Now Reading
Icelanders book out event by anti-gay US evangelist to protest his views

Icelanders book out event by anti-gay US evangelist to protest his views

Pro-LGBT Icelanders have booked hundreds of tickets to see anti-gay US evangelist Franklin Graham – but few have any intention of actually going to see him.

Graham will be in Iceland for events on 28 and 29 September for the evangelical Christian Festival of Hope but many Icelanders have expressed concern about his homophobic views.

In May of 2012 Graham released a statement accusing US President Barack Obama of shaking ‘his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage.’

‘It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more … This is a sad day for America. May God help us.’

Opponents of the visit discovered they could book up to four tickets to both events for free online, while by contacting organizers they could book for groups of 20 or more, and decided to book out the event and then not go in protest of Graham’s message.

‘I got 4 tickets to go on both days,’ Lily Smith posted to Facebook.

‘The seats will be left empty and I hope that more people were able to get tickets … so that [no] people attend this ridiculous meeting.’

‘Got a source for 4 tickets! Cool gathering with national church that I’m certain to miss,’ Heida Kristin Helgadóttir posted online.

According to the International Business Times, software developer Elvar Thormar posted on Facebook that he had been able to reserve as many as 500 tickets to the event despite having no intention of showing up.

Both events that Graham will speak at had sold out by Friday.

Iceland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church has also distanced itself from the event – and has expressed concern that the way organizers have promoted the event makes it appear it has their blessing.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland has been debating whether to perform same-sex marriages in churches although it has blessed same-sex couples since 1999.

Iceland is one of the most LGBT friendly countries in the world and Icelandic voters elected Johanna Sigurdardottir – the world’s first openly gay or lesbian head of state – in 2009. She retired in April of this year.

Reykjavik mayor Jón Gnarr recently threatened to cut off political and cultural ties with Moscow over Russia’s treatment of LGBTs.

Franklin Graham is the son of legendary US evangelist Billy Graham.