The Glasgow Sheriff’s Court in Scotland has ruled that Scottish Event Campus, operator of the Hydro Arena, did not respect the religious freedom of Christians when it cancelled the booking of the venue that was to host an event with evangelist Franklin Graham.

In 2020, the company cancelled the contract with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) after mounting pressure from LGBTQI groups and politicians who disagreed with Franklin Graham’s view on marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

“The law cannot endorse an outcome whereby a mainstream Christian religious gathering cannot be held because some members of the community, however vehemently, disagree with religiously based beliefs to which they take objection”, has now said the Glasgow court.

The ruling says Scotland Event Campus’ actions were a “thinly veiled exercise in virtue signalling” as the exhibition centre “bowed to public pressure, spurred on and whipped up by political leaders online”.

The cancellation of the venue, which forced the BGEA and its associated local churches in Scotland to cancel the event, violated the Equality Act of 2010. The court awarded BGEA with £97,325 (112.300€) .

“Objectors in a democratic society undoubtedly have a right to freedom of expression and of assembly to protest against other's religious views (…) What they do not have is a right to silence them or to stop religious assemblies from being held”, stated the 280-page sentence of the Sheriff.

Franklin Graham: “A clear victory for freedom of speech and religion in the UK”

Franklin Graham responded to the ruling saying it is “a clear victory for freedom of speech and religion in the UK”. “This case was never about financial remedies—it was about the preservation of religious freedom in the UK —particularly the right for Christians to share the Gospel in the public square”, he stressed.

According to news website Christian Today, this is the fifth successful legal challenge by the BGEA against the cancellation of all venues in Franklin Graham's 2020 evangelistic tour in the UK.


This story originally appeared at Evangelical Focus and is republished here with permission.