Evangelist Franklin Graham released a statement Monday after an entertainment venue in the United Kingdom canceled his event due to objections over his views.
Graham rejected the claim that he was “coming to the UK to bring hateful speech to your community.”
“This is just not true. I am coming to share the Gospel, which is the Good News that God loves the people of the UK, and that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us from our sins,” he stated.
“The rub, I think, comes in whether God defines homosexuality as sin. The answer is yes. But God goes even further than that, to say that we are all sinners—myself included.”
The ACC Liverpool Group, based in Liverpool, announced last Friday that they were no longer going to hold the Graham Tour UK event as previously planned.
“Over the past few days we have been made aware of a number of statements which we consider to be incompatible with our values,” stated the venue.
“In light of this we can no longer reconcile the balance between freedom of speech and the divisive impact this event is having in our city. We have informed the organisers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled.”
The venue went on to claim that they “are proud to represent all communities and will continue to move forward with our aim as a business to drive profile, major events and economic impact for Liverpool City Region.”
Objections to Graham’s tour appear to come from British LGBT activists and individuals.
In his response, Graham invited “everyone in the LGBTQ community to come and hear for yourselves the Gospel messages that I will be bringing from God’s Word, the Bible.”
“My message to all people is that they can be forgiven and they can have a right relationship with God. That’s Good News. That is the hope people on every continent around the world are searching for,” he said.
“I’m not coming to the UK to speak against anybody, I’m coming to speak for everybody. The Gospel is inclusive. I'm not coming out of hate, I'm coming out of love.”
Last September, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which Graham oversees as president, announced an eight-city tour of the United Kingdom scheduled to begin in May.
In addition to Liverpool, the British cities listed for the tour included Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, London, Milton Keynes, Newcastle and Sheffield.
Earlier this month, LGBT leaders sent an open letter to the Sheffield City Trust demanding that they drop the Graham tour event, scheduled to take place at their venue, the Sheffield Arena.
In response, the Trust explained that while they do not support Graham’s views, they do support the evangelist’s freedom to express his opinions.
“… if individuals or groups aren't breaking the law then their right to speak freely should be respected,” stated David Grey, chairman of the trust, as reported by the British Broadcasting Corporation.