The Cardiff City Council cancelled a civic reception for internationally renowned evangelist Luis Palau because of his "extreme evangelical beliefs."

The cancellation was prompted by Welsh Assembly Government Member Lorraine Barrett's attack on Palau for his stance on homosexuality and other religions. "To fund such an event for a figure who holds extreme views on sensitive social issues is, in my opinion, a terrible way of spending public money," Barrett said. "I am very concerned at some of the views espoused by Mr. Palau, which are very narrow and critical of anyone who does not follow his evangelical beliefs. I think he is a right-wing reactionary individual. I also think it is dodgy mixing religion and politics in this way. I think he and people like Billy Graham exploit vulnerable people."

Palau, who was in Cardiff for the Welsh Revival Centenary Celebrations, expressed deep disappointment with the decision, and said an unknown person spread misinformation about his beliefs. He also criticized a growing attitude in Britain and Europe that suggests anyone who believes in Jesus must be "intellectually moronic or extremist."

"The person who said this obviously had a destructive purpose," Palau said. "I can see no other reason for this. On my call shows, we respond to questions from gays and lesbians. I talk to them and often pray with them. I have nothing but the utmost respect."

Palau described the decision as "anti-Christian fundamentalism."

According to the Operation World prayer guide, since the Welsh Revival of 1904-05, the region of 2.9 million people has experienced the highest rate of church closings and the largest decline of church attendance in the United Kingdom.

A spokesman for Lord Mayor Jacqui Gasson said, "The Council had to take a difficult decision, and after considering all options and a great number of viewpoints, it was felt best to withdraw from this occasion."

Nigel James, one of the centenary event organizers, expressed disappointment with the council for not checking with them about Palau. "All Luis is doing is holding to conventional, orthodox Christianity as understood for the past 2,000 years."

Related Elsewhere:

The Luis Palau Evangelistic Association has more information about its ministry.

New elsewhere on the decision includes:

Luis Palau in UK for 100th Anniversary of Welsh Revival | This weekend marks an extraordinary historical date for Welsh people in the UK: the centenary of the 1904 Welsh Revival. Churches in Wales are joining hands to organise the celebration with a heart of rejoice. Running from Friday 29th October until Sunday 31st October, a series of special events - 04theCity - will be held at Cardiff International Arena. (Christian Today, UK, Oct. 27 , 2004)
Let 'anti-gay' bishop speak say readers | Controversial American preacher Luis Palau should not have been turned away from Cardiff because of his "anti-gay" views. That's the overwhelming reaction of Echo readers to Cardiff council's decision to withdraw a civic reception which Mr Palau was due to attend next week. (icWales, Oct 20 2004)
Anti-gay preacher told he's not welcome | Controversial American preacher Luis Palau has been told he is not welcome in Cardiff because of his "anti-gay" views. (icWales, Oct 19 2004)

Other Christianity Today articles about Luis Palau include:

Beach Blanket Rebirth | Luis Palau to take Fort Lauderdale spring break festival nationwide. (Jan. 16, 2003)
Downtown Evangelism Makes a Comeback | Luis Palau "tweaks" crusade model into evangelistic festivals. (Dec. 21, 2000)
Evangelistic Circus in a Box | Festival con Dios links with Palau organization to expand work of proclamation. (Oct. 01, 2002)
Palau Crusade Last in Hong Kong? | Evangelist Luis Palau, holding the last evangelistic crusade in Hong Kong before the British colony reverts to Chinese sovereignty, preached a message of hope to those facing an uncertain future. (May 19, 1997)

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