Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the renowned Billy Graham, is moving to make the concellation of several UK appearances into a publicity moment that could bring in even larger audiences.
Graham is threatening legal action against eight British venues that cancelled his dates in May after protests from homosexual activists. The venues appear to hold sets of values that oppose Graham’s Christian message.
An outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, Graham describes homosexuality as a “sin” and says he does not oppose conversion therapy, in which people receive voluntary counseling to overcome homosexual desires.
The ACC Liverpool centre was the first to cancel one of his events, saying last month that his views were “incompatible” with their values. Sheffield Arena followed soon after.
Since then venues in Glasgow, Newcastle, Cardiff, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and London have jumped on the bandwagon.
Graham claims the venues have broken their contracts and are discriminating against him on the basis of religious beliefs. He is unrepentant on his views and even said that the Queen of England would agree with him.
Graham told the Guardian: “We had contracts signed and, in some cases, deposits paid. I haven’t broken any laws. We are being denied because of religious beliefs and our faith. It’s a freedom of religion issue and also a free speech issue.”
He told Premier Christian News: ‘I believe the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s the Church of England’s position. … I think Her Majesty the Queen, that’s her position and it’s the position of the Church, pretty much worldwide. This is what the Bible teaches and that’s what I believe.”
Graham says he is confident of securing alternate locations, some bigger than those that had canceled.
“We’ve certainly talked to other venues and many of them have indicated it wouldn’t be an issue with them. Some of the venues that we will probably book will be actually larger venues than we had previously,” he said.