The Green Party response to Franklin Graham tour coming to ACC Liverpool

Tom Crone Liverpool Green Party

Liverpool Green Party is outraged that the city’s council-owned, premier venue ACC is hosting an event for Franklin Graham, the US preacher with a long history of condemning gay people and same-sex marriage.

  • We welcome plans to counter this hate-filled event with community events across the city celebrating LGBTQ+ lives and promoting a city that is open and inclusive of all people.
  • We call on all City Councillors to join with the Green Party Councillors in Council to oppose this event and have it cancelled.
  • We call on Mayor Anderson and the ruling Labour Group to bring forward without further delay an Ethical Charter covering event bookings at all council-owned venues to prevent such deeply divisive and offensive events taking place.

Graham’s presence in the city on May 14 2022 for a free event at the ACC venue will cause deep hurt and division across the city. The booking follows the widely condemned decision of the venue to host an arms fair earlier this year.

It flies in the face of assurances given by council leaders that bookings in the council-owned venue would be determined by a new ‘Ethical Charter’ to protect the city’s reputation as inclusive and anti-discriminatory.

The Evangelical Christian preacher, who supported disgraced former US President Donald Trump, has a long history of anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments.

  • In 2001, he described Islam as an ‘evil; and ‘wicked’ religion
  • In 2010, he claimed US President Barack Obama’s problem is ‘he was born a Muslim’
  • In 2012, he backed legislation in the US state of North Carolina prohibiting same-sex marriage and gay partnerships
  • In 2014, he backed Russian President Vladimir Putin's anti-gay laws, praising Putin for ‘protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda’
  • In 2017, Graham spoke against US legislation proposing to ban so-called gay conversion therapy, which is being outlawed here
  • In 2017, several British MPs urged the Home Secretary to refuse Graham a visa because of his views
  • In 2018, The Muslim Council of Britain said: ‘Mr Graham’s remarks are on record and clearly demonstrate a hatred for Muslims and other minorities.’
  • In 2019, Graham said of a potential opponent of Donald Trump’s bid to be re-elected US President – ‘Mayor Buttigieg says he's a gay Christian. As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized’

A multi-city UK tour planned for 2020 – including a night in Liverpool - was cancelled due to widespread opposition to his divisive views.

Now, Franklin has announced a mini-UK tour in 2022, including an event at the council-owned ACC Liverpool on May 14.

ACC Liverpool Group claim: ‘We have received satisfactory assurances from the organizers of the event that The Reverend Franklin Graham's message will not be discriminatory, disrespectful or negative towards any particular communities, groups or individuals.’

Graham’s long-record of offensive statements cannot be set aside in this way. He was unfit to preach at a council-owned venue in 2020 and he remains unfit to do so today.

We note that the tour has been announced in the wake of recent anti-gay attacks on people and artworks across the city and the horrific bombing at Liverpool Women’s Hospital which has increased tensions in the city. We believe that the event must be cancelled to ensure that all our communities have confidence that the whole city stands in solidarity and against homophobia and Islamophobia.

Liverpool Green Party Group leader Tom Crone said: "Our city should never open its doors and provide a welcome for those who sow division in our communities. This booking is the latest in a council-owned venue that fails to reflect the inclusive values of our city. The council leadership simply must, without any further delay, bring forward an ethical bookings policy for the venues it owns. Until then, the council will be heard promoting inclusion through its words and allowing for discord to take root through its inaction."