Hundreds sign petition against US pastor’s Sheffield show after branding homosexuality a sin

Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for a controversial US evangelist’s show in Sheffield to be cancelled.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 9:12 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 11:52 am

Franklin Graham has branded homosexuality a ‘sin’, spoken out against plans to ban gay conversion therapy and reportedly called Islam an ‘evil and very wicked religion’, leading critics to brand him a ‘hate' preacher.

The US pastor is due to appear at Sheffield’s FlyDSA Arena in June, but politicians, an LGBT+ charity and the bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox, are among those to have spoken out against the event, with the latter warning it poses a ‘risk to the social cohesion of our city’.

A petition has now been launched urging Sheffield City Trust, which is responsible for the venue, to cancel the show.

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More than 300 people have already signed the petition, which describes Mr Graham’s past statements as ‘direct hate speech’ and an ‘incitement to violence against LGBT+ communities which should not be welcomed in our city, or anywhere else’, since it was launched by Sheffield Against Hate.

Sheffield City Trust’s chairman David Grey has previously said it did not endorse the views of Mr Graham but was allowing the closed event to go ahead as it supports the right to free speech

He said it reserved the right to change its decision ‘should the circumstances of Franklin Graham’s visit to the UK alter’.

The operators of a venue in Liverpool have cancelled a planned show by Mr Graham following public opposition, describing Mr Graham's statements as ‘incompatible with our values’.