Evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham condemned New York political allies of LGBTQ lobbying groups who are attempting to debate Christian marriage beliefs at a time when the work of all charitable organizations is needed.
Graham posted to Facebook Tuesday that, on Easter Sunday, as the New York death toll from the COVID-19 infection climbed higher, “some New York officials and a special interest group have expressed concerns or outright opposition to the presence of Samaritan’s Purse and our field hospital in Central Park.”
Last week, LGBTQ lobbying group Accountable for Equality launched an attack on Graham and his Samaritan’s Purse Christian outreach organization, accusing him and his group of “putting New Yorkers’ lives on the line” by urging Christians who hold to one man-one woman marriage to join the effort to help those affected by the coronavirus crisis.
In his Facebook post, Graham wrote that, in response to the pandemic in New York, Samaritan’s Purse “erected a 14-tent, 68-bed emergency field hospital in Central Park, staffed by a team of more than 70 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel and relief specialists.”
“This respiratory care unit, which includes 10 ICU beds equipped with ventilators has admitted 119 patients during our first two weeks of operation,” he explained:
While so many have expressed their appreciation and support, sadly some New York officials and a special interest group have expressed concerns or outright opposition to the presence of Samaritan’s Purse and our field hospital in Central Park. They include:
- Eight Democratic members of New York’s Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.
- New York City Commission on Human Rights
- Reclaim Pride Coalition
Ross Murray, senior director of LGBTQ lobbyists GLAAD Media Institute, wrote on March 31:
I don’t trust Franklin Graham to help those in need in the LGBTQ community. I’ve seen far too many anti-LGBTQ activists like Graham ignore the suffering of LGBTQ people. In this instance, Graham is capitalizing upon a crisis to inflict more pain and suffering on an already marginalized population. He has stated, loudly and proudly, too many times that the LGBTQ community is a threat for me to want to place my life, or the lives of people l love and care about, in his hands.
Graham asserted these politicians and organizations are using the coronavirus crisis to continue their criticism of Christian belief in traditional marriage.
“[W]e don’t believe this is the time or place to wage this debate,” he wrote:
Samaritan’s Purse is a decidedly Christian private relief organization, funded almost entirely by individuals around the world who share our passion for providing aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution—and doing so in Jesus’ Name. It seems tone-deaf to be attacking our religious conviction about marriage at the very moment thousands of New Yorkers are fighting for their lives and dozens of Samaritan’s Purse workers are placing their lives at risk to provide critical medical care.
Graham explained that, while Samaritan’s Purse paid staff is asked to subscribe to a statement of faith that includes belief in one man-one woman marriage, the organization has “never asked any of the millions of people we have served to subscribe to anything.”
In other words, as a religious charity, while we lawfully hire staff who share our Christian beliefs, we do not discriminate in who we serve. We have provided billions of dollars of medical care and supplies, food and water, and emergency shelter without any conditions whatsoever. Our Christian faith compels us—like the biblical Good Samaritan—to love and serve everyone in need, regardless of their faith or background.
Graham said he and Samaritan’s Purse do not object to criticism of their Christian beliefs, since it is part of life in a country that “cherishes freedom of speech and religion”:
What we do object to is being harassed into diverting precious resources of time and energy and personnel away from serving COVID-19 patients in New York City in order to respond to demands for documents and other information from eight Democratic members of Congress, the Human Rights Commission and the Reclaim Pride Coalition—all while the death toll in New York continues to climb.
“If any of these groups had funded and erected their own emergency field hospitals to serve COVID-19 patients in Central Park,” Graham added, “we would join what we believe would be most New Yorkers—and Americans—in applauding and praying for them, not harassing them.”