Freedom of speech under attack by the merchants of hate

By February 6, 2020February 18th, 2021No Comments


Dear Marriage supporter

Franklin Graham, evangelist son of the late Billy Graham, has had confirmed venues for his UK tour pull out because he has called homosexual ‘marriage’ “a sin”.

Liverpool ACC, Glasgow Hydro, Arena Birmingham, Sheffield Arena, Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, Utilita Arena in Newcastle and ICC Wales in Cardiff have all cancelled events in the American preacher’s eight-city summer 2020 UK tour.

Leader of Glasgow City Council Susan Aitken said the event could “fundamentally breach the council’s statutory equalities duties” and thus break the law.

Similarly, the leader of Sheffield City Council, Julie Dore, said Mr Graham’s “discriminatory and repulsive views, could affect the long-established values that we all hold so dear in Sheffield”. The chairman of Sheffield City Trust, David Grey, which operates the Arena, said the event had to be pulled because Mr Graham does not promote “equality and freedom from hatred and abuse”.

The decision followed an open letter from ‘Sheffield’s LGBT+ Communities’ stating that Franklin Graham’s “homophobic beliefs” “far exceed freedom of speech and are direct hate speech and incitement to violence against LGBT+ communities and individuals which should not be welcomed in our city, or anywhere else”.

Mr Graham said he had not been given a clear reason for the cancellation and sounded a warning for freedom of speech: “If they oppose me, who’s next? Who are they going to silence?”

The latest eruption of cancel culture – in which defenders of traditional marriage and other unfashionable views are ‘no platformed’ – came in the same week that the Church of England issued a statement reaffirming its belief in traditional marriage. Does this mean that the Church of England’s stance conflicts with ‘statutory equalities duties’?

These are challenging times for supporters of traditional marriage. C4M is needed now more than ever. Clearly there are those who believe that no disagreement with same-sex ‘marriage’ is acceptable. In crushing dissent they are deluded into thinking the law is on their side. But the Ashers Baking Company and Felix Ngole cases show that they couldn’t be more wrong. Just because same-sex ‘marriage’ is legal doesn’t mean everybody has to agree with it.

Yours Faithfully

Colin Hart
Coalition for Marriage (C4M)