Evangelist Franklin Graham certainly fits the criteria for leftist outrage target. Not only has he notably defended President Trump, Graham also believes the Bible and wants to share it with the world.
It’s no surprise, then, that Graham has once again fallen victim to the intolerance of a leftist horde well-versed in silencing any voice with which they disagree. This time, it’s Britain’s Liverpool Labour LGBT Network leading the charge by pressuring its city’s local government to cancel Graham’s upcoming speaking engagement. Terrified of straying out of favor with those who can summon placards and protest, Liverpool’s ACC conference center duly agreed to pull the plug.
“Over the past few days we have been made aware of a number of statements which we consider to be incompatible with our values,” the conference center said, presumably after being presented with a quote from Graham on Islam or being informed of his opposition to homosexual acts. “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.” It added, “[T]he booking will no longer be fulfilled.”
Graham’s Sheffield tour stop was also canceled Wednesday, with the leader of the City Council, Julie Dore, calling the preacher’s views “discriminatory and repulsive.” Update: over the weekend, seven of the eight U.K. venues have now canceled Graham’s booking. The last one — in Newcastle — is looking shaky.
Graham Aligns with the Church of England on Marriage
Again, Graham falls foul of campaigners who are seemingly perturbed by his consistent advocacy of biblical marriage between one man and one woman for life. The Bible is outdated and tired, they say, and it is time to send it to the grave.
Notably, on this issue, Graham does not deviate from the party line adopted by the Church of England, still the largest and most influential denomination in the United Kingdom. Only recently, the church received a mild social media flogging, mainly at the hands of British millennials, for suggesting sex serves us best when kept exclusively within lifelong heterosexual marriage.
“For Christians, marriage — that is the lifelong union between a man and a woman, contracted with the making of vows — remains the proper context for sexual activity,” the church stated. The ensuing derision soon subsided, and somehow the Anglican tradition plods on without great resistance.
Let’s remember that the Church of England is singing from the same hymn sheet as Graham with regard to many other hot-button issues. For example, the Church of England declares a “strong opposition to abortion,” has repeatedly rejected same-sex marriage, and openly stamps its approval on the trustworthiness of the Bible. Graham would approve. Yet despite its officially adopted positions, Anglicans are free to frequently host events in “secular” conference venues without overt opposition.
Britain Doesn’t Like Graham’s Politics
So what does all this tell us? Despite the LGBT lobby’s insistence that it is an inclusive social movement, its protestations are clearly underpinned by a staunch political bias. As such, there is little doubt Graham’s tacit support of President Trump has everything to do with the particularly barbed statements accompanying these sudden cancellations.
It is also unsurprising that Britain’s increasingly hard-left political opposition, the Labour Party, was affiliated with the original protest petition against Graham’s presence at the ACC. This party is known for being wildly leftist on social issues, largely atheistic in nature, and for boasting the current mayor of London and grandstanding anti-Trumper Sadiq Khan within its political ranks.
It is now abundantly clear that public figures espousing any support for the U.S. president, including even Facebook posts urging people to pray for him, are no longer safe from haranguing when they arrive upon Britain’s shores. Arguably, this sad reality serves as a deep scourge upon our long-standing values as a nation and is symptomatic of our spineless handing over of core and enduring principles to a collective mob mentality with no regard for the right to free political or religious expression.
Indeed, the intolerant left threatens to eviscerate free speech and replace it with a niche subset of rules governing what is acceptable to say and believe. It is not hard, then, to see why so many fear we have arrived at a grave juncture in our civic society and political discourse. It is totalitarianism of a different kind, but it is totalitarianism nonetheless.
“We are proud to represent all communities,” the ACC insisted as it struck Graham from its booking sheet. Farcical. Of course it doesn’t represent all communities. The ACC simply caves to the group that shouts the loudest and is known for bankrupting businesses and ruining reputations. If the ACC really championed all people, it would allow Graham to occupy its stage for an evening.
Who Will Get Canceled Next?
Just how offensive can a brief gospel presentation really be? Staggeringly, I can imagine that, given our absurd modern-day vernacular, Graham’s call to the altar would be classed as a “microaggression.”
“It is said by some that I am coming to the UK to bring hateful speech to your community. This is just not true,” Graham said in response to the accusations leveled against him. “I am coming to share the gospel, which is the good news that God loves the people of the UK. … [T]he gospel is inclusive.”
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen on so many occasions, Graham’s words won’t be enough for many with social power to welcome him with open arms. Even if he apologized for scheduling the visit, repented of his wokelessness, defrocked himself, and admitted the whole Christianity thing was a sham, it would still not satisfy their bloodlust.
So the son of one of the most influential preachers in history is left both bewildered and rightly anxious for the future upholding of free speech in Britain. “If they oppose me, who’s next?” he asked in response to the cancellations. “Who are they going to silence?”