LGBTQ activists in Britain have succeeded in barring Christian evangelist Franklin Graham from speaking in seven venues he had selected for his summer tour, claiming that his Bible-based views on homosexuality are bigoted and unwanted, reported LifeSiteNews.
Rev. Graham was scheduled to speak in eight U.K. cites for his summer Message of Hope tour: Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, and London. So far, city councils in seven of those cities have voted to bar Graham from the venues he had planned to hold his rallies. London apparently is still open.
Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes, as reported by LifeSiteNews, said, “Pastor Graham peddles controversial, repulsive views about LGBT people, which are in direct conflict with the values we hold dear in Newcastle."
“The vast number of individuals, organizations, and communities that supported my call for the show to be scrapped shows that Newcastle is a city that will not accept hate speech in any form,” said Forbes. “This is reflected in many other towns and cities across the country who have also stepped forward to cancel these shows.”
Forbes added that the people of Newcastle can now “come together and look forward to hosting U.K. Pride here this summer.”
In a Jan. 27 statement on Facebook, Rev. Graham said, " 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," said Graham. "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."
"In the UK as well as in the United States, we have religious freedom and freedom of speech," he said. "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."
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association reportedly is searching for alternative locations to hold its summer tour rallies.