- The hospital was supposed to save lives during COVID-19 but the hate preacher insisted his staff oppose same-sex marriage.
New York City is closing down a tent hospital in Central Park which insisted all staff oppose same-sex marriage.
Samaritan’s Purse, headed by anti-LGBT+ preacher Franklin Graham, set up the tent hospital at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis.
But now the city has told them to leave.
The tent hospital in Central Park closed to new patients yesterday (4 May). It will then be disinfected and dismantled. The eight patients currently receiving treatment at the site will move elsewhere.
Graham’s use of the hospital to further his anti-LGBT+ agenda and evangelize has been controversial from the start.
Now New York’s leaders are saying he’s no longer welcome.
State senator Brad Hoylman told Graham to ‘pack up his tents and leave New York City for good’.
Statement promised ‘damnation and eternal punishment’
NYC mayor Bill de Blaiso said Samaritan’s Purse assured him they would not discriminate when they set up the hospital.
However, the group has exploited disasters to evangelize in the past. And this time was no exception.
Graham forced all medical volunteers to sign a belief statement.
This statement says marriage should only be between men and women. And it says unrighteous people should end up suffering ‘damnation and eternal punishment’ in hell.
Meanwhile Samaritan’s Purse themselves filmed videos showing Bible verses stuck to medical equipment and written over face masks at the hospital. They brought in a film crew to record sermons and evangelist videos.
‘An affront to our values of inclusion’
New York City council speaker Corey Johnson, who is gay, said:
‘It is time for Samaritan’s Purse to leave New York City. This group, which is led by the notoriously bigoted, hate-spewing Franklin Graham, came at a time when our city couldn’t in good conscience turn away any offer of help. That time has passed.
‘Their continued presence here is an affront to our values of inclusion, and is painful for all New Yorkers who care deeply about the LGBT+ community.’
Johnson said healthcare workers still need support and the city is committed to protecting citizens’ health. However he added:
‘As a city that values diversity and compassion for all, we cannot continue to allow a group with the track record of Samaritan’s Purse to remain here when we are past the point they are needed.’
Samaritan’s Purse tried to set up another hospital in the city in April in a cathedral. But the dean of The Cathedral of St John the Divine objected to Graham’s views.
The dean was prepared to work with them to save lives despite their agenda. But in the end the two organizations reached an impasse.
‘God knows the number of our days’
Meanwhile, Graham hasn’t stopped using the pandemic to preach.
Graham is famous as one of Donald Trump’s favorite preachers. Indeed he spoke at the president’s inauguration. Now he has accused the ‘media and liberal politicians’ of trying to use the virus to destroy Trump.
Moreover, he has shown what a good ally he is by backing the presidents’ call for the US economy to reopen despite the ongoing coronavirus threat.
In a Facebook post he called for people to keep social distancing and handwashing. But he said:
‘No matter how negative the reports are from the media and liberal politicians who want to use the coronavirus to destroy President Donald J Trump, if we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we don’t have to be afraid.
‘God made us. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives, and He knows the number of our days.’