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Franklin Graham announces Billy Graham Defence Fund to support religious freedom in the UK

by Lydia Davies

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) will support Christians facing religious freedom challenges in the UK, following a legal settlement amounting to nearly $650,000 (£513,890).

While in Glasgow as part of his God Loves You UK tour on 22nd June, Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse, announced the creation of the Billy Graham Defence Fund with their UK staff and church partners. This fund aims to support religious freedom in the UK,

"Our church is in a very deprived area. We see depression, mental health problems, financial issues; we see it all. And it’s not just our church, it’s people all over Scotland. Nothing is going to help Scotland apart from Jesus," said Alex Gillies, pastor of Victory Christian Centre in Glasgow, and his wife Charlotte, reflecting on the hundreds who came forward to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ at the tour stop.

"What we saw gives pastors and churches like ours hope because in the middle of all this chaos, people are seeking. This gives us a lot of hope."

Originally scheduled for 2020, Franklin Graham's UK tour faced opposition and was cancelled by venues.

The BGEA challenged these cancellations on the grounds of religious discrimination, aiming to ensure that all Christians have the opportunity to preach the Gospel in the public square. This week, the BGEA resolved all legal disputes with the original tour venues favourably.

Franklin Graham said in a statement: “This is a victory, not just for us, but for all Christians and churches across the UK.”

The North Carolina-based BGEA, which also has an office in Coventry, England, successfully rescheduled events in many of the initially cancelled venues. While financial gain was not a motivating factor, the BGEA received nearly $650,000 (£513,890) from its legal victories in the UK, following the 2018 challenge against the unlawful removal of its bus ads for another evangelistic event.

“We took a stand for the Gospel and for freedom of religion in the UK. Now we’re going to use these funds from this battle against cancel culture to help other Christians who may be threatened into silence,” Graham announced.

“There are so many problems in our society and people are looking for hope. We know that true hope can only be found in Jesus Christ, so we need to support one another in getting the Good News of Jesus Christ out, whatever it takes. It is my prayer that this will encourage Christians across the UK to keep living out and sharing their faith freely and boldly.”

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will return to the UK next year, where Franklin Graham will preach in London.

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