A CONTROVERSIAL US evangelical preacher is persisting in legal action against his axed Hydro event in what he has described as “spiritual warfare” – despite uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus.

A number of high-profile events at the 13,000-seater venue have recently been postponed as a result of the pandemic, which has infected more than 200 people in Scotland so far.

Franklin Graham was due to perform at the Hydro on May 30, but on January 31 venue bosses axed the event after pressure from its primary shareholder, Glasgow City Council.

Anger had previously been mounting towards Graham from his past comments made about gay rights and Islam, and his support for Donald Trump, despite the US President’s adultery.

READ MORE: Hydro ‘snubs’ legal action by US preacher Franklin Graham over event axe

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), which runs the Franklin Graham Tour, launched legal action against the Hydro and other locations in England and Wales that also cancelled his event. 

And the Glasgow Times can today confirm they still plan to “pursue a resolution” with the Hydro to give people a “message of hope” – but admit the dates may have to be postponed due to the virus.

Addressing his followers online, Mr Graham said: “It has become evident that this Gospel outreach is under attack.

“This is spiritual warfare, and we’re not going to back down. 

“We are going to preach this message in all the cities we planned to visit. God hasn’t called us to sit back and be quiet”.

He added: “We should be concerned about the rise of secularism and the potential suppression of religious freedom and freedom of speech in the UK.

“I will never sit back quietly and let the government or any other power – silence the church and prevent the preaching of God’s Word.”

READ MORE: US preacher Franklin Graham begins legal action against Glasgow's Hydro

The Hydro is not the only venue to cancel the Graham tour – with locations in Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield, Birmingham, Newport, Milton Keynes and London all axing their events.

The Hydro came under fierce pressure from locals ahead of cancelling the event – with many expressing discontent with Franklin Graham’s views.

In 2016, Graham accused LGBT activists of “trying to cram down America’s throat the lie that homosexuality is OK”, and said anti-discrimination laws in the US would mean that “your children, and your grandchildren, will be at risk to sexual predators and perverts”.

Last year he criticised presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for being a self-described gay Christian.

He stated that the Bible defines homosexuality as “something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicised”.

Confirming their plans to persist with legal action, the BGEA said: “The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has been closely monitoring the coronavirus since the outbreak began. 

“During this time of uncertainty, people need a message of hope, so BGEA is committed to pursuing a resolution with The Hydro SSE and the other venues that were scheduled to host the Graham Tour. 

“We hope the events will be held as planned, whether they are on the original dates or if needed, at a later time.”

A statement from the SEC released when they cancelled the Franklin Graham Tour event reads: “The booking for this event was processed in the same way we would for any religious concert of this nature and as a business we remain impartial to the individual beliefs of both our clients and visitors.

“However, we are aware of the recent adverse publicity surrounding this tour and have reviewed this with our partners and stakeholders.

“Following a request from our principal shareholder the matter has been considered and a decision made that we should not host this event.”