Scottish Church and Billy Graham Ministry asked to vacate building over biblical beliefs


The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Stirling Free Church in Scotland have filed a lawsuit against Robertson Trust, one of Scotland's largest charitable trusts. The reason was for attempted discrimination over their religious beliefs on same-sex marriage.

According to the Christian Institute, Robertson Trust cancelled a contract with the evangelical organization which uses its Barracks Conference Centre for training events and Sunday worship services. 

Reports have it that the chairwoman of Robertson Trust,  Shonaig Macpherson, does not align with the church's biblical belief that marriage is only between man and woman. Hence, it ended their contract.

In his response, Rev. Iain MacAskill of the Stirling Free Church said, "We are a thriving church that welcomes all people and preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were shocked to be told we could no longer use the Barracks for our Sunday services. 

The Stirling Free Church believes marriage is between a man and a woman – a mainstream Christian belief shared with the Church of Scotland and the Church of England. We have had no other option but to resort to legal action."

The Christian Institute is coordinating legal proceedings and the case is slated for this week in Glasgow Sheriff Court.

BGEA's Robert Chilvers stated that a room was booked for a training course at the Barracks for churches that are participating in its UK evangelical tour. He said that the purpose of using the venue was clearly stated. However, the Robert Trust turned around to terminate the booking because of their faith. 

Besides, the space is a neutral one and various people are allowed to book it. He admitted that it is unfair when religious organizations are prohibited from renting neutral spaces. This does not make it a free society. Instead, it shows that it is supports anti-religious discrimination.

Nevertheless, they are hopeful that their claim will be upheld by the court and the inequity evident in the case will be seen. Also, Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute affirmed that religious organizations are permitted to express their belief.

"Scotland's biggest grant-making Trust pride themselves on serving the community. But at the heart of the community are lots of religious groups which exist to express their faith. Do they not count?" he asked.

He concluded by saying that it is now obvious that Robertson Trust holds some hostility on Christian beliefs concerning marriage. However, these beliefs have the covering of equality and human rights law. 

‘’The courts have ruled again and again that you can't discriminate against people just for believing in traditional marriage," Calvert concluded.

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