Lanark minister blocks preacher Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham was due to perform at The Hydro
Franklin Graham was due to perform at The Hydro

A Lanark minister was a prime mover in preventing one of the USA’s top evangelist preachers holding a major rally in Glasgow.

The eldest son of the late Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, was due to preach to thousands at the Hydro on May 30.

However, the event was cancelled after the Rev. Bryan Kerr of Lanark’s Greyfriars Church, mounted a petition campaign, claiming the American preacher had labelled homosexuality a sin.

In the past the minister has championed gay rights in the Church of Scotland itself.

The American evangelist has denied promoting “hateful speech” but his planned eight city tour of Britain has been largely wrecked by a ban not only at the Glasgow venue but at those he was to preach at in Liverpool and Sheffield too.

The Hydro’s operators. the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), said in a statement: “The booking for this event was processed in the same way we would for any religious concert of this nature and as a business we remain impartial to the individual beliefs of both our clients and visitors.

“Following a request from our principal shareholder (Glasgow City Council) the matter has been considered and a decision made that we should not host this event.”

The Lanark minister commented: “As the Bishop of Sheffield recently said ‘Mr Graham’s rhetoric is repeatedly and unnecessarily inflammatory and in my opinion represents a risk to the social cohesion of our city.’

“The same is true for Glasgow and Scotland as a whole.”

He has been supported by LGBT rights groups.

Mr Kerr has also expressed unease with Mr Graham’s reported description of the current Coronavirus epidemic as being an act of retribution by God.

The Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Susan Aitken, denied that the local authority was attacking free speech through its decision but was merely enforcing its policies to protect minorities.

Mr Graham said this week: “I’m not coming to the UK to speak against anybody, I’m coming to speak for everybody.

“All are welcome.”