Sheffield Mayor Dan Jarvis criticises controversial preacher Franklin Graham ahead of FlyDSA Arena appearance

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis has weighed in on the debate over controversial preacher Franklin Graham’s appearance in Sheffield.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 5:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 12:05 pm

Graham will speak at the FlyDSA Arena this June as part of a nationwide UK tour.

The Christian evangelist has previously branded homosexuality a ‘sin’, has spoken out against plans to ban gay conversion therapy and reportedly called Islam an ‘evil and very wicked religion’.

Pete Wilcox, the Bishop of Sheffield, has called Mr Graham’s comments “inflammatory” and branded the upcoming show on June 6 a “risk to the social cohesion of our city.”

Franklin Graham

In a statement, Dan Jarvis said: “Sheffield is a city of sanctuary. We welcome people from all backgrounds, irrespective of race, religion, belief or their sexuality. As a city and as a region, we are proud to stand for equality, diversity, respect and compassion.”

Back in 1985, Franklin Graham’s father Billy preached for seven consectutive nights at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium, sending out his message to more than 300,000 people during the week-long stint.

Mr Jarvis added: “I believe in free speech and of the right to freedom of expression, within the parameters of the law. But I also believe in people’s rights to disagree with extreme beliefs such as those preached by Franklin Graham. Intolerance cannot be welcomed here in South Yorkshire.”

The 2020 Graham tour will take in eight UK towns and cities – Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham and London.