Evangelist Franklin Graham has slammed rock singer Bruce Springsteen's decision to cancel a planned concert in North Carolina over a state law that bars transgender people from using bathrooms that don't correspond to their birth gender.
"Bruce Springsteen, a long-time gay rights activist, has cancelled his North Carolina concert. He says the N.C. law #HB2 to prevent men from being able to use women's restrooms and locker rooms is going 'backwards instead of forwards.' Well, to be honest, we need to go back! Back to God. Back to respecting and honoring His commands. Back to common sense," Graham wrote on his Facebook page.
"Mr. Springsteen, a nation embracing sin and bowing at the feet of godless secularism and political correctness is not progress," he added.
"I'm thankful North Carolina has Gov. Pat McCrory, and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, and legislators who put the safety of our women and children first! HB2 protects the safety and privacy of women and children and preserves the human rights of millions of faith-based citizens of this state."
The Washington Post reported on Friday that Springsteen and the E Street Band made the decision to cancel the show to stand in support of those protesting the bill.
"Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them," Springsteen said, explaining his decision.
"It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards."
The law in question was introduced in March by North Carolina lawmakers in order to override a civil rights ordinance passed in Charlotte to allow transgender people to use bathrooms of their choosing. McCrory signed the measure, stating that it is needed "to stop this breach of basic privacy and etiquette" in Charlotte.
Several businesses and organizations have said they are opposed to the law, however, including PayPal, which announced it is scrapping plans to open a facility in Charlotte in protest.
Graham, in turn, called PayPal "hypocrite of the year," pointing out that the online payment giant does business in 25 countries around the world where gay behavior is illegal and homosexuals are killed.
The president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association further said: "PayPal only agreed to come to Charlotte in the first place after holding out for millions in corporate incentives."
He added: "And under the current law that they are so strongly protesting, PayPal could have chosen their own corporate bathroom policies."
Other conservative groups, such as the Christian Action League of North Carolina, have also defended the law, and announced a rally on Monday in Raleigh in support of HB 2.
"The bill that passed and the one the governor signed, HB 2, overturned an egregious Charlotte ordinance and restored basic expectations of privacy people have when using the restroom. The bill also provides that private businesses can make their own decisions regarding accommodations and services and not be forced by a city ordinance to do certain things that could be detrimental to their business," said Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
"It's unfortunate this common sense measure has been so grossly misrepresented and maligned. The rally will seek to provide some clarity, as well as cheer our state's governor and lawmakers on."