Scottish Venue that Canceled 2020 Franklin Graham Event to Pay Over $100K for Violating UK Equality Act
According to the Christian Post, Graham said he is “grateful to God for this decision,” viewing the ruling as “a clear victory for freedom of speech and religion in the UK.” Graham further stated the lawsuit was not about receiving a settlement but “about the preservation of religious freedom in the UK.”
On Monday (October 24), a Scottish court ruled in favor of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in a lawsuit against Scottish Event Campus Limited (SEC), which canceled an evangelistic event at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow featuring Franklin Graham in 2020 on the grounds of Graham’s stated beliefs about human sexuality and Islam.
Sheriff John N. McCormick ruled that SEC would be obligated to pay over $111,000 (£97,000) for violating the UK’s Equality Act.
SEC was one of seven UK venues that canceled BGEA events, part of Graham’s “God Loves You” tour, in January 2020 after facing pressure from LGBTQ+ advocates. Multiple groups argued that Graham’s public remarks regarding LGBTQ+ issues and the Muslim faith constituted dangerous hate speech.
Graham, who is the son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham and president of BGEA, has often publicly rebuked LGBTQ+ values and has referred to the Muslim faith as “wicked and evil.”
In his Monday ruling, McCormick wrote, “Briefly put, if it is correct that the event was evangelistic, based on religion or philosophical belief, then it follows that the decision to cancel was a breach of the Equality Act 2010 in that the event was cancelled as a commercial response to the views of objectors.”
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By Michael Ives — 6 months ago
Let’s rescue the Gentiles together, Gentile to Gentile. Let’s assimilate them to the Kingdom, including them at the table as they repent and believe the Gospel. And then we can teach them English.
Years back, my heart got large for missions — especially urban missions to those on the ‘other side of the tracks.’ At about the same time, I became Reformed (a high octane, old school Presbyterian no less!), putting me in a a sub-subset of a subset. My life and ministry has ever since lived somewhat in the frontiers the unlikely and the implausible. A straightlaced, tall gringo Presbyterian goes out among immigrants, trying to evangelize in broken Spanish and recruit sinners to the “outward and ordinary means” in a humble, little Reformed church 15 minutes to the south. And to sing Psalms. Without musical accompaniment. In English.
I admit that there are all kinds of problems with this model, from a human perspective. But it is actually more plausible than one might think. Yet before I deal with the plausibles, let me first set forth some principles.
The first principle is principle! Principle precedes the practical. We must first determine whether something should be done before we decide whether or not we think it is practical. We ought to go out and bring the Gospel to all. None excluded. Politics quite aside, we may and must not discriminate based on sex, ethnicity, gender, or for that matter even sexual ‘preference.’ By the mandate of our King, we must go and tell them. Yes, as Calvinists, we know that not every “all” means “all.” But “every creature” does in fact mean “every creature.” Even if they don’t look like us, eat like us, or even use our language. It doesn’t matter whether they ‘have papers’ or not, vote Democrat or not. How they got here and whether they should by law be here, is a separate issue for a different discussion (and full disclosure: I lean quite “red” when it comes to immigration policy!). But that they are here means they are here for us to evangelize. And not just gripe about and avoid them as much as possible.
In this vein, we must evangelize our urban cities and their immigrant populations as we are Gospel debtors. Have we (or our ancestors) freely received? We must therefore freely give. All of us Gentile Christians owe it to Jewish fishermen, tax collectors, and especially one rock-ribbed “Hebrew of Hebrews,” that we are even at the Kingdom table, seated with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. My ancestors were Viking savages, raping and pillaging their way across the world. But someone left home, came, learned their language and brought them the Gospel. And now I believe, thanks to their heroism. Some of those who read this have Irish and Italian surnames, but now consider themselves generic, American evangelicals. Yet their great-grandparents lived and died under Romish superstition in their Italian- or Gaelic-speaking ghettos. I don’t know anything about Protestant urban missions to Federal Hill in Providence back in the 1920s. I hope my Swedish Lutheran ancestors did me proud and went into these “highways and hedges.” But it was their duty regardless. Or someone’s. Someone who had freely received and should have left their comfortable, upwardly mobile realization of the American dream to go to these “barbarian” huddled masses in need of the pure Gospel.
Further, the Visible Church is one. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:4-5). Not only is the Jew-Gentile barrier dissolved under the Gospel, but all lesser, non-essential distinctions as well. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:27-28). All functional divisions of privilege and prejudice must die at the cross, that all people who confess Christ may be one. And that, even one under the same roof when God in providence places people in the same locality (James 2:1-13). Even self-sorting is not in the spirit of the ‘Reformed catholic.’
By Annie Holmquist — 9 months ago
Faith in God, admiration of virtue, respect for the institutions of marriage and family, and love for learning and discerning truth…were once commonplace convictions in Western civilization; now they are rarer than a white tiger. Nevertheless, our need for them has never been greater, and the men and women who are taught to cling to these as children will one day stand in greatness, even if they never set foot on Harvard’s campus.
The other day, Harvard senior Julie Hartman wrote a brief tale in the Wall Street Journal about what has been happening on that revered campus since COVID landed its microscopic self on American shores. She and her classmates have been denied the norms of campus life, treated instead to mask-wearing, social distancing, and endless COVID tests. But that’s no big deal, because students across the country have been subjected to similar protocols, right?
That’s wrong, according to Hartman. She points out that students at Harvard are often viewed as the leaders of the next generation, for that institution has been producing great men for centuries. “We may be the future decision makers,” she writes, “but most of us aren’t leaders. Our principal concern is becoming members of the American elite, with whatever compromises, concessions and conformity that requires.” In essence, Harvard students are simply the same cookie-cutter automatons that so many institutions produce today. Hartman concludes by saying that such a lack of opposition to “these irrational bureaucratic excesses bodes ill for our ability to meet future challenges.”
If today’s institutions aren’t producing great men and women, how can we average folks pick up the slack and do their work for them? And if we’re going to do that, just what exactly is it that makes a great man or woman? One of Harvard’s former professors, philosopher George Santayana, had some thoughts on the matter in his work, Winds of Doctrine.
Santayana first diagnosed the reason why we don’t have great men: moral chaos. “When chaos has penetrated so far into the moral being of nations,” he wrote, “they can hardly be expected to produce great men.” This observation, made in 1926, certainly checks out with our present-day society. From rioting in the streets to election irregularities, to gender confusion, to irrational and flip-flopping COVID mandates, we’ve experienced a full range of chaos penetrating our moral being in the last few years.
By Jon Bloom — 2 months ago
Paul teaches his readers to understand the Lord’s Supper as a spiritual eating and drinking that, like baptism, physically symbolizes and mediates a spiritual reality. Through the meal, we remember that by faith we receive what Jesus has done for us, and in faith we proclaim that reality to others. Receive and proclaim what? What Jesus’s death accomplished for us: his substitutionary death on our behalf — the breaking of his body and spilling of his blood — pays in full the penalty of guilt for our sin (Hebrews 10:12–14), and his perfect righteousness is freely given to us in exchange for our unrighteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is the New Testament’s clear teaching of the Christian gospel.
The day after Jesus performed his largest-scale pre-crucifixion miracle — the feeding of the five thousand — he issued one of his most offensive and misunderstood statements.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. (John 6:53–55)
Up to this point, the growing crowd had been thrilled with Jesus. After all, he could heal the sick and feed the masses! Was this the long-awaited Prophet? Soon they would want to make him their king (John 6:14–15). But Jesus discerned something defective about their enthusiasm.
They desired more loaves from heaven (John 6:34), but not the bread he had come to give them: himself (John 6:51–52). So, he tested their spiritual discernment with a series of increasingly provocative statements, culminating in the one above. They took offense; it sounded like cannibalism. The “Jesus for King” campaign suddenly evaporated. Turns out he was right about their lack of discernment. They seriously misunderstood what he was saying.
And they wouldn’t be the last. People have misunderstood these verses for the last two thousand years — including Christians. Over time, significant Christian traditions, such as Roman Catholicism, developed Jesus’s words into the doctrine of transubstantiation, the belief “that during the Eucharist, the body of Jesus Christ himself is truly eaten and his blood truly drunk. The bread becomes his actual body, and the wine his actual blood.”
But that’s not what Jesus meant. How do we know this? He gave us plenty of clues.
Spiritual Realities Spiritually Discerned
First, this wasn’t the first time Jesus used metaphors to unveil spiritual reality. A few verses later, he describes the hidden power and meaning of his teaching to his disciples (some of whom were offended along with the crowd):
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe. (John 6:63–64)
In other words, “No one will understand what I am saying unless the Spirit reveals it.” A similar misunderstanding happens when Jesus says to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Nicodemus is confused, thinking Jesus is referring to a literal physical birth, but Jesus’s words are “spirit and life” — he is referring to a spiritual birth.
Again, a chapter later, when Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman at the well, he offers her living water. Confused, she responds, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?” (John 4:10–11). Jesus’s words, however, are “spirit and life.” They mean far more than she realizes, and that meaning can only be spiritually discerned.
Again and again, Jesus uses provocative metaphorical language to help people see who he is and how they might obtain eternal life through him.
What Does It Mean to Feed?
Now, let’s narrow in on the immediate context of John 6 — which was a discussion regarding bread — because it contains more clues to what Jesus meant by, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:54).