Anti-LGBT group is running a Central Park pop-up hospital

Samaritan's Purse
Anti-LGBT Group Running Central Park Hospital

Samaritan’s Purse has regularly taken advantage of humanitarian crises…

Samaritan’s Purse, a rabidly anti-LGBT evangelical Christian group, has set up a temporary field hospital in iconic Central Park. The temporary hospital is a respiratory unit, to help New York City combat bed shortages amidst the rampant spread of COVID-19.

The group has regularly taken advantage of humanitarian crises in order to further their ultra-conservative, far-right agenda. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, is the head of Samaritan’s Purse and has a history of attacks on LGBTQ people, as well as those of the Muslim faith. An ally to Donald Trump, Graham’s list of attacks against the LGBTQ community includes the “homosexual agenda” and the “transgender lie” while calling Islam “wicked and evil.”

The group specifically recruited Christian volunteers to staff the 68-bed respiratory unit, with requirements that they adhere to the group’s statement of faith.

Nine of the 11 statements of faith are theological, but two deal with abortion and the LGBTQ community. Volunteers are required 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.” Graham sent out a Tweet specifying that the group was looking for a Christian doctor, nurse, paramedic, or other medical professionals to work at the Central Park unit.

“COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, and neither should Franklin Graham,” State Senator Brad Hoylman said in a statement to LGBTQ Nation. “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.’ 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. 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.”

Amid growing concerns that not all New Yorkers will be treated equally, Mayor Bill de Blasio made assurances that the city would closely monitor the Samaritan’s Purse operation. On Tuesday, de Blasio had spoken to Mount Sinai Hospital CEO Dr. Ken Davis, who told the Mayor the group had signed a written pledge to treat all patients equally. The Central Park unit would handle overflow patients from Mount Sinai.