Hate preacher Franklin Graham tells British gay people to repent after being dropped from arena appearance

US anti-LGBT preacher Franklin Graham

US hate preacher Franklin Graham is seeking to play down his anti-LGBT+ beliefs after a UK venue cancelled his planned prayer rally.

The Trump-supporting preacher, who is known for praising Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws and blaming gay people for a “moral 9/11”, is set to visit the UK during Pride Month in June as part of an evangelist tour.

However, his visit has faced opposition from LGBT+ groups, leading to a Liverpool conference venue cancelling his appearance – while Newcastle’s Utilita Arena is also facing pressure to block his rally.

Homosexuality is a sin and gay people should seek forgiveness, preacher says.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Graham sought to play down his beliefs in a “letter to the LGBTQ community in the UK” – which maintains that gay people are sinful and should repent.

He wrote: “It is said by some that I am coming to the UK to bring hateful speech to your community. This is just not true.

“I am coming to share the Gospel, which is the Good News that God loves the people of the UK, and that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us from our sins.

“The rub, I think, comes in whether God defines homosexuality as sin. The answer is yes. But God goes even further than that, to say that we are all sinners – myself included.”

Franklin Graham gives a blessing next to US President Donald Trump at the White House

Franklin Graham gives a blessing next to US President Donald Trump at the White House (ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Graham added: “My message to all people is that they can be forgiven and they can have a right relationship with God. That’s Good News.

“That is the hope people on every continent around the world are searching for. In the UK as well as in the United States, we have religious freedom and freedom of speech.

“I’m not coming to the UK to speak against anybody, I’m coming to speak for everybody. The Gospel is inclusive. I’m not coming out of hate, I’m coming out of love.”

Franklin Graham: Gay people are the enemy and Pete Buttigieg will face eternal damnation.

The comments mark a departure from Graham’s explicitly anti-LGBT+ messages over the past year.

The Trump ally has targeted gay Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, who he has insisted will face “eternal damnation”.

In a Facebook post targeting Buttigieg, he wrote: “God’s word defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised, or politicised. The Bible defines marriage as between a man and a woman – not two men, not two women.”

The preacher, who has declared that gay people are “the enemy” of civilisation, also blamed same-sex couples flouting God’s will for a rise in sexually transmitted diseases.

Ste Dunn, chair of Northern Pride, said: “Franklin Graham’s views are wholly inconsistent with our city, which is preparing to welcome huge celebrations and tens of thousands of people this summer for UK Pride.

“We hope that Utilita Arena will show their support for the LGBT+ community by following the example set by other cities and cancelling his event in June.”