On February 15, the Scottish Family Party led a peaceful demonstration in front of the historic Glasgow City Chambers to protest a local venue that says it’s backing out of hosting Franklin Graham’s U.K. Tour.
Glasgow is scheduled to be the first stop on the eight-city tour, but in recent weeks, all eight venues—including those in England and Wales—have claimed they’re cancelling contracts, citing Graham’s incompatible views. LGBTQ protesters in particular have put pressure on their cities to pull out due to Graham’s Biblical views on marriage.
More than 2,100 churches across the United Kingdom are involved in the Graham Tour, set to begin this spring. Many U.K. residents are speaking out against attacks on the freedom of speech and religion.
During the recent Glasgow demonstration, an estimated 100 people stood in pouring rain on a Saturday to stand up for those freedoms.
Scottish Family Party leader Richard Lucas addressed the crowd, noting the significance of their meeting spot—between the government building where City Council gathers and a war memorial to commemorate Scotland’s fight for freedom.
“If you disagree with something, you can say so. That’s one of the most basic things that identifies a civilized society, and that’s what’s being attacked,” Lucas said, his red raincoat repelling giant drops. “We’re not just going to roll over and allow our fundamental freedoms to be eroded…”
Demonstrators held signs calling on local leaders to stop discriminating against Christians. One sign read: “‘Inclusion’ doesn’t mean excluding those you disagree with.”
Lucas made the point that basic freedoms aren’t just in place to protect Christians but people of all faiths—and no faith at all. What happens now, he said, can greatly impact future groups who may find themselves in the same position, their views oppressed because some disagree.
Several in the Glasgow crowd wore bright yellow tape over their mouths, a strong visual meant to let their city leaders know they won’t be silenced.
Growing up, Lucas said, he and his fellow Scots would pray for people who didn’t have the freedom to worship and pray and preach.
“It didn’t enter their head that we would ever be in a country ourselves where we would be facing these issues. It just didn’t enter into anyone’s thinking,” he said. “Now it’s well underway. It’s the direction we’re headed in.”
He urged the crowd, and anyone who may see pictures from the demonstration, to think about the kind of place their children will grow up in.
Read and watch messages of support for the Graham Tour, and please pray as the tour moves ahead despite opposition.