool stadium were overset after a group called the Liverpool Labour [Party] LGBT Network circulated a petition against his “platforming” and sent it to the Liverpool City Council. The group objected to Graham’s religious beliefs concerning homosexuality and said they feared that his appearance might “incite hateful mobilisation and risk the security of our LGBTQ+ community.”
The petition had garnered fewer than 500 signatures by the time this article went to print. It attracted the attention of newspaper Liverpool Echo, which also quoted the Liverpool Region Pride Foundation’s letter to the Liverpool City Council, Liverpool’s Mayor Joe Anderson, and the CEO of ACC Liverpool:
Graham is well known for their [sic] outspoken views about the LGBT+ community, including promoting hate of LGBT+ people as more important than education and openly supporting conversion [sic] therapy and the vicious attacks on our community in Russia amongst many other poisonous views.
On January 24, the ACC Liverpool stadium issued a press release saying Graham’s appearance there would no longer be “going ahead.”
“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 press release stated.
“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 organisers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled,” it continued.
“We are proud to represent all communities and will continue to move forward with our aim as a business to drive profile, major events and economic impact for Liverpool City Region.”
This is not the first time Franklin Graham has encountered the ire of British “cancel culture.” In 2018, over six thousand Britons, including some parliamentarians, signed a petition to bar the evangelical preacher from entrance to the U.K. They dubbed the Christian missionary a “hate preacher.” Bus advertisements for Graham’s “Festival of Hope” were banned. Nevertheless, on September 22 of that year, Graham appeared in the English seaside town of Blackpool, where he preached to a crowd of over 2,000 people.