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The cancellation of Franklin Graham’s tour events is a seminal moment for the UK

This is my latest column for Christian Today – you can read the original here. I am grateful to Christian Today for having the courage to print this.  For me this is a really key tipping point in the UK.  All those who love liberty, democracy and the freedom we have to proclaim the Gospel – must respond.  The time for being silent is over.  You can help by sharing this far and wide.The CT article is a follow up to this – The Brave New World of Patrick Harvie and the Tired Old World of Franklin Graham   _ It is incredible how quick this is moving.   Destiny Church in Edinburgh has been banned from using the Usher hall because of ‘objections received’.  This is a seminal moment.

The cancellation of Franklin Graham’s tour events is a seminal moment for the UK

Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham speaking at the World Summit in Defense of Christians.Facebook

This week, something of great significance has happened in the UK. Something that has implications far beyond its shores and that will affect the Church and Western democracy for years to come. Future historians will look back and see this incident as an indication of the decline of Western democracy and it’s replacement with an authoritarian ideology far removed from the liberal democracy birthed from Christianity.

We are not talking about the day that the UK finally left the EU – important though that is. No, this week an incident happened that at first sight seems trivial. Franklin Graham was first of all banned from the Liverpool ACC, then Sheffield and most chillingly of all, from the Glasgow SEC.

A seminal moment is when a new idea or concept is sowed and results in the growth of that concept in the future.

So why is the Graham ban a seminal moment?

It’s not a question of whether the Church should invite him or engage in this kind of stadium outreach. That is an in-house debate for the Church.

It’s not because the mob has got its victim. This is not the first time this happened and it won’t be the last. Twitter rage, online petitions and social media campaigns are effective weapons to have in such a dumbed down, irrational and unforgiving society.

It’s not because of the usual contradictory statements made by the various bodies refusing the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The formula is always the same – it’s against their values, not wanting division and representing all our society (except of course those who hold to the Christian, Islamic and Jewish view of marriage). The mantra of banning those you don’t agree with in the name of tolerance and diversity is now accepted as self-evidently reasonable by those who have given up on real tolerance and diversity – and logic.

It’s not because of the compliant clergy. Again, this is nothing new. The Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox, said in November: “Mr Graham’s rhetoric is repeatedly and unnecessarily inflammatory and in my opinion represents a risk to the social cohesion of our city.”

The Rev Bryan Kerr, a Church of Scotland minister in Lanark, said Graham’s views “do not sit comfortably with many Christians in Scotland”.

He said: “These views, and many more like them, are not shared by all Christians as Mr Graham would have people believe. Franklin Graham isn’t the voice of Christianity.”

Even more astonishingly, he then went on to organise a petition seeking to get Graham banned.

Tozer’s comment is as relevant now as it was when he made it 65 years ago:

“The church goes along with everything and stands against nothing – until she is convinced that it is the safe and popular thing to do; then she passes her courageous resolutions and issues her world-shaking manifestos – all in accord with the world’s newest venture – whatever it may be.”

Preaching the Gospel is Illegal?

All of the above has been all too common in the UK today – and in other Western countries and churches. The big difference this time – and one that has almost slipped by unnoticed – is the reason given by Glasgow City Council for it’s demand that Graham not be permitted to speak at the SEC (the Council is the major ‘stakeholder’).

Susan Aitken, the SNP Council leader stated that the Mission should not go ahead because it could be breaking the law. She stated that permitting Franklin Graham to speak at the SEC could “fundamentally breach the council’s statutory equalities duties.”

Some more equal than others

Let’s unpack the code language being used here. When Ms Aitken speaks about ‘equality’, she does not mean economic or financial equality. Last year, she defended Glasgow’s Lord Provost who had spent over £8,000 in two years on personal expenses for her civic duties – including 23 pairs of shoes. There are children in Glasgow who can’t afford shoes. No equality there.

Nor is she speaking about religious equality. One of the charges against Franklin Graham is that he has criticised Islam. Yet there are stand up comedians in Glasgow whose acts have a significant percentage of anti-Christian mockery. No equality there.

No, the issue here is that of the equality demanded by identitarian politics, those who claim victim status the most.

A Prophecy come true

When same-sex marriage was being debated several years ago, we warned that a time would come when it would be illegal to be opposed to it. The resultant ridicule and abuse was equal in its vehemence. Now Ms Aitken is saying that because of ‘equality’ someone who holds a view, which is (for the moment) still legal, they can be banned on the basis that it would be breaking the law to have him speak. Given that the Catholic church, the Church of England and most evangelical churches hold the view that sex outside marriage is wrong (and marriage is between a man and a woman), does this mean that the churches are against the law?

This is a new and sinister development. Law is now being made on the basis of which ‘victim’ group can claim priority. Would Glasgow City Council permit a billboard which stated “Woman = Adult Biological Female”? I doubt it – trans ‘rights’ trumps women’s rights. I doubt that our progressive politicians could even tell us what a woman is!

The New God

That is why all of this is so important. Many of our civic institutions have been taken over by an ideology which is fundamentally anti-democratic, anti-factual and intolerant – in the name of tolerance. The State, having replaced God, has become the source of all morality and values. If you don’t agree with those values you are not one of ‘the people’. You are untermenschen. You are out.

Destiny Banned

And don’t take false comfort that this is a one off. Once the mob gets a scent of blood, they always want more. So I’ve just read in The Times that Larry Stockstill, a Louisiana evangelist, has been banned from speaking at the Usher hall in Edinburgh this June.

Why? Because he described same-sex relationships as “deeply grievous” and abortion as “demonic”. He was coming to speak at an event arranged by Destiny Church (which The Times calls a ‘sect’). It’s interesting to note that the event was only cancelled after “complaints were received”. It seems a somewhat different standard to when some Christians complained about Jerry Springer!

It’s not just controversial American preachers who will get banned; it’s lesser mortals too. The Times in their report about the Edinburgh ban also stated “Gavin Calver, the chief executive of the UK Evangelical Alliance, was also due to speak. He refused to preach at a same-sex wedding.”

So now, if you refuse to preach at a same-sex wedding, you cannot use State premises? The implications of this are profound. If you are a church that actually believes the Bible and follows Jesus, the progressive mob will ensure that you are hounded out of any public premises. And it won’t end there. The Test Acts are back.  If you don’t hold to the State doctrine, you will not be allowed to hold public office.

‘Soft’  Persecution of the Church is now the UK State’s Position

Charities will lose their charitable status if they do not sign up to the discriminatory ‘equalities duties’. If you insist that your children should be taught biological reality rather than Queer theory fantasies, you could be charged with child neglect. Already governments in the UK are proposing that all children must be ‘educated’ into the current sexual philosophy with no opt outs permitted. Parents will be compelled to hand their children over for ‘re-education’ in the ‘right’ values. Christians will be barred from certain jobs. Will a day come when all preachers will need to be State certified? Will our sermons have to be approved to make sure they match ‘equalities’ criteria?

You say this is fanciful. If I had told you a few years ago that Billy Graham’s son would be banned from preaching at the Glasgow SEC because it could be breaking the law, you would have said the same thing. And yet here we are. It is a seminal moment.

What will the Church do?

What will the Church do to reverse the tide – and to stand up – not just for our own freedoms but also for all who are threatened by this new despotism?

I often hear clergy talking about being a voice for the voiceless. Those who have privileged positions within the State Establishment can now decide to speak up – or they can continue to play the game and protect their own status. Now is the time to see if they really are for the marginalised.

It’s not particularly the Church I worry about – we usually thrive under discrimination and persecution. It’s those who do not have the presence and comfort of Christ, or the community of his people that concern me. It’s those who do not have power, influence, money and woke status that will be left to the social engineering and the sneering mockery.

They came for the American evangelist, and I did not speak up because I am not an American evangelist. They came for Destiny Church and I did not speak up, because I am not a charismatic. They came for the street preacher and I did not speak up because I am not a street preacher. When they came for me, there was no left to speak up for me…

David Robertson is director of Third Space in Sydney and blogs at

PS.  As some readers of this blog will know I was critical of Destiny bringing Creflo Dollar – I have been accused of inconsistency and changing my stance.  To say that is to fall into the same dictatorial trap as the Progressives.  I don’t think it was wise to bring Creflo to Scotland – (to a lesser degree I don’t think it is helpful to bring Franklin) – but I support the right of Destiny to bring him (as I support my right to question it).  Destiny is a Christian church who I wish to see prosper in the Lord….but even if they were a cult or another religion I would support their right to free speech.  That’s what we should be fighting for.  The truth will always prevail against false ideas.  Why are the Progressives so afraid?  Because they know that in a free market place of ideas – where they don’t indoctrinate everyone or use the law to ban those who don’t accept their ‘values’- they have no case.   Reason, truth and facts are not their weapons.  Fear, emotion and prejudice are…..


  1. Excellent article that strikes you right between the eyes. You don’t have to be a visionary to realise that if this blatant anti-christian intolerance continues our Church premises will eventually become like those in the ‘Stan’ countries where Government registration of Churches is compulsory and in many cases impossible. Each and every Christian has to speak out and more. Our leadership must do leadership!

    1. Oh how right you are, WE MUST SPEAK OUT!!🔥🔥🔥
      I am a Christian & have love in my heart for all God’s children!!
      My life knowing Christ has made me into the person I am today &
      I am grateful to God for all His love & mercy!!🔥🔥
      Why is it that the World is frightened of THE TRUTH ???

  2. You have to ask why grotesquely violent films are tolerated and what would have been pornography 20 years ago is now mainstream TV and dark occultism is legal but a Gospel Rally might be offensive. Jesus has the words of eternal life and if people are allowed to hear them they might be saved and released from fear. The Screwtape letters were funny when I was a boy but they’re not so funny now. Are we ready to stand by our faith if this is a new era of persecution. I’m a widely unknown preacher and I admit to being scared but I’m sure the Lord is in the boat with us and is relaxed about the storm. Peters question whether Jesus cared about them was given an authoritative answer and in later life he wrote cast all your care upon him for he cares for you. I don’t think he would have predicted the answer he got. God will have a plan.

  3. Excellent piece. As a Glasgow pastor, I have already described January 29th 2020 as, for me, a Rosa Parks moment: the day evangelical Christianity was definitively ‘ordered off the bus’ by Glasgow City Council. I have also used your word, ‘seminal’, along with ‘watershed’ and ‘line-in-the-sand’ moment. Also the day Bible believing evangelicals in our country were called to greater unity than before by what is effectively a public declaration of war by the spiritual, ideological and political forces of Orwellian intolerance that have been gathering for this moment for some time now. All hammered home the following day, January 30th, by Edinburgh City Council’s purging of the Usher Hall. Far from a moment of division in the church, the true church now stands more united than ever, and in that unity may just be found the explosion of the Christian Gospel our nation so desperately needs.
    Alistair Matheson,
    Glasgow City Church

  4. Franklin Graham should be allowed to come as long as his views are challenged by Christians. I would allow Hitler to visit because otherwise how would we know what he thought and what he believed? The problem is that we are not allowed to disagree with the Bible which often makes it hard for Christians to think for ourselves.

    1. That’s absurd. Many people disagree with the bible – as do all of us at some point or other.

      I suspect what you really mean is that when you do disagree either the Word of God itself or some Christian sister or brother challenges you on the basis of scripture and that, discovering your thinking not to God’s liking as put forward in the Book, you seek respite from the conversation with God rather than to either clarify your own thinking or tell God you have no intention of following Him on this or that issue.

      You want God as “wing man,” as “buddy,” rather than as Lord and Teacher. It’s alright; we all do. Unfortunately, God refuses to be made in our image. We either walk into or away from the consequent conversation.

    2. Nathan, what do you mean, “not allowed”? Most of Scotland disagrees with the bible as do many ministers! Most Scots disagree with God! Of course that is the way to hell just as just like disagreeing that arsenic will kill you!

    3. Of course we don’t disagree with the Bible. How can we possibly call ourselves Christians if we don’t ???

  5. No Christians can live up to the standards of the Gospel. We all pick and choose what parts of the Bible we believe in though we should not. Franklin Graham is worth 10 million dollars and has a salary from Samaritan’s Purse of 600,000 dollars
    Has Graham not read Luke 3:11
    John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

    1. Chris – again you are missing the point. Its not what we think of Graham – but whether he should have freedom to speak or not. I reserve the right to be critical of him, but I defend his right to speak…don’t justify his banning…

      1. Nobody is stopping FGs freedom to speak. In fact it is his past free tongue that is now getting him into trouble.

        Some venues have denied a contract with him.

        Ironically he has worked to pretty well oppose all basic rights for LGBT people, including right to marry, right to adopt, right to stand for public office, right to serve in the military, right to free assembly. Etc.

        You can’t tell people who have been refused service for being gay that they should just “find another store” and then cry wolf when you yourself are refused service because of your past behaviour

      2. I’m intrigued that you say Graham does not think that gays have the right to stand for public office or to free assembly. Do you have any evidence of that?

        You also seem not to have grasped what is going on here. These are public state venues.

      3. One of the principal quotes that has led to him being rejected at all these venues is this one

        I very much appreciate that President Putin is protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda, If only to give them the opportunity to grow up and make a decision for themselves. Again, homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children.“

        In Russia LGBT people cannot easily hold events or meetings without them being broken up by police.

      4. One of the candidates running for president is gay. FG has repeatedly spoken against his candidacy, not disagreeing with his policy, character or behaviour, but disagreeing with his orientation – here is a quote

        “As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized.”

      5. Indeed – like adulterous etc. But where did he say that gay people should be excluded from office. He can say he wouldn’t vote for one as someone can say they wouldn’t vote for a Christian. That does not mean he think lather should be banned from running for public office. Be more careful in your language.

      6. I think public or semi – public venues are more likely to have standards of behaviour for people using their venues. These should be run for (all of) the people, including LGBT people, Muslims, Labour voters and any one else FG demonises.

      7. The venues seem to have given very brief statements about their reasoning and I cannot speak for them, but certainly I could see that celebrating violence against a minority group could break their codes of conduct.

      8. Would you like to give us specific examples of Franklin Graham ‘celebrating violence against minority groups’? Or did you just make that up?

      9. Clearly FG *doesnt* think that adulterous behavior means someone should not be allowed to run for public office since he campaigned and continues to campaign for Donald Trump who has developed an entire personal brand around what used to be called “womanising” and, most famously, was sleeping with a stripper whilst his (third) wife, a former nude model, was pregnant.

        This is part of the reason lots of people find FGs whole attitude problematic – he opposes perceived negative traits instead of negative behavior.

      10. I think it’s better to have rules that judge/protect from behaviours, rather than religious beliefs. I’m not a Muslim, but I agree with freedom of religion.

      11. But they are judging on the basis of beliefs…They allow comedians and others who have far more hateful attacks – but they ban someone because of their religious beliefs.

      12. Well I’m not sure how you know for sure that these venues are not making their decisions on FGs political activity and vile statements, which certainly to me seem to be more problematic than his beliefs. I would agree that it is perhaps difficult to completely distinguish the two.

    2. Chris, you shouldn’t judge people based on their salary. His Samaritan’s Purse sends 10 million shoeboxes to poor children in 36 countries every Christmas.

    3. Chris are you aware of what FG does with his money ? your sweeping condemnation of the man is not supported by any evidence, therefore it falls into the category of gossip and gossipers will not inherit the kingdom of God. You have personally criticised without evidence, better had you commented on something worthwhile.

  6. “The truth will always prevail against false ideas… they know that in a free market place of ideas – where they don’t indoctrinate everyone or use the law to ban those who don’t accept their ‘values’- they have no case.”

    Of course this is true for any group, “Progressives” or “Fundamentalists” alike that miss the mark – two sides of the same coin.

    The battle isn’t against the flesh but rulers and authorities in this dark world – religious and secular alike.

  7. So what are we going to do about it?

    We have been criticizing each other for years! There are all varieties of born again Christians – it is time we started standing up for each other over around the world!

    Maybe persecution is the only way the Lord has to bring us together as one.

    The Liberals have always had their own way!

    Where are the bold believers?
    It’s time for a Pentecost! Stop fighting amongst yourselves and start preaching the gospel.

    Don’t take no for an answer! Get out in the streets, preach the gospel of the churches, tell people about Jesus everywhere you go! If We were to do that iMessage wouldn’t seem so foreign to people. Even our “enemies” might come to know Christ!

    1. No – read the article again…and this time try thinking about it…and when you reply avoid the snarky, smug cynicism and try to be serious….

    2. That sounds like sour grapes. Have you any idea how much FG gives away and the enormous good he does in the world with that money?

  8. I remember when the Free Church of Scotland burnt down the cinema on Uist because it was showing Jesus Superstar, how times have changed!

    1. You remember when the Free Church of Scotland burnt down the cinema in Uist? Would you like to give us some evidence for this astonishing statement? How many people were jailed for this criminal act? Which Free Church was it? Or are you suffering from FMS?

      1. I found this in the NYT

        BUENOS AIRES, May 2—A Theater in which the Argentine version ‐ of the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” was to have opened tonight was set afire this morning by six armed men.

        The arsonists, wearing masks and waving guns, entered the Teatro Argentino here at o’clock rounded up some 25 maintenance workers and stage hands and hurled gasoline bombs throughout the, theater before fleeing.

        Firemen took two hours to bring the flames under control. There were no reported injuries, but spokesmen for the theater said “the damages to the premises were total,” and amounted to $800,000.

        Roman catholic laymen and clergy have attacked the rock musical.

        “As Catholics, we cannot accept that the figure of Christ be presented with self ‐ doubts about his divinity, or be exhibited in circumstances or attitudes lacking decorum,” the most Rev. Juan Carlos Aramburu said during an Easter mass here.

  9. In local newspaper today, opposition is being mounted by the usual suspects (Pride and LGBTI+) the and leader of the local Council, who is gay, I believe and said that FG didn’t meet local authority values.
    The privately owned venue owners are quoted as assessing the situation, to come to a measured decision.
    There is a Facebook quotation from this week, from FG which in summary says that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, but he’s coming to bring the love of God in Good news in Jesus for everyone, that we all are sinners in need of forgiveness and cleansing.
    And that all LGBTI+ are welcome.
    In addition: The newspaper article makes no mention of objections from a sizeable Muslim community ( not that this means that there aren’t any) nor does it mention any objections due to FG endorsement of Trump, or any political connections.

    Maybe, just maybe, US politics, is not relevant in the daily lives of locals. The local newspapers, rarely mention US politics.

  10. Am I the only one who sees a gaping inconsistency in criticising Ms Aitken for her defending the Lord Provost’s expenses, while defending an evangelist with a $10 million net worth, who takes an annual salary of $622,000 from a Christian charity (Samaritan’s Purse), and a further $258,000 from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association?

    Scripture tells us unequivocally that the sin of Sodom was actually their having plenty of pride, food and comfort but not providing for the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:49). Given the sickening amount of money that Franklin Graham makes, it seems likely that he’s more guilty of the sin of Sodom than homosexuals are!

    1. That’s because you are missing the point of the article and falling into the trap of the totalitarian progressives. This is not about whether you like Graham or not – or approve of his salary. (I think you need to take account of how many of the poor Samaritans purse help). But that is not the issue. The issue is whether he should have the freedom to preach in this country…and whether he should be banned because his opposition to SSM is now considered illegal..

  11. Reading all this, I had to remind myself that it is 2020 and not 1984, or for that matter 1933-1945 in Nazi Germany! I read somewhere that “the paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Karl Popper described it as the seemingly paradoxical idea that, “In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance.” “. D Carson’s ‘The Intolerance of Tolerance’ [and for the visual learn –
    ] is a must! The Christian Church herself must repent, viz. ‘think again’! I hope that Christian friends will not just pray, but at least share David’s contribution!

  12. When are we going to wake up and do something? This is not going to go away by itself. Let’s not fool ourselves – Satan is smart. To quote Orwell; “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”. This is what Satan wants and is working towards. Please, for the sake of the souls that will be lost to Hell, let‘s make a stand. I don’t want to stand before the Lord and be accused of doing nothing; of being too ashamed to say or do anything. Complacency can no longer be an option. How much longer before we are going to prison for our so called ‘hate speech’? How much longer do we have any freedom to share our faith with those around us? How much longer before ‘there is no one left to speak for me.’?
    And yet I fear that this will just be another stream of voices in the desert that will see nothing change.

  13. I have mixed feeling about this… I understand the free speech implications, but equally free speech has its limits.

    Some of Franklin Graham’s comments about muslims and homosexuals have, in my view, crossed the line into what could be considered hate speech. It’s not surprising that some venues won’t have him. And it’s deeply worrying that such words can come from the mouth of a Christian evangelist.

    1. Most things can be considered ‘hate speech’ by someone….it all depends which victim group is in fashion before it gets called such. But I would be interested in an actual example of Graham’s comments which you consider to be hate speech. I write as someone who regards some of his comments as daft – unwise – but hate?

    2. Franklin Graham is only telling you what God’s Word, the Bible, says about homosexuality. Romans chapter 1 tells us all about it. And any other religion that doesn’t have Jesus as their Savior, God’s Son, cannot enter Heaven’s gates. All Scripture points to Jesus Christ!

      1. I would say most British Christians would consider same sex sex a sin, but not being attracted to the same sex (which is how we normally define gay).

        Franklin Graham has gone way beyond simply saying it is a sin to have same sex sex or be gay, which is why there is a much bigger reaction against him than against, say, the CofEs statement last week condemning sex outside of marriage.

      2. And how many people have been protesting any of the bishops speaking engagements?

        Not that it matters, but they did not retract the statement. They apologised that it was hurtful and for the timing, but they stood by the wording.

  14. Lord let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of thy word and praising thy name….

    Without God nothing will flourish, the Glasgow motto is more needed now than it ever was, Lord for give us.

  15. (Comment with typos corrected)

    What hope do we have that Western governments will continue to value the principle that it’s important to allow people who disagree with you to promote their views?

    Within the church, false teachers “must be silenced” and we don’t allow the promotion of false teaching. In many other countries around the world, governments do not allow people to promote views that disagree with government policy. Even in the West, during the middle ages not only were people regarded as heretics removed from the church, they were also executed by the State.

    What happened in the West that led to free speech being seen as valuable? Was it one of the impacts of the Reformation or was it something that came out of the “Enlightenment”?

    As Christians, is freedom of speech something we should value and promote because God himself says this is important or has it just been something that we have valued because it seems to us to give good opportunities for preaching?

    Before freedom of speech was valued, how did the church respond when powerful people told Christians that what God says is good is actually evil and that what God says is evil is actually good? Did the church respond by saying, “Even if you think we are evil, you should still allow us to promote our views,” or did the church respond by addressing the arguments directly?

    If the valuing of freedom of speech arose because of more fundamental values that have now disappeared from the West, it may be too late now for us say, “Even if you think we are evil for opposing homosexual practice, you should still allow us to promote our views in public buildings.” Would a better strategy be for the church to devote time to writing thorough arguments explaining why homosexual practice is evil and training church members to be able to engage in this topic in one-to-one conversations? An objection to this approach may be raised on the grounds that we shouldn’t expect non-Christians to accept Christian morality but I think such an objection may flow from a misunderstanding of how irresistible grace and reasoned arguments interact God bringing people to trust in Christ.

  16. If churches can decide who can use their buildings (which they do), then why can the state not decide who uses their buildings. Maybe a church will offer to host Mr Graham? Why do they need such large venues anyway, is it a decision based on financial sustainability?

    1. I know I’m sounding like a broken record – but you are missing the point. The council is not a private club. To refuse to lease out public buildings to recognised charities or groups is discriminatory. But worse still it is the basis of that refusal – that it would be illegal to let them out. And of course there is the whole giving into the mob aspect. Hope that answers your question

      1. It would depend on why the booking was refused as to whether it was illegal discrimination or not.

        FG has made enough eyebrow raising statements that I would expect it would be pretty easy to convince a judge that he was denied because of his behaviour, not because of his faith. If these venues have hosted other Christian leaders and have a clear policy about who they will/will not host then that would make it even clearer.

        None of us can see inside each other’s heads, but I doubt deep down you really believe that he is facing this reaction because of his faith.

      2. How nice of you to share your omniscience with us! But I don’t appreciate being accused of dishonesty. Yes I really do believe that this is because of Graham’s faith. The reasons given are in the article.

      3. I’m not accusing you of dishonesty!

        I am suggesting that the specific problematic language he has used are not to do with his faith, per se.

        For example, I think you would agree that accusing gay people seeking to adopt of wanting to “recruit” rather than parent or suggesting that anyone who votes for a left wing party is going to hell have very little to do with the Christian Faith.

      4. Yes you are. I write something which you accused me of not really believing. That’s dishonesty. I know you want to excuse everything but the evidence is set before you. Why is the EA president being banned from Edinburgh? Because he refused to officiate at an SSM? Do you agree with the leader of Glasgow City Council that being opposed to homosexuality or Islam could be illegal?

      5. I’m not aware of Glasgow council politics because I don’t live in Glasgow.

        I believe that everyone should have a right to live, work and worship regardless of orientation, race or religion.

        I don’t believe that those who oppose Muslims or gay people’s right to life, right to work or right to worship should be protected from being discriminated against for their views.

        I wouldn’t go so far as to outlaw their views, but I do think there need to be sensible legal restrictions on actions and public speech – for example I do think it should be illegal to incite violence against Muslims or against gay people – there’s a big challenge there in determining exactly when speech becomes incitement to violence and when it does not! Clearly such laws are useless if they merely cover direct instructions, but where the exact line should be I do not know.

        I believe this because I believe that firstly treating others as you would like to be treated is a good rule for society and secondly because I believe the right to life is more important than “free” speech. In reality no speech is “free” – those with the least ability to advocate for themselves always pay the price – the gay teen convinced he should hate himself for being gay, the Muslim mum beaten up on her trip back from the shops.

    2. They use LARGE spaces to bring in “the lost” – those who would not normally enter a church – those who need to hear the Word of God.
      God draws them and the Holy Spirit touches them.

  17. David. This is one of most balanced posts I’ve read in a long time. I couldn’t agree more with all you have said. Hope your well. I’m grateful for your wisdom, courage and integrity. I pray that we as minsters in your home country have the same courage and exercise even a portion of the same wisdom as you have here.

    Bless you my friend.

  18. Why can’t Graham find existing religious spaces to deliver his schtick? There must be hundreds of empty churches round the country looking for a way to bring in new people. Some might even be cheered by the message that fellow citizens are ‘evil’. Who knows. But public institutions have rules and they must abide by them. Glasgow City and other authorities round the UK can’t just go flouting their obligations because a tiny minority with (admittedly, sincerely held) superstitions don’t like it.

    1. Michael – thanks for your post. It shows the ignorance, discrimination and prejudice we are up against. Public institutions do have rules (they are called laws) and they must abide by them – and that includes laws against religious discrimination. Franklin Graham is doing nothing illegal and his opinions, which may not be yours, are still (just) legal. The disturbing trend here is how people like you want to criminalise those who disagree with you. Your ignorance of the Christian message is no excuse for your prejudice and hatred. I would suggest you think about it..

  19. I did read the article written by Franklin Graham welcoming all to his meetings – it was a very good article but of course people don’t want to hear that they are sinners in need of salvation..

    1. Of course, people don’t want to admit they’re sinners. But they are! God has great news though. Jesus came to love the world and take our punishment for not measuring up to God’s standard! Yah! May Franklin Graham continue the Good News!

  20. 150 years ago (1867 to be precise) there was a court case called Cowan v Milbourn. It was an action for breach of a contract to let a room for lectures intended to show that the character of Christ is defective and his teaching misleading, and that the Bible is no more inspired than any other book. The Court said that the person who was refused the use of the room had no claim, as the lectures would have been illegal. Anyone who is interested can read the case at The decision was overruled by the House of Lords in 1917

  21. I don’t think it is true that the opposition to FG is based on his opposition to same sex sexual relationships (inc marriage).

    The Church of England and the RCC vocally opposes the same and yet there are not protests outside these churches every Sunday.

    His comments against gay people go way beyond that, eg suggesting the Russian governments brutal suppression of gay people is a good thing or suggesting that gay people who adopt are attempting to “recruit” or suggesting that legal recognition of same sex relationships is like a terrible terrorist attack. There is no “explain it away” that makes these statements anything more than hatemongering.

    I agree this is an important moment because it shows that the sort of deference for Church leaders that allows certain individuals to continue to abuse others unchallenged is going from the secular world.

    I think those in the church are taking a bit longer to catch on to the fact that just because someone says they are a Christian or a Graham means they are a nice person.

    FG is being turned down by these venues, not because he is a Christian or because he doesn’t agree with same sex marriage, but his behaviour fails to meet the *same* ethical Standards that they require of anyone who books their event spaces.

      1. I’m not a public venue and so I cannot speak for what their policies are. I should imagine they have some definition of hate speech which many of FGs statements against gay people, Muslims, left wing voters etc have broken.

        My point was that some Christians are defending him or feel personally attacked by this because they assume that he is a nice person who roughly shares their values because he is a Christian and a Graham. An analogy that springs to mind is Boris Johnson making Tommy Robinson Home Secretary on the basis that he voted Conservative.

        FWIW I realise that it isn’t fashionable for Christians to be nice these days – I would argue that the shouty authoritarian approach is putting more people off than winning souls!

      2. Out on interest, if someone came along (wanting to) spouting similar drivel to what dear old Adolf did , how would you feel about that?
        Would you feel public venues had a right to cancel or refuse such a person a platform?

      3. Given that Hitler advocated violence, genocide etc yes. If you are conflating Graham with the Nazis then you have fallen into the same silly trap as all those who assume that to disagree with them on anything is to be a Nazi!

      4. Maybe we can then agree that the views that you don’t share with FG are the same views/statements/political activity that have led these venues to decide they don’t want to be associated with him and not because of his faith?

      5. I don’t it. I think that Islam is wrong and that SSM is wrong and that all sexual acts outside marriage are wrong. That apparently is sufficient for me to be banned.

      6. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but I have to disagree most strongly that FG has had his bookings returned because he isn’t a Muslim or because he opposes same sex marriage.

        FWIW half the U.K. cabinet oppose same sex marriage and all bar one of them aren’t Muslim.

      7. Peter – I’m sorry but you’re done. I really don’t have time to respond to someone who keeps misrepresenting what is being said. Noone said that FG had his bookings returned because he isn’t a Muslim…

      8. Yes – thats true…but you do understand the difference between being a Muslim and disagreeing with Islam. Graham was not banned because he is not a Muslim..

  22. First, let’s be clear that evangelicalism is NOT Christianity. It is a far right religion of beliefs that are narrowly one sided and hypocritical from the teaching of the Bible. The people who call themselves evangelicals are extremists and they cherry pick scripture that aligns with their agenda and hatred, condemnation, and discrimination of selected sins that they view are more sinful than others. Their primarily focus on homosexuality and abortion and they spread a message of hate about these. They fail to recognize other “sins” that people commit, rather the sins of being gay or having an abortion. Evangelicals fail to cal out or condemn pastors/priests who are involved in sexual misconduct/rape/molestation of children, pastors who lie or commit fraud, adultery, incest, having children out of wedlock, spousal abuse, porn addiction, lying, stealing, etc. You NEVER hear Franklin Graham condemn these things on social media! Instead, he condemns homosexuality and planned parenthood as if these are the worst sins a person can commit and brings so much shame to them. He praises a president who is guilty of committing fraud, adultery, having children out of wedlock, cursing, lying, boasting about himself daily, bullying, making demeaning remarks about others, cheating on all three wives, bragging about getting women and paying them for sex, as well using the Lord’s name in vain at his rally last summer! Graham doesn’t call Trump out on these SINFUL acts, rather he praises him. Hypocritical?? YES!! So evangelicals like to cherry pick the sins that they wish to condemn publicly and Franklin has openly condemned liberal and the gay community.

    Second, let’s not forget that Franklin had no problem with the baker in Colorado for refusing to sell a cake to a gay couple. He supported a Christian business who refused to make wedding invitations for a gay couple in Arizona. Franklin was also vocal of his support to a florist in Washington who refused to make floral arrangements for a gay wedding. He praised all three of these people for not caving into liberals or as he likes to call “the gay agenda.” So now, Franklin has been banned from most of the venues in the UK and he made a statement yesterday that he is considering taking legal action against these venues for discrimination. Now isn’t this ironic that a man who celebrated the victories of discriminating against others is now feeling discriminated against?? It’s called karma. What goes around, comes around. You don’t get to cry religious persecution when you are in fact persecuting others. Franklin and other evangelicals can’t have it both ways. Kudos to the UK venues for standing up to this evangelical bully and fake Christian. And thank God that REAL Christians see Franklin for what he really is, the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    1. You seem to have both a misunderstanding of, and hatred for evangelicalism. I would suggest you engage in some wider reading – for example David Bebbington’s history of evangelicalism. Your gross caricature is, like all caricatures, with some degree of truth – but grossly exaggerated and distorted.

      Your second comment is not accurate. The venues concerned are public venues, paid for by the taxpayer. The equivalent would be if an LGBT nightclub refused to have Graham. That would be fair enough. But these venues had already agreed to have him – until the mob turned up. Likewise, if Graham banned LGBT people from coming to his meetings or advocated violence against them – then he would be guilty. The UK venues did not stand up to bullying – they gave into it. They had contracts and they cancelled them.

      The completely miss out on the main point of the article – that for the first time in the UK – a reason for refusing a Christian meeting was that it might be illegal to hold a meeting with someone who was opposed to SSM or Islam. Do you think that those who think that homosexuality is sin or that Islam is wrong should be banned?

      I’m sorry but someone who describes all evangelicals as ‘far right’ does not get to tell us who real Christians are!

      1. David,

        Do you have any evidence that he was only turned away for opposing SSM and believing Islam is wrong?

        I’m just asking because that is not the impression I have had from reading several different reports on this. My impression is that his contract was revoked after these venues reviewed his record of problematic statements against gay people, Muslims and others – as I have said elsewhere I think most British Christians would differentiate between gay people and same sex marriage/sex and would differentiate between ordinary Muslims and terrorist groups associated with Islam.

        I do agree that this is a dangerous step because it makes it easier/more likely these venues will cancel other faith leaders, but I think Christians have done it to themselves by drawing a blind eye to people like FG who have stepped beyond the gospel.

      2. I’m sorry but someone who describes all evangelicals as ‘far right’ does not get to tell us who real Christians are!

        In a few sentences, could you tell us who are real Christians?

      3. So, not you, then.

        Can you think of any particular sect or individual who claims to be Christian that adheres to your criteria?

      4. I think “mob campaign” is unhelpful language, when FG has promoted many such campaigns himself *against* equal treatment of Muslims and gay people.

        I was just wondering where specifically you got your information that FG was excluded simply for opposing SSM and/or not believing in Islam?

    2. I would think they are objecting to his hateful statements and political activities against Muslims, gay *people*, and other minorities.

      These venues are also employers. It’s likely they have at least one member of staff who falls into a category of person that FG has taken prejudice to.

      If he says or does anything that member of staff considers abusive then the venue would have no defence that it had taken reasonable steps to protect their staff from abuse because they had deliberately hosted someone they knew likely to carry out such behaviour

  23. David thank you for taking the time to post this article. I’m not surprised by some of the stupid replies that have been made, that seem to be the norm these days

  24. The free speech issue is a tough one, isn’t it?
    I seem to recall that some Young Earth Christian organisation were under investigation in the UK for distributing YEC material at certain schools a while back.
    I’m all for free speech, – a point you are always selective about when it comes to publishing comments – and while some folks would consider such YEC material as perfectly reasonable, cute dinosaurs coexisting with humans etc on a 6000 year old earth – others see it as an attempt to indoctrinate kids and regard it as child abuse.

    Personally, I think people like Graham are idiots and hypocrites of the first magnitude. However, I also think he should be allowed to speak his piece.

    It’s been a while since I’ve lived in the UK, but I suspect the majority of British people are not as credulous as their US counterparts when it comes to inflammatory religious rhetoric .
    Furthermore, letting him espouse his nonsense will be a good indicator of where the UK is
    religious wise and it will be amusing to see the reaction and in-fighting from the different sects of Christians and other religions in UK .
    Open the gates …. let the bloke come!
    I’ll make the popcorn.


  25. God gives us free choice.
    We have a choice which path to walk, Matthew 7-13.
    ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE. For wide is the gate & broad is the road that leads to destruction, & many enter through it . But small is the gate & narrow the road that leads to life, & only a few find it.
    God loves the sinner but not the sin & so do I. Look to Calvary & see God’s only son die for your sins & mine.
    Ask yourselves? ??? what has become of a confused , broken nation that listens to man instead of the voice of God. I am afraid the storm clouds are gathering . I would say give Franklin Graham a chance, you just might hear something that will give you answers, our youth of this nation deserve that opportunity to help them find the answer in their uncertain world, so do the elderly , the homeless etc , the list goes on , Christ offers hope, that is the message to our nation, Franklin Graham is God’s chosen vessel (& also accountable, as. we all are ) to bring to this nation a message that it so desperately needs to hear, and we also deserve the opportunity to make up our own mind. Our nation stands at the crossroads , what will it chose, the wrong choice will have serious consequences.
    Am I concerned about the future, definitely, scared ? oh yes , but with others I will stand up and be counted, knowing who holds my future in His hand. God’s promise “my love will not fail “ That’s what Christ is all about. Avril Mckenzie

  26. I see Larry Stockstill is next for the chop. It is reported in The Times that The Usher Hall have cancelled a conference booking by Destiny Church at which Stockstill is to be the speaker. Same reasons as FG.

  27. Council leader Susan Aitken told the Glasgow Times. she hoped the SEC could accept that “it would not be appropriate” for the event to go ahead.

    She said: “The reporting of the ways in which Mr Graham expresses his views makes clear that this is not simply about offence or disagreement. Neither is it a debate about free speech.

    “How he expresses his views could, I believe, fundamentally breach the council’s statutory equalities duties.”

  28. Thanks David, the expose’ couldn’t have expressed things more accurately. How comforting to know that there are 7000 who have not yet bowed the knee to Baal. A voice crying in the wilderness I’m afraid. The “mob” waited some years till the church was adequately divided to spring this action knowing that the church’s biggest enemy will be from within. Judy’s as the Table.

  29. As we approach the end times, we will observe (or be the victims of) more and more of the evil that is currently being restrained; the same seeping inexorably out in ever greater flows from the dead hearts of the devil’s human compatriots. A reckoning is coming, however. Soon.

  30. David, have just blogged (

    An evangelist to Europe who’s moving to Liverpool told me this morning that churches are suing the stadium for breach of contract in cancelling the Franklin Graham event.

    Also, that the simultaneous widespread cancellations point to well-organised opposition being behind them. Moreover, they’ve accomplished other cancellations on the grounds of what MIGHT BE SAID by a Christian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THEREFORE, there comes a time when CHRISTIANS MUST STAND AGAINST these strategies of satan and its stooges AS WELL AS STAND UP for freedom of speech. Otherwise, we dishonour our forebears who lost their lives fighting similar fascism and defending our now lost freedom! Also, failure to take a stand dishonours all those saved during Billy Graham missions to Great Britain.

    AS the enemy is well-organised, then why can’t Christians act? Muslims won’t tolerate it, so why should we? Have you signed the petition yet???

  31. I think the article overplays the current situation. Franklin Graham is not his father. (See this article for a good idea of what I mean:

    There are many Christians (particularly outside of the US) who are tired of having “big personalities” come to their town and claim to represent their religion. I think that is what is interesting about FG being refused these venues – there was a considerable amount of Christians who supported the move.

    Granted, the world is becoming increasingly hostile towards Christians – in the UK and elsewhere. But this is no special turning point. FG has a reputation for being a loose cannon and a less than ideal representative of the gospel. Many local churches (conservative, charismatic, liberal, whatever) feel like they will be better off without him…

    1. With respect John – I think you are missing the point of the article – which is not to defend Graham – but to look at the reasons given – most notably that to allow him would be illegal because of his opposition to homosexuality and Islam.

      1. Indeed, perhaps I should have read a bit more carefully.

        Though I still feel “seminal moment” and talk of a day for the history books is a tad hyperbolic. Such things have already become fairly commonplace in the western world (perhaps the UK has been the exception until now?), and, as such, are hardly surprising (not to detract from the wrongness of this particular situation, mind you).

        All that to say: Thank you for making me think about the situation and move past my antipathy towards FG to see what may be at stake for my spiritual family members in the UK.

        I’d be interested in your views on free speech and what if any legal limits should be placed on it. Perhaps you’ve got an article on that elsewhere on here, but I couldn’t seem to find one that was focused primarily on the issue…

  32. True, I was guilty of skimming. The headline got my fingers going. Sorry, I should have kept reading first…

    I’d be interested in hearing you views on free speech and what sort of limits, if any, should be put on it.

  33. And obviously the Rev Bryan Kerr’s views don’t sit well with God’s. But guess who will be the final judge?!

  34. Let anyone come to the U.K. and speak if they can attract a crowd. If they break the laws on ‘free speech’ arrest them. Wether one agrees on current free speech laws, people can take action to try and amend them.
    I’m all for religious ‘leaders’ and anyone else for that matter, raising their heads above the parapet, at least we get to see/ hear their beliefs and can choose to react accordingly.
    But all these appearances should be on private grounds.

    1. Why should all these appearances be on ‘private grounds’? Would you argue that all political events, entertainment events, sporting events, or academic events be on ‘private grounds’? Why should public spaces – for which we pay our taxes – exclude the religious and only be avaiable for atheist secularists?

  35. Satan is shifting GODS beautiful creation …GOD created man ….GOD created from man,woman ,He created…….
    Satan is running out of ideas ….so his last attempt is to masquerade GODS CREATION ,to defile it ,making it the opposite …….
    Evil will not stop however and most importantly GOD LOVES the SINNER
    GODS LOVE doesn’t go away …..
    HE was crucified ….
    Loving his creation back to HIM ❤️

  36. Is this a sign of the times ? Millions dead .. churches closed .. locust ..
    famine .. virus’ .. murder hornets .. terrorists .. political unrest .. fires
    in USA .. Amazon .. Australia .. protests .. persecution .. doors closed
    to the gospel ..

    FG’s cancellation of tour events .. is a mere bump in his road .. This is
    all very interesting .. unfortunate .. but other doors will open to him.
    CHASE Nanaimo BC Canada

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