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Updated: UK venues cancel Franklin Graham crusades

Updated: UK venues cancel Franklin Graham crusades

February 6, 2020 update to this post added as an Addendum


Hoisted on his own petard, Franklin Graham’s eight-city UK crusade is shrinking. At least three venues canceled on him since he sought to exploit the Church of England’s statement on sex outside of heterosexual marriage.

Graham on Facebook soon after the Church of England issued a statement reaffirming sex is permissable only with heterosexual marriage:

The Church of England has publicly reaffirmed that marriage is between a man and woman—and that sex belongs only within…

Posted by Franklin Graham on Thursday, January 23, 2020

The mayor of Liverpool tweeted:

The City of Sheffield also cancelled Graham’s use of its arena.

And The Scotsman has US preacher could take legal action after Scottish venue axes event over homophobia concerns.

At https://grahamtouruk.billygraham.org/ , location is “TBA” in seven of the eight cities.

The Charlotte Observor in an editorial, Franklin Graham’s deceptive defense of bigotry:

It turns out Franklin Graham isn’t anti-LGBTQ after all. That’s what he said, at least, in the face of someone standing up to his Bible bullying in a big way last week…. In a response on Facebook, Graham said it’s all a big misunderstanding. He’s not coming to the UK to speak against anyone in particular. He’s against all sin — and that includes his own. “My message to all people is that they can be forgiven and they can have a right relationship with God,” he wrote.

Our Bibles say that Graham is right about all of us being sinners. But there’s a Sinai-sized hole in his suggestion that he’s an equal-opportunity sin-hater. Graham might say he’s “coming to speak for everybody” in the UK, but he has history of spending an awful lot of time talking about one community in particular. We know this because we counted.

In the last six months alone, Graham has singled out the LGBTQ community in at least 19 Facebook posts. He’s railed against the “LGBT agenda,” mocked gender identity, and frequently reminded folks that marriage should be between a man and a woman only. That’s far more time than he spent on sins like pride and lust — or the bigger ones like stealing or bearing false witness or coveting thy neighbor’s wife.

Thankfully, Graham’s selective pulpit pounding on homosexuality has become a relic as Americans have largely moved the opposite direction, and Graham’s status as a spokesman for Christians has been diluted by his laughable insistence to look the other way at Donald Trump’s immorality.



ADDENDUM:

CNN – Evangelist preacher Franklin Graham planned a seven-city UK tour. All seven venues have dropped him

[E]very venue booked by Graham as part of a lengthy summer tour of the UK has told him not to come.
An arena in Newcastle upon Tyne became the seventh and final venue to cancel his scheduled appearance on Wednesday. The move follows similar decisions by venues in other British cities, including Birmingham, Liverpool and Sheffield.
Graham … is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and an outspoken supporter of US President Donald Trump, whose election he believes was enabled by God. Graham has spoken at multiple rallies held by Trump.

Though his tour is currently without a venue, Graham has said he intends for it to continue and will make arrangements at alternative sites. “We are still finalising where the Graham Tour will be held, but we want to be clear that the initiative and all associated training courses will take place on the same dates as originally planned,” a statement on the BGEA’s website says.
“I believe marriage is between a man and woman,” he said. “That’s the same position that the Queen of England has, that the Church of England has.”
Graham, who was in London on Thursday (Feb. 6) to rally churches to his tour, said seven venues canceled their contracts with him and an eighth backed out after agreeing in principle.

“This attack on me is an attack on religious freedom and freedom of speech,” Graham told Religion News Service by phone. “For any Christian group that wants to rent a venue that believes the Bible is the Word of God, they’re in danger of being canceled.”

He said he would sue all seven sites where he signed contracts and expected to win.

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Cynthia Katsarelis

The UK, and Europe, have different sensibilities about "free speech." Hate speech makes some people less free, and they come at it from that angle. So there's a lot of American-sourced racist and homophobic speech that would be illegal there. In the wake of the recent Brexit, someone put up "English only" signs on each floor of their apartment building. This act was condemned by the head of the local police and the perpetrator can get arrested for it. Some of Franklin Graham's speech here in the US would be illegal there.

I don't know if the UK and Europe are less homophobic than the US. All I know is that when I'm over there, I feel a lot safer because being harassed would be a crime, and it would be taken seriously. I used to believe in rigorous free speech, accepting offensive speech to ensure free expression. I don't anymore. There is speech that drives people to despair, even taking their own lives. What's free about that? The fact that the United States allows speech that would be criminal there makes us look barbaric in their eyes. Some of the outrage at the Church of England is because they've gotten a legal pass on observing non-discrimination and similar laws. Thus, CoE is way out-of-sync with national sensibilities there. The Brits would think that it's bad enough that their "national church" gets to spew otherwise unlawful homophobia without importing more from the US.

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Simon Burris

The point about the frequency with which Franklin Graham is accurate in so far as the arithmetic is correct (I think), but I don't think that the numbers alone are enough to support the thesis that he is preaching from a "selective pulpit."

The obvious rejoinder to that thesis would be the observation that the question of LGB, etc. is salient, i.e., it's something that is getting talked about by all sorts of people all the time these days. It's a real issue under discussion (if shouting at each other counts as "discussion") by the population at large, whereas there does not seem to be much disagreement out there concerning the moral status of theft, murder, etc.

Exhibit A: Count how many posts on this blog have directly to do with the disagreement concerning LGB, etc., especially in the "News" area--for which, by the way, many thanks to our host!

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Cynthia Katsarelis

Wow. "whereas there does not seem to be much disagreement out there concerning the moral status of theft, murder, etc."

Um. Theft and murder are forbidden in the Ten Commandments, which says nothing about loving same-sex partners. Maybe there's a serious false equivalency going on?

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Kurt Hill

Franklin Graham is a fundamentalist fascist. His father, Billy, was bad enough consorting with the likes of the disgraced Richard Nixon. But Franklin is worse by far. These people must be opposed--crushed if necessary.

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Simon Burris

Gosh. Sort of a conversation stopper... Ummm...

Question: Am I included amongst those who must be "crushed if necessary"?

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Kurt Hill

If you are a fascist like Franklin Graham, my answer would be "Yes."

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Simon Burris

Given that you apply the term "fascist" in a way that seems to me rather broad and (perhaps) idiosyncratically; and given that you are confident in your identification of Billy Graham as a genuine fascist; I must conclude that there is a very good possibility that you would think the term applies to me, too. (After all, if Billy Graham is a fascist, and yet I refuse to label him as such, it must be the case that I am part of his "fascist team," right?)

So let's assume that I am a fascist. Or maybe just that I _could_ be a fascist--let's reserve judgment until such time as you feel that you have collected sufficient evident to make that determination.

Question 1: Is the "crushing" that you mention in your previous post an actual threat? To me? I mean, potentially?

Question 2: Am I right in understanding "crushing" to be a threat either (a) of physical violence, or (b) some kind of non-physical damage, e.g., "doxxing," or perhaps a more straightforward kind of intimidation. (Pardon me for the apparent wishy-washiness: I don't have as much experience with these issues as perhaps you do.)

Question 3: Since this is a Christian blog, I was wondering if you had any ideas of how, say, we could "crush" Franklin Graham in a a way that was especially conducive to the teachings of Jesus. Maybe you have some suggestions as to especially Christian methods of "pounding," or "slamming," or any other kind of physical (and/or non-physical) threats that Christ would use in this sort of situation.

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Kurt Hill

I didn't say that Billy Graham was "a genuine fascist," I said his idiot son Franklin was one. At least try to quote me accurately.

Much of the so-called “Christian” Right is unquestionably fascist. Many adhere to theologies such as “Christian” reconstructionism (for TULIP lovers); Roman Catholic Integralism,;Charismatic/Pentecostal Kingdom Now theology; New Apostolic Reformation, and like heresies. Do any of these describe your theology? If so, you are likely a “Christian” fascist.
You are in no danger from me unless you physically attack me or my comrades, sisters and brothers. I have been physically attacked by fascists on more than one occasion because I am a gay, or a Christian Anarchist, or a “Leftie” etc. I have the scars to prove it. On the other hand, those who have attacked me have the scars to prove that I am not a pacifist.

Your third question is the most insightful, and less rhetorical, of the lot. I have been working all my life as an activist to foster non-violent resistance to unjust authority. The Revolution will be as non-violent and peaceful as I and other activists can make it, so yes, I believe reaction can be crushed by other than physical means. Of course, it would help if the Church as a whole would get a backbone and denounce the “Christian” Right for the heretics that they are.

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Scott

While Billy Graham undoubtedly would have shared his son's fundamentalist understandings and belief in a closed revelation of God (once and done), Franklin has abandoned his father's attempt to at least appear neutral with regard to American politics. I once admired Billy; can't say the same for his son.

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Simon Burris

I don't think Billy Graham was "neutral with regard to American politics." Didn't he play a pretty active role in the 50s-60s civil rights movement?

Leaving the specific example of Billy Graham aside, are you sure that you believe that Christians should be politically neutral?

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