Christian leaders in Vancouver are meeting to protest an upcoming rally by Franklin Graham, the controversial evangelist and Trump supporter.
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson met with Catholic, evangelical and other mainstream Protestant figures over concerns about Graham's visit after his provocative comments about Muslims, gay people, Democrats and atheists.
Graham recently defended his judgemental rhetoric by pointing to Jesus' harsh words. He justified calling transgender people 'weirdos' by saying: 'Jesus wasn't real loving sometimes. He called the Pharisees vipers, snakes, whitewashed tombs.'
The upcoming rally, which is expected to draw in more than 25,000 people from March 3-5, has divided Vancouver's Christian population.
Several evangelical clergy such as NormFunk, Wayne Lo, Sandro DiSabatino, Daniel Chung, David Koop, Cheryl Koop, Darin Latham and Yani Lim continue to promote the event.
But several also met with city rulers to voice their concerns over Graham's divisive rhetoric.
'The mayor is concerned about safety. The kind of statements Graham makes about Muslims and gays can really inflame the situation,' said city councillor Tim Stevenson, who coordinated the meeting and is also the first openly homosexual person ordained by the United Church of Canada.
As many as 14 Christian leaders attended the meeting on February 10 including the Catholic Archbishop Michael Miller, Regent College academic dean Paul Spilsbury, Richard Topping, president of Vancouver School of Theology, Jonathan Bird, president of the evangelical organization City Gate Leadership Forum and Peter Elliot, Dean of Christ Church (Anglican) Cathedral.
The others wanted to remain anonymous and similar privacy concerns surround a petition sent around many clergy calling for the event to find a replacement for Graham.
'Franklin Graham's recent public comments compromise Jesus's mission of justice and love for all,' the petition reads. 'For instance, he has said that all Muslims should be banned from the United States because Islam is a 'very evil and wicked religion' at war with the Christian West.
'He dehumanises the LGBTQ+ community, urging that gays not be allowed to enter churches or even come as guests into Christian homes.'