Franklin Graham event in Sheffield to go ahead after Council backs down

Evangelist Franklin Graham will speak at an event in Sheffield next year after council officials who attempted to block it backed down.

Billy Graham’s son had been due to preach at Sheffield Arena in June 2020, but it was cancelled in January after LGBT activists objected to his mainstream Christian beliefs on marriage and sexuality.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) took legal action against Sheffield City Council and Sheffield City Trust for breach of contract. The Council has now backed down and agreed the event can go ahead next year, with a new date set for 25 May.

‘Alarming’

Prior to the settlement, the BGEA said there was no evidence that any event involving Mr Graham “has ever caused a danger to public safety or incited public disorder”.

It said the cancellation “was done under pressure from those with opposing views”.

It continued: “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.”

Blackpool Council

The settlement is among five separate legal actions taken by BGEA after other venues in Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham and Liverpool also cancelled bookings.

Franklin Graham, who is currently recovering from heart surgery, was due to preach at eight venues across Britain in summer 2020. Seven cancelled the gospel events because of opposition to his views on sexual ethics.

Earlier this year, the BGEA won a case against Blackpool Council, after the court ruled that it discriminated against Christians by banning bus adverts for the Lancashire Festival of Hope that Graham was set to speak at.

Judge Claire Evans of Manchester County Court ruled “overwhelmingly” in favour of Graham and the Lancashire Festival of Hope, stating that the Council’s actions in removing the adverts and taking sides against local Christians were “the antithesis of the manner in which a public authority should behave in a democracy”.

MegaphoneCourt blasts Blackpool Council for discriminating against ChristiansFranklin Graham attacked by council over biblical views on sexuality

Govt raises free speech concerns over Franklin Graham ‘no-platforming’

Cancelling Franklin Graham ‘antithetical to free speech’, say church leaders

Related Resources