This photo shows United States President Donald Trump with one of his fundamentalist right-wing religious supporters, the preacher Franklin Graham, son of preacher Billy Graham.
By Katharine Swindells in Britain:
MPs are trying to ban anti-gay preacher Franklin Graham from entering the country
10th December 2017, 3:50 PM
An invitation to evangelical preacher Franklin Graham to speak at an event in Blackpool has sparked huge backlash.
A number of MPs, including a [Conservative] government minister, are pushing the home secretary to refuse Graham UK entry.
They argue that his anti-gay and Islamophobic remarks constitute hate speech, breaking British law.
A petition against him being granted a visa has already collected over 6,500 signatures.
Graham, who spoke at Trump’s inauguration, has previously said that gay people are causing a “moral 9/11”.
He has also said that gay people are the enemy and should be thrown out of church, and that LGBT activists help ‘sexual predators and perverts’.
“As a Christian and as a leader of a church that particularly welcomes LGBT people, I’m horrified that other local churches are inviting someone with this record of hate speech,” Nina Parker, petition organiser and pastor at Liberty church in Blackpool, told the Guardian.
In addition to homophobia, Graham has called Islam “an evil and very wicked religion,” linking all Muslims to extremist groups such as ISIS.
Parker says there was an “enormous amount of protest from Christians in the north-west,” against Graham’s planned appearance at the Lancashire Festival of Hope, at Blackpool Winter Gardens next September.
Paul Maynard, Conservative Blackpool MP and a minister at the Department of Transport, has been among those calling on Amber Rudd to stop Graham’s entrance into the country.
Gordon Marsden, Labour MP for Blackpool South has joined him, saying Graham’s views are “incompatible with what Jesus said in the Bible”.
“I think frankly the evidence is piling up that his visit to the UK … would not be a good thing and not probably in my view a very Christian thing”, he told BBC Radio Lancashire.
Afzal Khan, a Labour MP who has worked for the Home Office on race relations and preventing extremism, expressed concerns to the Guardian about Graham sowing division.
“His views are not welcome, and I will make representation to the home secretary if it looks like he is intent on coming.”
The Blackpool festival is organised by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA), of which Franklin Graham is president and CEO and is being supported by a number of Anglican clergy and churches in the Blackpool area.
Blackpool vicars Andrew Sage and Tracy Charnock are calling on the bishop of Blackburn, Julian Henderson to condemn Graham’s views.
I have good relations with Muslims and gay people in my parish, and everyone is welcome at the church where I’m the parish priest”, Sage said.
“This is not in my name, and I’d like the bishop to distance himself from it.”
A Tory MP invited an Islamophobic extremist to Parliament. Anti-racism groups are outraged: here.
On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court denied a request to hear the case of a female security guard, Jameka Evans, who alleges employment discrimination because of her homosexuality. The high court’s refusal to hear the case leaves the ruling from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, against Evans, in place: here.
The outpouring of grief for evangelist Billy Graham is disturbing given his homophobic views. Far from being ‘an exemplar to generation upon generation’, Graham is an example of how religion is so often successfully leveraged as a means of making bigotry appear somehow acceptable, even something to aspire to: here.