A victory for believers and Christian organisations in the United Kingdom after Scottish court ruled in favour of Franklin Graham and religious freedom on Monday.Glasgow Case Victory Upholds Religious Freedom in the United Kingdom | Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – UK
Photo above: Glasgow, United Kingdom
A victory for believers and Christian organisations in the United Kingdom after Scottish court ruled in favour of Franklin Graham and religious freedom on Monday.
The definitive ruling affirms Christians with traditional religious views must be treated fairly and equally.
Sheriff John McCormick ruled that Scottish Event Campus (SEC) were wrong in their decision to cancel BGEA’s contract to hold an evangelistic outreach at the SSE Hydro back in 2020. SEC criticised the Christian organisation and Revd Graham’s uncompromising Biblical beliefs about human sexuality, and cancelled legally-binding contracts which resulted in the postponement of the outreach.
In a written statement, Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, responded: “This ruling will be a great encouragement for Christians and people of all faiths across the UK and many other parts of the world.”
In a strongly worded ruling, Sheriff McCormick said, “The concern is expressed that there is the potential for Mr Graham to make homophobic and Islamophobic comments. I found no evidence to that effect.” Instead, Sheriff McCormick said, “The defender’s true problem with the pursuer arises as a result of the religious views of Franklin Graham, which it has sought to categorise by wrenching selected comments made in the past whilst conveniently ignoring contrary comments also made by Franklin Graham.”
Sheriff McCormick called this a “thinly veiled exercise in virtue signalling” by the Scottish Event Campus (SEC). He went on to say the exhibition centre “bowed to public pressure, spurred on and whipped up by political leaders online.”
Sheriff McCormick ruled the SEC violated the Equality Act 2010 when it favoured the opinions of the people who were protesting BGEA’s event and silenced those who supported it.
“The law cannot endorse an outcome whereby a mainstream Christian religious gathering cannot be held because some members of the community, however vehemently, disagree with religiously based beliefs to which they take objection. Such objectors in a democratic society undoubtedly have a right to freedom of expression and of assembly to protest against other’s religious views. What they do not have is a right to silence them or to stop religious assemblies from being held and from making welcome all who would come and hear the Good News preached by Franklin Graham at the Glasgow SSE Hydro Event,” the sheriff wrote in his 280-page opinion.
On Monday, Sheriff McCormick awarded BGEA damages totalling £97,325. An additional hearing on expenses has been scheduled for 18 January 2023.
In response to Monday’s ruling, Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said, “I am grateful to God for this decision—it is a clear victory for freedom of speech and religion in the UK. This case was never about financial remedies—it was about the preservation of religious freedom in the UK—particularly the right for Christians to share the Gospel in the public square. I want to thank Sheriff John McCormick for upholding the law and affirming that Christians must be treated fairly and equally. This ruling will be a great encouragement for Christians and people of all faiths across the UK and many other parts of the world.”
The Glasgow ruling stems from an outreach in 2020 when Franklin Graham planned to share a message of God’s love across the UK. The tour was postponed after the venues cancelled their legally-binding contracts with BGEA. Opponents criticised the Christian organization and Revd Graham for uncompromisingly standing by their traditional Biblical beliefs about human sexuality, even though the only aim of the tour was to share the message that God loves the people of the UK and anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus Christ can be forgiven of their sins, be reconciled to God, and have hope for eternity.
To date, five of those cases have been resolved in BGEA’s favour, and we hope there will be positive resolutions for the remaining legal disputes with venues in Birmingham and Newcastle.
The rescheduled God Loves You Tour with Franklin Graham took place in May and July this year, with stops in Liverpool, South Wales, Sheffield, and London. Christians from more than 2,000 churches across the UK partnered with the tour, and nearly 20,000 people attended the events across all four cities.