A pastor who will serve a key role at Donald Trump’s inauguration has claimed doctors should be free to refuse to treat trans people.
Franklin Graham, a pastor who is set to perform prayers at Donald Trump’s inauguration later this month, made the comments after a federal judge blocked anti-discrimination protections for healthcare patients
The Affordable Care Act provisions, which were set to come in on January 1, would have ensured healthcare providers in receipt of federal funds cannot reject LGBT people, enshrining specific protections for trans healthcare for the first time.
Texas judge Reed O’Connor issued an injunction to block the law, claiming it violates ‘religious freedom’ protections.
Following the decision, Graham said: “Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for transgender surgeries… and doctors who disagree—medically or because of their religious beliefs—shouldn’t be forced to perform them as Obamacare would have dictated.”
In reality, gender reassignment surgeries are highly specialised procedures that require a doctor to choose to undergo years of training and study, and it is highly inaccurate to suggest that any unwitting religious doctor might be “forced” to perform them.
The provisions would, however, have ensured that doctors could not stand in the way of their patients undergoing transition-related treatment by blocking referrals or refusing to treat them.
Graham continued to deny transgender people actually exist.
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He said: “Believe it or not, this new rule put forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defined ‘sex’ to include a state of mind, not a biological fact. Wow. It said sex means one’s “internal sense of gender which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.”
He claimed: “The country is imploding. We are seeing a moral implosion. Just like we saw the World Trade Center on 9/11 when the planes hit the tower, they imploded, they fell from within, and this is what’s happening to our country, we’re falling within.
“So many school districts now are controlled by wicked, evil people, and the gays and lesbians… I keep bringing their name up, but they are at the forefront of this attack against Christianity in America.”
Last year Graham declared gay people are ‘the enemy’, attacking churches that have become LGBT-inclusive.
In a 2015 interview with a Russian newspaper, Graham praised Vladimir Putin’s support for anti-gay laws – and claimed that homosexuals “take people’s children”.
Parroting disturbing rhetoric often used by anti-LGBT vigilantes in Russia, he said: “Homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children.”
He added: “I very much appreciate that President Putin is protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda. If only to give them the opportunity to grow up and make a decision for themselves.”
He was selected this week for Trump’s inauguration despite his slew of extremist comments. The Christmas Shoebox Appeal run by Graham’s charity continues to enjoy mainstream support in schools.