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Franklin Graham insists he’s not ‘anti-gay’ after police refuse his dinner invite

Emma Powys Maurice May 6, 2021
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Franklin Graham got a frosty response from the Seattle Police Department (CNP/Ron Sachs//Anadolu Agency/Getty)

Franklin Graham has insisted he’s “not anti-gay” after Seattle Police refused to attend his dinner because of his homophobic views.

The notoriously anti-LGBT+ preacher is hosting the aw enforcement appreciation dinner in Seattle next week, but there’s just one tiny problem: Seattle Police aren’t coming.

The force initially accepted the invitation before rescinding it after officers learned the event was hosted by The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

“Based on Graham’s history and affiliations, the [invitation] has raised concerns that the SPD may not be committed to the equity of our community’s LGBTQ members,” police chief Adrian Diaz said in an email to colleagues.

“I want to make clear the department fully supports the equity and just treatment of all people.

“The SPD did not sponsor this event and is not connected in any way to its hosts,” he continued. “Today I sent a department-wide email to rescind the invitation because its hosts do not share the inclusive values of the SPD.”

The event raised concerns for Seattle city council president Lorena Gonzalez, who called on Diaz and Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan to refuse the invitation “immediately”.

“By promoting this anti-LGBTQ and far-right religious group’s invitation, the Seattle Police Department is undermining Seattle’s LGBTQ community, alienating our own LGBTQ officers, and further eroding public trust and confidence in law enforcement to protect everyone regardless of their religion or identity,” she said.

“The Seattle Police Department’s sharing of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association event is absolutely a misuse of taxpayer resources.”

Franklin Graham countered this in an interview with Christian Headlines, confirming that the dinner is not a taxpayer-funded event but a free gift from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association “and from Christians all across this country who want these men and women to know they are appreciated”.

“We’re gonna just have a great time for fellowship, one with another,” he said. “We’ve got a great speaker, we’ll have live music. But it’ll be just an evening for them. And we’re paying the bill. There’s no charge to them. We just want to encourage them and let them know that we love them, and we support them.”

He added that all police officers are welcome to come – even LGBT+ ones – and in any case, he’s not homophobic. Really.

“I’m not anti-gay,” he genuinely claimed. “I’m sorry that [Gonzalez] took this position, and hopefully, she’ll change her mind.”

Unfortunately for Graham, his legacy speaks for itself.

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