Evangelist Franklin Graham is currently scheduled to speak throughout the UK this summer, but thanks to statements he’s made disparaging LGBTQ people, there’s one place he definitely won’t be going: ACC Liverpool has canceled the engagement due to his history of statements, which ACC representatives said in a statement are “incompatible with our values.”
“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 statement read. “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 organizers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled.”
“We are proud to represent all communities,” an ACC spokesperson said.
The BBC noted that Graham, who is the eldest son of the late Billy Graham, has said he considers same-sex marriage a “sin.”
A letter to the venue from a coalition of LGBTQ groups was more to the point:
Open letter from #Sheffield's #LGBT+ Communities to @Dgreymbe @SIV_Social calling for the cancellation of homophobic hate speaker Franklin Graham's tour @SheffieldArena #SheffieldAgainstHate pic.twitter.com/F0RqEUWsXo
— Heather Paterson (@heatherpaterson) January 16, 2020
“Franklin Graham has repeatedly publicly promoted his homophobic beliefs including, but not limited to, brandishing homosexuality a sin, claiming Satan was the architect of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, claiming gay people existing are causing a ‘moral 911,’ declared that gay people are ‘the enemy’ of civilization and advocates for the highly damaging abusive practice of gay conversion therapy.”
“We are currently seeing huge increases in hate crimes against LGBT+ communities and daily reports of violent assaults against LGBT people for simply existing. Providing a platform for such hateful ideologies is not simply a matter of freedom of speech or a difference of opinion but will directly cause harm and increase the risk, fear and violence that LGBT+ people already face.”
And Joe Anderson, Liverpool’s mayor, voiced his support for the decision in the tweet below.
Our City is a diverse City and proud of our LGBTQ+ community and always will be. We can not allow hatred and intolerance to go unchallenged by anyone including by religious groups or sects. It’s right we have banned from the M&S Arena Franklin Graham.#Love conquers hatred always
— Joe Anderson (@joeando58) January 26, 2020
Graham has also claimed that teaching LGBT history is “an affront to God” and that if public schools are going to do this parents “should keep their kids home.”
Featured image via screen grab/Fox News