There is reportedly a growing chorus of people who are urging the U.K. government to prevent evangelist Franklin Graham from entry when he heads to England next year to take part in a Christian festival his organization is running.
The protest has even reportedly attracted support from members of parliament who have asked Home Secretary Amber Rudd not to grant Graham a visa on the basis of his past proclamations about homosexuality and Islam, the Guardian reported.
A Change.org petition titled, “Stop Hate Speech Preacher Franklin Graham’s Visa to UK” has already garnered nearly 6,000 signatures. It was organized by a pastor named Nina Parker who is accusing Graham of engaging “in hate speech against minorities.” She said that she is “horrified” that other Christian churches would invite Graham in to speak.
Here’s a sampling of what’s inside the petition:
Franklin Graham has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is right” in his crackdown against LGBT rights in his country where gay people are subject to severe human rights abuses. Atrocities and executions of gay people continue to go on in the Russian republic of Chechnya with no intervention from the Russian authorities.
Franklin Graham has stated that gay children and gay people are dangerous and should not be allowed into churches or Christian homes.
Franklin Graham supports a ban on all Muslims from entering the United States4 while advocating that Muslims already in living in the United States should be interned in concentration camps.
Graham, who oft-times offers his candid assessment on the issues, also sparked controversy in the 2016 presidential election for making favorable comments of now-President Donald Trump as well.
As Faithwire previously reported, Graham believes God possibly allowed Trump to win to help protect America, telling Religion News Service his take on the matter after it was announced that Graham will take part in the Jan. 20 inauguration.
“I think maybe God has allowed Donald Trump to win this election to protect this nation for the next few years by giving maybe an opportunity to have some good judges,” Graham told the outlet.
Critics have said that Graham’s comments on some issues might have actually violated hate speech laws in the U.K. Among those who believe this is Gordon Marsden, a member of parliament who is urging the government to block Graham from entry.
“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 the BBC, adding that the evangelist’s proclamations are, in his view, “incompatible with what Jesus said in the Bible.”
It will be interesting to see where the debate goes next, but a representative from The Billy Graham Evangelist Association responded by saying that next year’s Christian festival will be a positive and uplifting event that points people toward the gospel.