Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian group that regularly takes advantage of humanitarian crises to spread their far-right agenda, has been revealed as the charity behind a tent hospital that has been erected in New York City’s Central Park.
Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, leads the group. Graham’s history of vicious attacks on LGBTQ people and Muslims spurred several British venues to cancel contracts with his ministry earlier this year.
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Samaritan’s Purse has specifically been recruiting Christian volunteers to work in their 68-bed respiratory unit. But before being accepted, they’re required to adhere to the group’s statement of faith.
While nine of the 11 statements are theological, the other two are about abortion and LGBTQ people.
Volunteers have to agree that transgender people don’t exist, same-sex marriage is a sin, and gay people should be celibate or risk “damnation and eternal punishment.”
“We believe God’s plan for human sexuality is to be expressed only within the context of marriage, that God created man and woman as unique biological persons made to complete each other,” the ninth item reads. “God instituted monogamous marriage between male and female as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.”
“Our record on human rights is clear; and we are confident that the joint effort by Mt. Sinai and Samaritan’s Purse will save New Yorkers’ lives while adhering to the values we hold dear by providing care to anyone who needs it, regardless of background,” Jane Meyer, a spokesperson for City Hall, told Gothamist after the outlet questioned whether the mayor’s office thought the group’s background was “problematic.”
“COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, and neither should Franklin Graham. It’s unacceptable that a New Yorker infected with COVID-19 could be subjected to discriminatory treatment from an organization whose leader calls us ‘immoral’ and ‘detestable’,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D) said in a statement to LGBTQ Nation.
“Today I’m calling on Franklin Graham to publicly assure LGBTQ New Yorkers that they will receive the same treatment as anyone else at the Central Park field hospital,” he continued.
“Sadly, beggars can’t be choosers: New York needs every ventilator we can get. But homophobic pastor Franklin Graham and his field hospital operation in Central Park must guarantee all LGBTQ patients with COVID-19 are treated with dignity and respect.”
If you are a Christian doctor, nurse, paramedic, or other medical professional interested in serving COVID-19 patients in our @SamaritansPurse Emergency Field Hospital in NYC, please visit https://t.co/EEw1jNtrrk. pic.twitter.com/5i7EeKxLDi
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) March 29, 2020
Graham has a long history of anti-LGBTQ statements and actions. Last year, he said that out Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg was flaunting his sexuality.
“God’s Word defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised, or politicized,” Graham wrote on Facebook.
He also questioned Buttigieg’s Christian faith, saying that the then South Bend, Indiana mayor “also says that he’s a Christian and wants to become the first openly gay president in America’s history…. The Bible makes it very clear that homosexuality is a sin.”
He has also said that parents should pull their children out of public schools if those schools don’t teach that “homosexuality goes against God’s plan for the human race.”