Petition launched after Sheffield Bishop refuses to back Evangelist speaker’s UK tour

27 February 2020

A free speech petition was recently launched after Pete Wilcox’s refusal to support Evangelist Franklin Graham’s visit to Sheffield as part of his Graham Tour.

The statement released by the Sheffield Bishop described Mr Graham’s use of language “unnecessarily inflammatory” as well as being “a risk to the social cohesion of our city”.

The petition titled “Allow diversity and free speech in Sheffield” is requesting that Franklin Graham be allowed to tour freely stating that “we do not deny one another the right to think and speak differently.”

Mr Graham has previously received backlash when visiting the UK due to his comments on Islam and homosexuality.

Jon Watts, the creator of this petition, said: “We agree and trust that the table of debate in Sheffield is big enough to give people space to share different opinions even if they are offensive” but called on Sheffield City Council to “uphold their commitment to equality, free speech and religious freedom”.

He went on to ask both the Sheffield Council and Sheffield City Trust to “outline clearly their censorship policy as the precedent that has just been set will affect books, faith groups, comedians and anyone else who may give offence with their speech within the law.”

The petition has currently almost reached its first goal of 500 signatures.

Written by Eva Ambler-Thomas

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