Graham acknowledged he believes homosexuality is a sin, but pointed out that he himself is a sinner and that Jesus died for all sins, no matter what they are: “My message to all people is that they can be forgiven and they can have a right relationship with God. That’s Good News.” Graham observed that the U.K. and the U.S. both promote freedom of speech and freedom of religion and maintained, “I’m not coming to the UK to speak against anybody, I’m coming to speak for everybody. The Gospel is inclusive.”
He concluded, “I invite everyone in the LGBTQ community to come and hear for yourselves the Gospel messages that I will be bringing from God’s Word, the Bible. You are absolutely welcome.”
Ongoing Opposition to the Franklin Graham Tour
The protests against the Franklin Graham tour continue, as in this tweet of an open letter calling for the cancellation of his event in Sheffield:
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
According to Newsweek, Graham was interested in speaking at a London venue called O2, although he never booked it. In the wake of a petition (which at least 8,500 signed) from the LGBTQ rights group, All Out, O2 has made it clear they will not be hosting Graham.
This is not the first time Franklin Graham has faced opposition from LGBTQ advocates in the U.K. In 2018, a transport company pulled advertisements for his crusade in Blackpool, and the group Blackpool Pride protested Graham’s appearance there.
But despite the current opposition to the U.K. Franklin Graham tour, the BGEA says, “media reports aren’t dampening the enthusiasm of Jesus followers throughout the island nation in northwestern Europe.” Robert Chilvers, the BGEA’s director of training and church ministry in the U.K., said, “He’s coming with a message of hope that transforms lives when nothing else can. That needs to be heard, and that’s what will be the central message that we proclaim.”