Evangelist Franklin Graham scored a major religious freedom victory this week, with a Scottish court issuing a stern ruling claiming his organization was treated unfairly and unequally.
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Glasgow’s Sheriff Court found Graham and his organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), were discriminated against when the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), Scotland’s largest event space, canceled a 2020 ministry event.
Sheriff John McCormick declared Monday in his 280-page ruling he saw no evidence to back the claims used to cancel the event and wrote the SEC had violated the U.K. 2010 Equality Act when it trumpeted protestors’ views and ignored Graham’s supporters, who wanted to see the event unfold.
McCormick, awarding BGEA $109,927 in damages, argued the venue bowed to public pressures and stated the law can’t endorse a situation in which a “mainstream Christian gathering” is punished due to disagreements over beliefs.
While protesting is permitted, he wrote there’s no right to “silence” or “stop religious assemblies.”
“The concern is expressed that there is the potential for Mr. Graham to make homophobic and Islamophobic comments,” McCormick said. “I found no evidence to that effect.”
The judge continued, “The defender’s true problem with the pursuer arises as a result of the religious views of Franklin Graham, which it has sought to categorize by wrenching selected comments made in the past whilst conveniently ignoring contrary comments also made by Franklin Graham.”
Graham responded to the ruling in a statement, expressing gratitude and calling it a “clear victory for freedom of speech and religion in the U.K.”
“This case was never about financial remedies — it was about the preservation of religious freedom in the U.K. — particularly the right for Christians to share the Gospel in the public square,” he explained. “I want to thank Sheriff John McCormick for upholding the law and affirming that Christians must be treated fairly and equally. This ruling will be a great encouragement for Christians and people of all faiths across the U.K. and many other parts of the world.”
Another hearing will be held in January to address expenses.
As CBN News reported, Graham’s Christian events have come under fire in the U.K.
According to the BGEA, five cases have been resolved so far in the organization’s favor, with remaining disputes with other venues still pending.
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