VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A controversial American pastor known for his comments about Muslims, people of colour and gays and lesbians will be headlining a festival in Vancouver next week, and the city’s mayor is asking him to stay home.
Franklin Graham, the son of TV evangelist Billy Graham, will be speaking at an event expected to draw thousands of people to Rogers Arena March 3-5.
Mayor Gregor Robertson has asked the festival to drop Graham for what he calls “extraordinarily derogative” comments.
Graham has called Islam “evil”, believing immigration from mainly Muslim countries represents a security threat to the United States.
He has also said transgender people being allowed to use washrooms for the gender they identify with are “wicked and evil,” and that the use of same-sex couples in advertising is a “tide of moral decay.”
“I tell people I’m not afraid of homosexuals. In fact, I love them,” Franklin told a Christian conference in Washington, DC two years ago. “I love them enough to care to warn them that if they want to continue living like this, it is the flames of hell for you!”
Despite Mayor Robertson’s call for the Festival of Hope to cancel Graham’s appearance, a spokesman tells The Globe and Mail he will be in Vancouver next week.