Franklin Graham begins legal proceedings against more venues over cancelled tour events

Franklin Graham(Photo: Facebook/Franklin Graham)

Franklin Graham has launched legal proceedings against more venues following the cancellation of his UK tour events. 

A spokesperson for the American evangelist said that claims have now been filed against the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield and ICC Wales. 

Legal proceedings were already underway against the Scottish Event Campus, owners of the Glasgow Hydro, after it cancelled his evangelistic event, which had been due to take place on May 30 - the first night of his UK tour. 

A court in Scotland last week asked the SEC to explain within seven days why it had cancelled the booking. But a report in the Scottish Herald on Friday said that the SEC intends to "resist" the request.

Christian Today contacted the SEC for further comment but was referred back to its original statement following the cancellation of Graham's event.

That statement reads: "The booking for this event was processed in the same way we would for any religious concert of this nature and as a business we remain impartial to the individual beliefs of both our clients and visitors.

"However, we are aware of the recent adverse publicity surrounding this tour and have reviewed this with our partners and ­stakeholders.

"Following a request from our principal shareholder the matter has been considered and a decision made that we should not host this event."

Graham's spokesperson said the evangelist was still hoping that his Glasgow event could take place at the Hydro as planned. 

"We have received a report that Scottish Event Campus Limited and Glasgow City Council intend to resist the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's request for judicial relief, and have been advised that they will have another seven days to file a substantive answer," the spokesperson said.

"We will continue trying to work toward a resolution that will allow the Graham Tour UK to be held at The SSE Hydro as planned."  

Graham is head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which has been overseeing preparations for his UK tour. 

Seven venues had been booked across the UK but they all pulled out after coming under pressure from LGBT campaigners because of Graham's traditional views on marriage and sexuality. 

In addition to the FlyDSA Arena, the Sheffield claim involves the city council and Sheffield City Trust. The case in Wales involves the Welsh government.

Graham's spokesperson said that the actions of the venues had "alarming" implications for free speech and religious freedom. 

"BGEA's position remains that in nearly 70 years of public evangelistic outreach ministry, there is no evidence whatsoever that any BGEA event involving Franklin Graham has ever caused a danger to public safety or incited public disorder," he said.

"The actions taken by these venues and those responsible for them to publicly repudiate these contracts are clear efforts to distance the decision-makers from BGEA, Franklin Graham and other Christians who hold similar beliefs.

"There is no question that this was done under pressure from those with opposing views who have demonstrated a relatively predictable pattern of harassment and bullying of those doing business with BGEA.

"This disregard for principles of good faith and fair dealing, based on the mere suggestion that a person's sincerely held religious views or statements are 'hateful' or would result in public disorder, should be very alarming to anyone who is genuinely concerned about diversity, inclusion and tolerance, let alone free speech and the free exercise of religious beliefs."