Bus company pulls ads from anti-LGBT preacher who claims gay people ‘steal’ children
A UK bus company has pulled adverts from US-based preacher Franklin Graham advertising his upcoming visit.
Graham, the head of Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse and the son of evangelical preacher Billy Graham, had taken out bus ads to advertise his upcoming events in the UK.
The seemly-innocuous ads had borne the message ‘Time for Hope!’, advertising the ‘Lancashire Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham’.
However, it was pointed out that Graham’s message is far from innocent, with his extremist anti-gay teachings having led to calls to ban him from the UK.
Graham previously praised Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws, heading to Russia to spread claims that homosexuals “take people’s children”.
He has also claimed there had been a “moral 9/11” in America due to homosexuals and has declared that gay people are ‘the enemy’ of civilisation.
After Blackpool Transport were made aware of his extreme beliefs, the company confirmed that they would be removing the ads for his event.
A public statement from the company says: “Blackpool Transport has recently been made aware of an advert in place on the side of some of our double-decker buses.
“In light of customer feedback and reactions on social media which has resulted in heightened tension, we have taken the decision to remove all adverts relating to the ‘Festival of Hope’ event with immediate effect.
“We will reimburse any income back to the advertising company.
“We work with multiple advertisers and third-parties and in no way do we endorse or support any advertisement which is placed on our vehicles.”
The company added that “all buses carrying the advert will remain off the road until they have been removed.”
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.”
Conservative Blackpool MP Paul Maynard, a minister at the Department of Transport, has been among those calling for him to be banned from entering the country.
Labour MP for Blackpool South Gordon Marsden also declared Graham’s views “incompatible with what Jesus said in the Bible.”
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Marsden said: “I think frankly the evidence is piling up that his visit to the UK … would not be a good thing and not probably in my view a very Christian thing.”
Afzal Khan, a Labour MP who has worked on countering extremism, added: “His views are not welcome, and I will make representation to the home secretary if it looks like he is intent on coming.”
The issue is complicated because of Graham’s closeness to President Trump, despite his continued anti-LGBT extremism.
Graham preached at Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and has been pictured with the President on a number of occasions since, even as he continues to preach the absolute rejection of LGBT people.
The preacher has claimed that LGBT anti-discrimination laws will mean that “your children, and your grandchildren will be at risk to sexual predators and perverts”, and recently branded an inclusive sex education course as “like Sodom and Gomorrah”.