A transit company in England has yanked ads from the sides of its double-decker buses promoting North Carolina evangelist Franklin Graham’s planned crusade in the seaside resort town of Blackpool.
Blackpool Transport cited “heightened tension” over Graham’s remarks critical of the LGBTQ community.
The company acted in response to complaints from British LGBTQ leaders.
Graham shot back on Facebook, saying his “Crusade of Hope” in September will be designed to “transform hearts and lives.”
“I’m sorry,” Graham posted, “that some see hope as offensive, but I can assure you that tens of thousands of people in Blackpool and across the United Kingdom are searching for hope. Sex, drugs, money, even religion—none of these are the answer. “
The LGBTQ group Blackpool Pride canceled its two-day festival booking at the Winter Gardens in England in June to protest Graham’s appearance, The (Blackpool) Gazette reported.
Two members of Parliament have even urged the British government to investigate whether Graham should be denied a visa, according to The Gazette.
Graham’s critics in Great Britain have cited his 2001 comments calling Islam “a very evil and wicked religion.” They also quoted Graham approving Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown of LGBTQ people in that country.
On Friday, more than 14,000 people registered their support for Graham’s Facebook post with emojis.
His post also drew hundreds of comments, both supportive and critical.
“Pray that God makes you a huge success in converting peoples minds and bringing them to Jesus,” Gladys Reid wrote.
A Graham critic alluded to President Donald Trump’s Friday visit to London, where The Washington Post reported he was greeted by thousands of protesters and a “giant ‘Trump Baby’ balloon.” Graham has been an enthusiastic supporter of Trump.
“I hope they launch a giant balloon mocking you and protest mightily like they did for that devil, Trump,” Mary Ellen Coleman DeVries posted on Graham’s Facebook page.