Franklin Graham says he’s being ‘harassed’ for insisting his coronavirus hospital staff oppose same-sex marriage
Anti-gay evangelist Franklin Graham has complained he’s being “harassed” for insisting that all of his coronavirus hospital staff oppose same-sex marriage.
The makeshift field hospital in New York’s Central Park is run by Graham’s Christian charity, Samaritan’s Purse. It is staffed by just over 70 medics, all of whom must sign a pledge opposing same-sex marriage before they can start work.
Graham – who has previously blamed gay people for a “moral 9/11” – justified his hospital policy by comparing LGBT+ people to drug addicts. He’s understandably been met with fierce opposition from New Yorkers, causing him to ditch plans for a second coronavirus hospital in a cathedral.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Tuesday Graham angrily complained that he’s being “harassed” by city officials, whose “tone-deaf” criticism is getting in the way of his work.
“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,” he wrote.
“They include: Eight Democratic members of New York’s Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., The New York City Commission on Human Rights, The Reclaim Pride Coalition.”
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The pastor continued by saying that a pandemic is not “the time or place” to debate him, or to question his homophobic views.
“While our Scriptural belief in marriage between a man and a woman seems particularly offensive to representatives of these three groups, we don’t believe this is the time or place to wage this debate,” he said.
“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.”
The statement that Graham is making his volunteers sign declares that marriage is only between a man and a woman, that sexual relations can only be in the context of a heterosexual marriage, and those who stray from these puritanical beliefs will face “damnation and eternal punishment” in Hell.
Graham says that while it’s true that his staff must subscribe to these views, he promises that his field hospital would never discriminate against any LGBT+ people – even though at least one gay person says that it already has.
But he suggested that Americans should look past this and “applaud” his efforts rather than opposing them.
“If any of these [opposing] groups had funded and erected their own emergency field hospitals to serve COVID-19 patients in Central Park, we would join what we believe would be most New Yorkers – and Americans – in applauding and praying for them, not harassing them,” he said.