LGBTQ activists and liberal politicians have taken turns bashing a Christian charitable organization who set up a field hospital in New York City to help treat COVID-19 patients.
The Samaritan’s Purse, run by Franklin Graham, had erected a 70-bed hospital in NYC’s Central Park. The makeshift facility is staffed by about 70 medical personnel from Mount Sinai Hospital who’ve donated their time and skills to help the sick.
"This is what we do," Graham told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday. "We can treat just about anything that comes in there that we need to as far as their lungs are concerned. This is a desperate situation, this coronavirus, and we've got people there that have experienced dealing with infectious diseases."
But despite the fact that the Samaritan's Purse is helping treat the ill and has received no complaints of having discriminated against anyone seeking treatment, Graham’s organization, one of the largest charitable groups in the country, has nevertheless come under fire because it subscribes to traditional Christian values, including the Biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who was busy encouraging people to continue going out in public just a month ago, has questioned whether the Samaritan’s Purse should be in New York City helping people at all, calling the group’s presence “very troubling.”
"I said immediately to my team that we had to find out exactly what was happening,” the mayor said. "Was there going to be an approach that was truly consistent with the values and the laws in New York City, that everyone would be served and served equally?"
New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman, an openly gay Democrat, questioned whether the Samaritan’s Purse could “publicly assure LGBTQ New Yorkers that they will receive the same treatment as anyone else at the Central Park field hospital,” saying the COVID-19 situation is “too delicate to leave it to televangelists, purveyors of the faith, to handle out medical needs."
In a piece sympathetically portraying a gay protester who was recently arrested for trespassing on the medical facility’s grounds and then resisting arrest, NBC News described Graham as an “anti-gay evangelist” and critiqued the Samaritan’s Purse as “an evangelical group whose leader has a long history of anti-LGBTQ beliefs.”
Graham has maintained that regardless of his or his organization’s stance on marriage, the Samaritan’s Purse does not refuse medical help based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other LGBTQ category.
"We do not make distinctions about an individual's religion, race, sexual orientation, or economic status," he stated. "We certainly do not discriminate, and we have a decades-long track record that confirms just that."
The Mount Sinai Health System confirmed just that, saying in a statement that “In short, while our organizations may have differences of opinions, when it comes to COVID-19 we are fully united: We will care for everyone and no patients or staff will be discriminated against.”