American evangelist Franklin Graham has announced a rescheduled ‘God Loves You’ tour date in Birmingham, after a ban on his right to speak at UK venues was overturned. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has announced that its evangelical tour is set to visit Resorts World Arena in Birmingham on June 15, 2024.
It comes after the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) initially cancelled his tour in June 2020 after various UK venues banned him from preaching, labeling his stance on homosexuality as homophobic. The BGEA took legal action on the grounds of freedom of speech and freedom of religion and has successfully overturned six challenges by UK venues.
The free event will also take place at OVO Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, on June 22, 2024.
Speaking of the legal process, the director of the ‘God Loves You’ tour, Reuben Morley, said it was necessary to demonstrate a Christ-like approach throughout the proceedings. He explains that their team have had to address the venues who sought to prevent Franklin Graham from speaking and respectfully remind them of the legally binding contracts that they have signed. “And so they see our Christian character through that,” he adds.
Speaking, Franklin Graham said the rescheduled tour was not just a personal win but a win for the church: “The church can be bold and stand up and preach the truth. And if we’re challenged, knowing that we have the freedom to continue, because we cannot allow just a few people to shut us down because they disagree.
“I don’t hate anyone. And my message is for everybody. I want gay people to come, I want Muslims to come; I want people of different races to come and hear that God loves them and cares for them. And that Christ took their sins and died himself for our sins Himself on the cross. When he was nailed to that cross, he was nailed there for you and me, and for every human being,” he added.
The ‘God Loves You’ team will also be helping to equip churches and Christians outside of the event to share the gospel confidently with loved ones, work colleagues, and family members. Some 10,000 people gathered at the London ExCel on Saturday as part of the ‘God Loves You’ UK tour. Nearly a thousand people were reported to have made a decision to follow Christ as a result of the event.