AMERICAN Evangelist Franklin Graham is to preach at a Newport venue, two years after a scheduled appearance was cancelled.

The controversial Christian missionary has also repeated his view that “homosexuality is a sin” in a radio interview ahead of his planned UK tour. 

The son of famed Baptist minister Billy Graham, and friend of former US president Donald Trump, was due to speak at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Wales in Newport in June 2020. 

South Wales Argus: Then president Donald Trump with Franklin Graham, right, at a service in January 2018 following his father Billy's death. The Evangelical preacher is set to hold an event at the ICC Wales in Newport.Then president Donald Trump with Franklin Graham, right, at a service in January 2018 following his father Billy's death. The Evangelical preacher is set to hold an event at the ICC Wales in Newport.

But in January that year, the ICC, following criticism from local politicians, announced it had cancelled the event and the booking would “no longer be fulfilled”.  

Mr Graham's comments that “homosexuality is a sin” also led to the cancellation of events in Liverpool and Glasgow, although the pandemic ultimately meant the 2020 tour couldn’t go ahead. 

At the time, Jayne Bryant, MS for Newport West, and council leader Jane Mudd, accused the preacher of a “long record of preaching hate, prejudice and intolerance.” 

However it has now been confirmed Mr Graham is to visit the city as part of his God Loves You Tour, and his website states the free event will be held at the ICC on May 21. 

Mr Graham was interviewed at length for this week's edition of BBC Radio Wales’ religious affairs programme, All Things Considered, and was asked about his views that have created controversy. 

Presenter Roy Jenkins challenged Mr Graham on his views on sexuality and Islam and his endorsement of Donald Trump – who the 69-year-old has described as “defending the Christian faith more than any other president in my lifetime.” 

Mr Graham has previously said that “God says that homosexuality is a sin” while a press release, issued ahead of his new tour, stated that his organisation understands “balancing various community interests, particularly in today’s diverse society, can present complex challenges”. 

On the programme he was asked how that would affect what he says at his meetings. 

Mr Graham replied: “We’re not preaching against any group of people, we’re talking about God and his love for us.”. 

He added: “There are things the Bible is very clear about that are sin” and also said: “that everyone who has ever been born is born into sin.” 

He said to “come to Christ” people have to turn away from sin and said: “The Bible makes it very clear that homosexuality is a sin, just like stealing. It doesn’t mean homosexuals are bigger sinners than others, we’re all guilty of sin and we have to repent and turn from those sins.” 

South Wales Argus: Franklin Graham preaching.Franklin Graham preaching.

He was also asked about calling Islam a “very evil and wicked religion” and whether he had “tempered” his view and if he would “express it in the same way”. 

Mr Graham said: “I don’t think I’d express it the same way but I believe Jesus Christ to be the only way to God, the Muslims believe something different and I respect their right to believe what they want to believe and I hope they respect our right to our faith.” 

He added that an iman had wanted to embrace him, after coming to hear him speaking “hoping” he would say something offensive and said: “I wasn’t there to preach against Muslims and I’m not here to preach against gays or anyone else.” 

It was also put to Mr Graham that one of his own nieces had described Donald Trump as having encouraged “racism, sexism, intolerance, exactly what Jesus taught against”. 

Asked if “lining up” with particular politicians was “tricky” the Evangelist replied: “First of all, Donald Trump was not a politician, he was a businessman, and what was refreshing about him was if he said he was going to do something - that’s what he did.” 

South Wales Argus: The late Billy Graham at Celtic Park, Glasgow in 1991.The late Billy Graham at Celtic Park, Glasgow in 1991.

Mr Graham, speaking from his home in North Carolina, added: “His policies benefitted this country.” 

He also said he didn’t know of “one politician that lived the life Jesus taught and lived” but said of Mr Trump: “I don’t disagree with people about the things he said and did, I disagreed with a lot of those things and I told him, privately not publicly, and privately things that Jesus taught and his words were contrary to what Jesus taught.” 

In January 2020 ICC Wales said Mr Graham’s event had been cancelled as it felt comments brought to its attention were “incompatible” with its “values”. 

The statement said: “The Graham Tour UK event which was scheduled to take place at ICC Wales on 14th June 2020 has been cancelled. 

"As a venue, our policy is to remain impartial to the individual beliefs of both our clients and visitors but, over the past week, we have been made aware of a number of views held and comments made by the Graham organisation which are incompatible with our own values of equality, diversity and inclusivity. Opposition to this event has come from numerous sources, and from across the community. 


"As a result of this, we can no longer reconcile the balance between freedom of speech and the divisive impact this event is having in our community. We have informed the organisers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled. 

"ICC Wales is proud to represent all communities and looks forward to hosting events of all sizes, promoting Wales as a destination for business events, and bringing huge benefits to the visitor economy." 

ICC Wales was approached for comment. 

  • This article originally appeared on our sister site The National.