Scottish Charity to pay $26K for Canceling Church Event Bookings

                      (Franklin Graham)

The Robertson Trust, a Scottish charity has apologized to Stirling Free Church and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) for cancelling their bookings for a conference center. The action of the charity breaches the United Kingdom’s Equality Act as part of a legal settlement. 

In 2019, the charity cancelled the bookings by the church to use its conference centre in Stirling, Scotland for religious events. For their offense, they accepted to pay both parties a total of £20,000 (about $26,500) for legal expenses. 

In a statement on behalf of the organization, the Chair of the board of trustees at The Robertson Trust, Mark Batho, said that they had “inadvertently breached the Equality Act 2010.”

“The Trust’s long standing funding policy legitimately states that we do not fund or support the promotion of any particular religious or political beliefs. We recognize that in applying our funding policy to the hire of our facilities, which are available at substantially subsidized rates to charities and community groups, we inadvertently breached the Equality Act 2010,” he added.

In a statement shared by the Christian Institute, the legal group representing the two organizations, the minister of Stirling Free Church, Iain Macaskill, said that it is “against the law to advertise a venue as being available to all-comers but cancel the contract simply because the booking is for a religious event. Christians have the same legal rights as everyone else and the outcome of this case affirms that.’’

Meanwhile, head of BGEA, Franklin Graham said the resolution of the case “sends a clear message that religious freedom isn’t dead.”

Several venues in the United Kingdom had cancelled events marked to begin last May by Franklin Graham. The Trust’s Barracks Conference Center was among such venues. According to the venue, they were not comfortable with the preacher’s views on homosexuality and this was as a result of pressure it got from LGBT groups.

During the period the event was cancelled, Graham told Christianity Today, “I have been surprised… I’m not coming to speak against anybody and I don’t name any groups of people. I’m coming to tell people how they can have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.”

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