Challenging MP on LGBTQ+ issues
Dear Sir, — One in five LGBTQ+ people, within the last 12 months, have experienced either a hate crime or hate incident. One in five.
Based on population statistics from 2016, that’s a staggering 565,000 people. Let that number sink in. That’s roughly half the population of Cheshire — all being attacked for who they are.
Imagine if you were attacked for having brown hair, or blue eyes. It’s who you are, yet you’re being discriminated against over it and treated as if you are lesser. This is not acceptable. Especially not in a society such as ours that prides itself on freedoms such as the freedom of expression.
It is on this basis that we ask our MP, Fiona Bruce, why she has been speaking in favour of the highly homophobic, Islamophobic and sexist group, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and its president Franklin Graham.
This backing of said organisation was done in Parliament, during LGBTQ+ history month, in response to Franklin Graham’s UK tour being cancelled because, to quote Franklin himself, he believes “marriage is between a man and a woman and that homosexuality is a sin”.
Note how Franklin says he believes “homosexuality is a sin”.
This is a theme found throughout his many articles and website, along with messages supporting gay conversion therapy, against abortion and comparing homosexuality to a “moral 9/11”.
Fiona Bruce believes these messages deserve a platform and should be respected in the name of “tolerance”.
To quote Fiona Bruce, she asked in the Commons whether “we can really call ourselves a tolerant, inclusive and diverse society that respects freedom of speech, whatever one’s religion or beliefs, if we deny the Billy Graham Association a platform in this country?”
In response, can we really call ourselves “a tolerant, inclusive and diverse society” if we deny people their rights to marriage, as Fiona Bruce has done repeatedly in Parliament during votes in 2013, 2014 and 2019, and allow people a platform, and the ability, to discriminate and attack the LGBTQ+ community?
More recently, Fiona Bruce defended, and even went so far as to say she was proud of, her voting record on gay marriage at the hustings in November.
She also refused to offer support for various LGBTQ+ events when asked about them, their positives and whether she would attend them.
How can Fiona Bruce talk of diversity and tolerance while refusing to support, or acknowledge the rights of, an entire community of 2.7m people in the UK? We agree people have a right to their opinion and we shouldn’t blanket “no-platform” them, as then we become as bad as them, but when an MP calls for this group to be given a large platform to speak on without any consequences for the hate they are preaching, while failing to support or attend events providing education and solidarity on the matter, that is what makes this so bad.
Fiona Bruce calls for a platform for a hate group while failing to provide or support the provision of education/support around LGBTQ+ issues, nor does she help provide a voice in the LGBTQ+ community. This allows hate groups to grow and grow and grow, without anyone showing them that these people they are attacking are just that, people. They love just like us, the only difference is why they love.
It is on this matter we would like to ask Fiona Bruce to show her support and backing of the various LGBTQ+ groups within Congleton and promise her attendance at local Pride/LGBTQ+ events.
We’d also like her to clarify her beliefs regarding the LGBTQ+ community and whether she recognises their rights to live, love and marry, among the many other rights they are entitled to, and not be subjected to abuse and discrimination. — Yours faithfully,
As we report on our church page, Mrs Bruce has criticised venues that have refused to host meetings for evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the famous Billy.
All the venues booked for Mr Graham’s planned eight-city 2020 UK tour cancelled his booking after protests by LGBTQ+ activists, petitions and requests from local councils.
Mr Graham has defended Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “gay propaganda” law and praised the Russian leader for “protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda”. He also spoke against a bill proposing to ban conversion therapy, referring to homosexuality as “an abomination”. He claimed that Barack Obama “allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to become part of the US government” and has referred to Islam as “a very evil and wicked religion”.
Billy Graham himself regarded homosexuality as a sin, and “a sinister form of perversion”, although he rowed back from a comment he made that Aids might be a “judgment” from God.
On freedom of speech, Amnesty International UK says: “Freedom of speech and the right to freedom of expression applies to ideas of all kinds including those that may be deeply offensive. But it comes with responsibilities and we believe it can be legitimately restricted. Governments have an obligation to prohibit hate speech and incitement. Restrictions can also be justified if they protect specific public interest or the rights and reputations of others. People imposing the restrictions (whether they are governments, employers or anyone else) must be able to demonstrate the need for them, and they must be proportionate. Any restrictions must not be based on a single tradition or religion and must not discriminate against anyone living in a particular country. Protecting abstract concepts, religious beliefs or other beliefs or the sensibilities of people that believe them is not grounds for restricting freedom of speech.”