Franklin Graham was blocked by gay rights groups in the UK who objected to his view of marriage, a union of one man and one woman for life. Graham was to begin an eight-stop tour of the UK in Glasgow, Scotland, in May that would conclude in London in October. By February 4–5 of this year, however, all eight venues had canceled their contracts with Graham.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has filed lawsuits against three of the venues, arguing the legally binding contracts were broken without justification. Graham stated, “This is ultimately about whether the Scottish Event Campus will discriminate against the religious beliefs of Christians,” Graham said. “More than 330 churches in the Glasgow area alone support this evangelistic outreach and their voices are being silenced.”
The venues have claimed that the tour would have a “divisive impact.” But the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association argued that in nearly 70 years of public evangelistic outreach ministry, there is no evidence whatsoever that any BGEA event involving Franklin Graham has ever caused a danger to public safety or incited public disorder.
The BGEA said the cancellations are “clear efforts to distance the decision-makers from BGEA, Franklin Graham and other Christians who hold similar beliefs. There is no question that this was done under pressure from those with opposing views who have demonstrated a relatively predictable pattern of harassment and bullying of those doing business with the BGEA.”
More than 2,000 churches in the UK have sided with Franklin Graham and are planning on hosting the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association-sponsored meetings. The UK has a long Christian history going back to before the Reformation. While some things have changed in recent years, those churches that refuse to be bullied are to be commended. The idea of outlawing a religion because you don’t agree with its beliefs that have molded Western culture and other parts of the world—the Christian religion—is ludicrous and shows the extent to which some people will go in venting their hostility against traditional marriage.