‘Homosexuals are sinners’: We spoke to the preacher Newcastle students are boycotting
He’s scheduled to give a speech this June
A US Evangelist preacher's tour visit to Newcastle is facing increasing demands to be cancelled, following comments made by the preacher on the LGBT community.
US Evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham is no stranger to controversy. Known more commonly for his roles within the Samaritan's Purse Foundation, his comments on a whole array of issues have been, spicy, at best, downright homophobic however in reality.
As part of his The Graham Tour UK, Franklin is visiting a number of cities across the country preaching the message of, "the gospel".
The Newcastle installation of the event is scheduled to take place on June 3rd in the Utilita Arena and has garnered great backlash from students.
In a press release statement from Northern Pride, they urged people to sign the petition to cancel the event and to boycott Rev. Franklin Graham in all mediums necessary.
The statement added: "We believe an event like this kind with anti-LGBT rhetoric has no place in a tolerant and accepting city like Newcastle."
Speaking exclusively to The Tab, Graham said that: "The LGBT community has declared war against me for some reason. When I preach, I say what God's word says that we are sinners, be that lying, stealing or homosexuality.
"That is why Jesus is here to take our sins, it is not about individual sinners but God's perfect redemption."
One Google search for Rev. Franklin Graham and a myriad of media sources will appear, with many commenting on his "homophobic" comments in the past.
When asked about his statement on calling homosexuality a, "moral 9/11", Graham said that he had never said that.
Graham's anti-LGBT rhetoric can be further traced to January 2016, where on his radio show "focus on the family" he described LGBT people as the enemy and that they should be "thrown out" of churches.
Defending his comments, Graham noted how churches should have a stricter membership criteria. He said: "it is dangerous to open any church doors to people who have a different belief system.
"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and so does the Church of England and God".
The Newcastle Tab spoke to third year student Georgia Corbett, a Liberation Officer at Newcastle University, and she described her outrage at the event being allowed to continue.
She said: "I think students who identify as LGBTQIA will feel unwelcome and discriminated against if the event goes ahead, and as one of them I really would rather not see hateful rhetoric about minority communities platformed.
"The visit will make LGBTQIA people feel less safe and more at risk of hate'".
Fellow Newcastle University student James Smyth commented: "As an LGBT student in Newcastle this is really disappointing news; it makes me feel less safe and accepted in the city that I live in.
"With pride events in summer and numerous LGBT friendly spaces and events, Newcastle has always felt to me like a place where I'm safe and can be myself.
"People like this should not be given such a huge platform to spread what is essentially hate speech, it's damaging and totally out of place in a large UK city in 2020".