Franklin Graham is set to speak at two of the venues which previously shut down his evangelistic rallies.
In 2020, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) took legal action against five venues for breach of contract and discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, after its gospel events were cancelled because of CEO Franklin Graham’s mainstream Christian beliefs on marriage and sexuality.
Following successful legal actions, the US evangelist is set to visit Glasgow’s OVO Hydro and Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena in June 2024 as part of his God Loves You tour.
Graham stated: “I am grateful to God for the many churches that have stood alongside us and continued to pray for this renewed opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ”.
Speaking to Premier Christian News, he explained: “The church can be bold and stand up and preach the truth”, adding “we cannot allow just a few people to shut us down because they disagree”.
Reuben Morley, the tour’s director, said that treating the venues with “respect and honour” during the legal action also enabled them to “see our Christian character through that”.
Last week, 10,000 people gathered at London’s ExCel centre for a God Loves You event where the BGEA reported that a thousand made a decision to follow Christ.
In 2022, the BGEA was awarded £97,325.32 in damages over the axed event in Glasgow.
A Glasgow Sheriff Court found that the Scottish Event Campus Ltd (SEC), which operates OVO Hydro, directly discriminated against the BGEA by treating it “less favourably than it would have treated others because of a protected characteristic, namely, the religious or philosophical beliefs of the [BGEA] and Franklin Graham”.
Sheriff John McCormick stated that the SEC had “acted under pressure” from Glasgow City Council, its principal shareholder, to cancel the event.