Several MPs have called for the U.K. to ban conservative American evangelist Franklin Graham over his views against Islam and the LGBT agenda, with some critics saying his presence in Britain will only sow division.
Blackpool-based pastor Nina Parker has launched a petition against granting Graham a U.K. visa and it has since garnered more than 6,000 signatures. Several MPs have also called on the home secretary to ban the American evangelist, with some saying his views violate the country's laws on hate speech, The Guardian detailed.
Graham is set to visit the U.K. in September 2018 to speak at the Lancashire festival of hope at Blackpool's Winter Gardens. He notably described Islam as a "very wicked religion" and has been vocal against the Obama administration's pro-LGBT agenda.
"As a Christian and as a leader of a church that particularly welcomes LGBT people, I'm horrified that other local churches are inviting someone with this record of hate speech," said Parker of Graham's upcoming U.K. visit.
Earlier this month, Christian Today reported that the Bishop of Blackburn, Julian Henderson, had been urged to speak against the Lancashire festival. In an open letter, Fr. Andrew Sage of St. Stephen on the Cliffs and Rev. Tracey Charnock of Holy Trinity South Shore expressed their opposition to Graham's upcoming visit to the U.K..
Sage and Charnock also said their local imam was now afraid of publishing his personal address and contact details on their website. They have called on Henderson to distance himself from Graham's views, suggesting that the evangelist's presence in the area could cause a rift between Christian and Muslim communities in the U.K.
In response to people's reactions on Graham's controversial comments, Blackpool councilor Maria Kirkland said the council wants to address discrimination and other issues of prejudice. She also said the concerns will be forwarded to relevant authorities and that the evangelist's visit could be terminated if the allegations of inciting hatred were proven to be true.