After a legal fight lasting several years, evangelist Franklin Graham has won an important case for religious freedom in the UK. A County Court Judge Claire Evans has ruled that the 2018 Lancashire Festival of Hope was discriminated against when ads promoting the event were pulled from buses in Blackpool, in an effort to ban him from preaching. In 2018, the Blackpool Council and Blackpool Transport Services removed bus advertisements displaying the words “Time for Hope,” citing that members of the community complained about Graham’s association with the festival. The transportation company said they received feedback from members of the community who were concerned over the evangelist’s religious beliefs on marriage and sexuality. Complaints referenced Graham’s biblical views about LGBTQ matters like same-sex marriage.
Some falsely accused him of “preaching hate” or being “racist.” Jane Cole, managing director at Blackpool Transport said, “The removal of these adverts is as a result of us listening and acting on customer and public feedback which we aim to do at all times. Blackpool Transport is a proud ongoing supporter of the Pride and LGBT+ communities and in no way did we intend to cause any distress or upset.” After the decision was announced, additional complaints were made about the removal of the advertisements by members of the public who saw the move as bias against Christians, censorship, and a restriction of free speech. Moreover, the court concluded that the ads themselves were inoffensive and the transportation company had actually violated the UK’s Equality Act 2010. The law forbids discrimination against anyone because of religion or belief.
Judge Evans ruled “overwhelmingly in favour” of the Lancashire Festival of Hope, saying that Blackpool “had a wholesale disregard” for the Festival’s right to freedom of speech. It prioritized the rights and opinions of members of the LGBT community. “We thank God for this ruling because it is a win for every Christian in the U.K.,” Graham said. Despite removal of the ads, the Lancashire Festival of Hope brought 9,000 people together in Blackpool, garnered more than 50,000 online views worldwide, and saw more than 400 people commit their lives to Christ. “It is a significant day for religious liberty,” said James Barrett, chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association UK. “The court recognized that Blackpool Council cared more about appeasing the LGBTQ community than upholding the rights of local churches to advertise a Christian festival.” He added, “The judge summarized it best in her ruling when she said, ‘This is the antithesis of the manner in which a public authority should behave in a democratic society.
Listen to Martin Isles of Australian Christian Lobby (ACL). This video reveals that what is proposed by the Ruddock review will not provide freedom of religion for Australians. I recommend all of my Aussie followers sign up for Martin’s weekly “The Truth of it” so you can get involved.
Will our Christian voice be heard? We need to ACT. Wake up church.
What is proposed for children concerning the transgender issue alone is horrific. All of my followers need to listen to Martin and hear the truth of it. Also, the encouraging stories at the end of this video are worth the time invested.
The following is taken from an article in The Australian by Michael Sexton May 29, 2018, it reveals the nation has largely rejected God, HIS Word and His values and persecution of believers who hold to the inerrancy of God’s Word is not too far off.
The Ruddock inquiry into religious freedom, instituted by the Australian Federal Government in the wake of the legislation authorising same-sex marriage, has completed its work but its findings have not been made public yet. In many ways the real issue is one of freedom of speech and is not a problem confined to religious bodies.
It has been said that the complaints of some of the Rugby Australia sponsors about Folau’s statements raise an issue of freedom of speech. But it is a fact — sad or otherwise — of modern Australian life that a highly paid sportsman or sportswoman cannot continue to make public statements, especially unfashionable ones on moral questions, that alienate sponsors and expect to survive, given the views that dominate almost all public institutions in this country and the boards of most large corporations.
But, the real issue of freedom of speech in this area is whether churches will be able to continue their traditional teachings in pulpits and schools in the light of state and territorial legislation that makes it illegal to engage in conduct that offends or otherwise injures the feelings of individuals on the basis of, for example, their participation in same-sex marriage.
Listen to Martyn Iles do a great job of outlining the impact Same Sex Marriage (SSM) legislation will have on an individual’s freedom. How fortunate we are, to be able to see the outcome of SSM legislation particularly in the USA and Canada, before legislation is enacted here. Also, how blessed we are that God is raising up individuals of this calibre to represent Christians in Australia. We need to wholeheartedly support organisations such as ACL . You only have to read the vitriolic responses on the ACL website to realise ACL is doing a great job. Pray for them and support them financially if you are able.