Blackpool Tower will light up in rainbow colors this weekend to ‘welcome’ US anti-LGBTI preacher Franklin Graham.
The coastal location in northern England will host the US conservative evangelical with links to Donald Trump. Graham also has a history of homophobic, transphobic and Islamophobic comments.
He is due to be the principal speaker at Lancashire Festival of Hope which kicks off tomorrow (Friday 21 September).
His visit has raised concerns among the LGBTI community that is planning alternative events for the duration of the festival.
LGBTI groups and local churches are teaming up
Together with the rainbow lights, a rainbow flag will also fly from the tower.
‘The council is a strong supporter of all equalities issues and we use the rainbow flag and its derivatives on a regular basis to demonstrate that support across the whole year,’ a council spokesperson said.
LGBTI groups and local churches rejecting Graham are organizing an event called Rainbow Weekend.
The weekend includes a parade featuring Big Jesus, a four-meter-tall carnival model of Jesus wearing a rainbow sash. The model will go through the town center and holding services specifically for LGBTIs.
Franklin Graham is the son of evangelist Billy
The son of late evangelist Billy Graham, Franklin followed in his father’s footsteps.
He often uses his father’s website to spread anti-LGBTI messages. Recently, he claimed that Putin ‘is right’ for his treatment of LGBTI people. He then went on to praise Russia’s president for taking ‘a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda’.