Bus adverts promoting an upcoming evangelistic festival with Franklin Graham– son of renown evangelist Billy Graham (RIP) – in England have been pulled down in response to outcry from LGBT communities.
“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 ‘Time for Hope’ Festival with immediate effect, a spokesman for Blackpool Transport in England said, according to sources.
The transport firm said it 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 spokesman said.
The banner adverts for Franklin’s ‘Festival of Hope’ event at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens had appeared on Blackpool Transport’s Palladium fleet of buses ahead of the September event.
According to the Guardian, opposition has continued to grow against the planned visit by Franklin Graham, who is accused of ‘hate speech’ for remarks about Islam and gay people, with critics saying his appearance will promote prejudice and damage interfaith relations.
Jane Cole, Managing Director at Blackpool Transport, told a local British newspaper, “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.”
In his submission regarding the controversy, Graham said in an interview with Premier in January that he is not going to Blackpool to preach against Islam or gay people.
The CEO and president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said that he is prepared for any protests he is likely to face when preaching in September. He, according to the Christian Post, added that his father ( late evangelist Billy Graham) was also opposed when preaching at U.K. events.
Graham noted that Jesus Christ himself “offended many people,” and that the Gospel “still offends people today.”