On Saturday, New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital decided to close the Samaritan’s Purse emergency hospital constructed to help coronavirus patients in New York’s historic Central Park. Sources said the decision came in part due to outrage at Samaritan’s Purse’s Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality. The decision came one day after New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson demonized Samaritan’s Purse and its president, Franklin Graham, of “hate” against the LGBT community.
“Mount Sinai hospital confirms it is closing down its field hospital in Central Park run by the group Samaritan’s purse beginning on May 4. According to a source, Samaritan’s purse, will not be relocating to another local hospital despite some recent rumors,” Melissa Russo, government affairs reporter for News 4 New York, tweeted on Saturday. “Source tells me a decision was made to sever ties after controversy over the group’s religious views on the LGBTQ community caused concerns in NY. They treated 315 patients and were down to 8 by Friday.”
Source tells me a decision was made to sever ties after controversy over the group’s religious views on the LGBTQ community caused concerns in NY. They treated 315 patients and were down to 8 by Friday. Mount Sinai statement here: pic.twitter.com/vYracBxq3x
— Melissa Russo (@MelissaRusso4NY) May 2, 2020
The Mount Sinai Health System acknowledged that the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital provided “high-quality medical care for 315 patients infected with the virus.” While the coronavirus crisis is far from over in New York City, hospitals are no longer as overwhelmed as they once were. “Now that the surge in COVID hospital admissions is reaching manageable levels, we will stop admitting patients to the Central Park field hospital as of May 4.”
Another coronavirus field hospital run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center closed on Friday after treating just over 1,000 patients. That facility will remain intact in case there is a second wave of the outbreak in the Big Apple, however.
While the Mount Sinai statement did not reference the outrage over Samaritan’s Purse’s Christian views, pro-LGBT politicians and protesters have accused the Christian charity of fomenting hate while it was in the process of providing care to coronavirus patients.
The day before this announcement, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson accused Samaritan’s Purse of fomenting “hate” and declared, “It is time for Samaritan’s Purse to leave NYC.”
“This group, 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,” he wrote. “Their continued presence here is an affront to our values of inclusion, and is painful for all New Yorkers who care deeply about the LGBTQ community.”
Their continued presence here is an affront to our values of inclusion, and is painful for all New Yorkers who care deeply about the LGBTQ community. 2/
— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo) May 1, 2020
Yes, in the name of “inclusion,” he called for excluding a Christian charity that was saving lives during the coronavirus crisis because it holds traditional Christian views about sexuality. How “inclusive”!
Johnson went on to admit that the crisis is far from over and that the health care workers still need support. He insisted, however, that New York must put its foot down and kick out those awful Christians.
“I’m aware that our battle against COVID-19 is still ongoing, and that our health care system—and the amazing workers who have been the heroes of this unprecedented time in our history—still needs support. The [New York City Council] is committed to supporting those workers and protecting our city’s public health. But as a city that values diversity and compassion for all, we can’t continue allowing a group with their track record to remain here when we’re past the point they’re needed.”
“Mount Sinai must sever its relationship with Samaritan’s Purse. Its leader calls the LGBTQ community ‘detestable’ and ‘immoral.’ He says being gay is ‘an affront to God,’ and refers to gay Christians as ‘the enemy,'” Johnson continued. “Samaritan’s Purse requires its volunteers to agree to a written affirmation ‘that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.’ Hate has no place in our beautiful city.”
Samaritan's Purse requires its volunteers to agree to a written affirmation “that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.”
Hate has no place in our beautiful city. 6/6
— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo) May 1, 2020
Of course, Johnson cherry-picked those quotes from Graham. While Franklin Graham, like many Christian leaders who adhere to the traditional Christian view of sexuality, condemns homosexual activity as “detestable,” he would insist that every person has infinite value and is made in the image of God. Conservative Christians see homosexual activity as an “affront to God” because God designed sexuality for the marriage relationship between one man and one woman for life.
Conservative Christian morality does not preach “hate” against LGBT people. In fact, Samaritan’s Purse gladly served LGBT people among the coronavirus victims. But that did not stop New Yorkers from vilifying the group.
As Samaritan’s Purse first opened the field hospital, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he found the Christian charity’s presence in his city “very disturbing.” He announced he would “send people over from the Mayor’s Office to monitor” the hospital to make sure “that there’s going to be no discrimination whatsoever.” He had to send his goons to make sure those evil bigoted Christians were also providing life-saving care to LGBT people — even though the charity serves everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.
To be sure, Samaritan’s Purse requires employees and volunteers to agree with its Statement of Faith — horror of horrors! Breaking news: Christian charity is actually Christian.
Citing clear biblical teaching, that statement of faith declares that “God’s plan for human sexuality is to be expressed only within the context of marriage, that God created man and woman as unique biological persons made to complete each other. … we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.” That statement also upholds human life as sacred from conception until natural death.
Protesters rallied against this allegedly “hateful” statement of faith. Last month, a group of them organized against the field hospital with signs reading “Help Not Hate” and “Hate Won’t Heal.” According to AMNY, one protester said working with Samaritan’s Purse to combat the coronavirus pandemic was tantamount to “accepting help from the Klu Klux Klan [sic].”
So were Samaritan’s Purse staff going around New York protesting same-sex weddings? Were they standing at street corners shouting “Repent!” at any gay or transgender person they saw? Were they donning white robes and carrying torches in a parade to string up LGBT people? Where was this “hatred” and “vitriol”?
It was nowhere to be found. Instead, Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers are working around the clock to care for coronavirus patients. The hospital has cared for more than 142 patients, treating roughly 50 patients at any given time.
This morning, our team is finishing preparation of our respiratory care unit in Central Park. The doors of our hospital will open to patients later today. #coronavirus https://t.co/ZP6tGeI5XL pic.twitter.com/On1ExFf8db
— Samaritan's Purse (@SamaritansPurse) March 31, 2020
As Samaritan’s Purse busied itself with caring for the sick, protesters targeted it for exclusion. In one revealing episode, protester William Talen jumped over the hospital’s outer perimeter barrier and attempted to plant an LGBT rainbow flag near the hospital. He invaded the Christian charity’s space with a symbol that subverts the Bible for LGBT activism. He was arrested when he refused to leave.
“They have no business being in New York City,” Talen shouted as six New York police officers removed him from the park. “They are predators. They are right-wing apocalyptic Christians.” He added, “They are the virus.”
Today I tried to deliver a rainbow flag to the Samaritans Purse field hospital in Central Park. Franklin Graham and his Lords Army are here with their homophobic racist hustle. Help not hate. pic.twitter.com/zTK8mLmmbe
— Reverend Billy Talen (@revbillytalen) April 6, 2020
It seems New York City has finally succeeded in ousting this “virus” that risks its life to save others. The pro-LGBT mob has booted the Christians from the coronavirus-wracked Big Apple.
Just who, exactly, are the bigots here?
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
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