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Scottish churches demand Council apology over 'illegal and discriminatory' Franklin Graham booking cancellation

by Marcus Jones

Church leaders in Scotland have written to Glasgow City Council calling for an immediate reversal of the decision to cancel the booking of Franklin Graham at the city's SEC arena.

Despite contracts being signed, the Council urged the venue to reconsider, claiming the US evangelist's appearance would cause division.

The opposition is linked to previous comments he had made about homosexuality.

The cancellation was one of eight arenas who told Graham that he was no longer welcome.

The evangelist subsequently launched legal action to get the decision overturned.

In a letter published in the Scottish Herald, leaders from mainly Pentecostal and independent churches, said the cancellation was an attack on all believers who share traditional biblical beliefs about sin.

"We believe that Glasgow City Council, contrary to The Human Rights Act (1998), has discriminated against both the BGEA and our churches in a way that is in clear breach of: the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the freedom to manifest our religion in public; the right to freedom of opinion and expression (speech), and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly," they said,

"We believe the council has also acted in breach of The Equality Act (2010) which safeguards religion as a protected characteristic and, thereby, has undermined the city charter which claims in its values to 'work to uphold and protect people's basic human rights'."

The church leaders have called for the reinstatement of the booking alongside an apology to all those "affected by our exclusion".

They say mistakes need to be learnt from.

Last week, Premier reported that the SEC has been given 7 days to explain the decision behind the cancellation to the courts.

Glasgow Sheriff Court was said to have "recognised the importance" of resolving the case.

Meanwhile Franklin Graham has claimed 400 new churches have signed up to support the tour since the cancellations.

He's due to arrive in the UK in May.

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