Samaritan's Purse is the Evangelical humanitarian aid organization behind the emergency pop-up coronavirus hospital that's set up shop in Central Park to help with overflow from other health facilities, specifically New York's Mount Sinai. In addition to the 14 tent, 68-bed field hospital in New York, the group also dispatched 60 disaster response specialists with 20 tons of medical equipment to help address the disaster response in Cremona, Italy.
On the surface level, this is largely good; hospitals are crowded and medical workers are overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But it gets complicated when you factor in the group's founder: Franklin Graham, son of the infamous Evangelical fire-and-brimstone preacher Billy Graham. And lest you were hoping that the Graham apple had fallen far from the tree, Franklin is in fact a bit of an Endtimes Obsessive, who of course has a history of saying terrible things about Islam (particularly as it relates to Barack Obama) as well as Hinduism. Unsurprisingly, he's a hardcore Trumper, too, as well as an advocate for the s0-called gay conversion therapy that is unquestionably a form a psychological abuse. He's even praised Putin's anti-LGBTQ authoritarianism. In Franklin Graham's own words from 2014:
It’s obvious that President Obama and his administration are pushing the gay-lesbian agenda in America today and have sold themselves completely to that which is contrary to God’s teaching.
Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue—protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda—Russia’s standard is higher than our own?
In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues. Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.
As such, it's perhaps unsurprising that Graham requires all the volunteers and employees at the Samaritan's Purse field hospitals to sign morality pledges in order to be deemed morally fit to help save lives. But this pledge is no Hippocratic Oath. As The New York Times reported (in the 21st paragraph of a larger article) that, "Its employees must endorse a Statement of Faith that opposes same-sex marriage."
In response, Graham has of course claimed to be the victim of discrimination, and has insisted that, "We do not make distinctions about an individual's religion, race, sexual orientation, or economic status. We certainly do not discriminate, and we have a decades-long track record that confirms just that." But given the decades-long track record illustrated above, those words don't exactly inspire comfort.
Treating Coronavirus in a Central Park ‘Hot Zone’ [Sheri Fink / The New York Times]
Image: Public Domain via Sgt. James Harvey / US Indo-Pacific Command