Christian evangelist and hate-preacher Franklin Graham was scheduled to speak in Liverpool this summer as part of a longer UK tour, but that stop won’t be happening anymore. The venue where he was speaking, ACC Liverpool, announced that he would no longer be welcome. They cited Graham’s history of statements which are “incompatible with our values.”
The Graham Tour UK event which was originally planned to take place at ACC Liverpool in June 2020 will no longer be going ahead.
Please find full statement here:https://t.co/pwXwzf6S6c
— ACC Liverpool (@ACCLiverpool) January 26, 2020
Over the past few days we have been made aware of a number of statements which we consider to be incompatible with our values.
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 organisers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled.
The BBC offers a hint of what they’re talking about by noting that Graham says gay marriage is a “sin,” but a letter to the venue from a coalition of LGBTQ groups was more explicit:
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, branding homosexuality a “sin’, claiming Satan was the architect of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, claiming gay people existing are causing a “moral 9/11”, 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.
That’s not just a condemnation of Graham. It’s a condemnation of right-wing evangelical Christianity.
Even the Liverpool mayor tweeted that this was the right move.
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 (@mayor_anderson) January 26, 2020
Graham, of course, maintains that his motives are not rooted in hate but rather in sharing the news of a God who “loves” everyone. That message is even harder to take seriously every time Graham endorses each and every action of Donald Trump no matter how many people suffer as a result.
To be clear, Graham can always find another venue. He’s not banned from the city. But Graham, being Graham, will most likely use this as a springboard to pretend like he’s being persecuted for being Christian. (That’s a lie.) Much like his compatriot in hate Steven Anderson (who has been banned from speaking in several countries), Graham believes there should be no consequences for what he says as long as he uses Christianity as a shield.
At least in this case, people in Liverpool saw through that flimsy excuse.