Graham is Coming For A Speech, accused of spreading hate
A number of United Kingdom Members of Parliament, along with many individuals in civil British society have requested the UK home secretary to bar Franklin Graham from entering the country. Graham is a conservative evangelical Christian known for his vociferous opposition towards gays and Muslims. Critics are afraid his Islamophobic statements will lead to increased prejudice. It may also damage relations between faiths.
Requests against Graham’s visit have been pouring into the offices of the Bishop of Blackburn. Graham is scheduled to speak in Blackburn. Franklin Graham is the son of Billy Graham, the well-known evangelist made famous by media. Both the Grahams publicly support President Donald J. Trump.
The evangelist strongly supported Trump during the 2016 presidential election. He has repeatedly described Islam as a wicked and evil religion. He has equated the terrorist ideology of ISIS with the Islamic faith. Among his multiple instances of intolerance, he claimed former President Barack Obama was by birth a Muslim. The evangelical suggested that under Obama, the US Government was infiltrated at its highest level by the Muslim Brotherhood. Graham alleged that the then Obama administration had pushed a gay agenda, including lesbianism. The evangelist has also spoken diatribes against any rights of LGBTs, saying Satan supports same-sex marriages.
Graham is scheduled to give speeches at a number of British venues, including Winter Gardens at Blackburn. The venue itself has an illustrious history, playing host to music legends like The Beatles. Innumerable political party conferences were also held there, being invited by the local churches. The list of churches in the area includes Blackpool’s St. John Church, Layton’s St. Mark Church, and Bispham’s All Hallows Church. Many Anglican churches, however, has asked Julian Henderson, the bishop in charge of the area, to oppose the event. Henderson is a conservative evangelical.
The reason given by the many MP s who opposed Graham’s entry to the UK is that the comments made by the American contravene the existing British hate speech laws. A petition against granting him a visa has collected about 4,600 signatures. Paul Maynard, a Blackpool MP and a serving minister at Department of Transport, has sent a communique to Amber Rudd. The text of the letter warns the intended recipient that the visit by Graham is not desired. Another Blackpool MP, Gordon Marsden, has asked the home secretary to refuse the evangelical’s entry into US soil.