News & Politics

Bill de Blasio to 'Monitor' Samaritan's Purse Coronavirus Emergency Hospital for 'Discrimination'

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the site of the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground in Queens on Oct. 26, 2018. (Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Over the weekend, the global evangelical Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse set up an emergency field hospital in New York City’s historic Central Park to help the Big Apple handle the coronavirus crisis. Mayor Bill de Blasio has thanked the organization … by promising to monitor it to make sure there’s no “discrimination.”

Hizzoner told the New York Post that he found it “very troubling” when he heard that Samaritan’s Purse would open a pop-up hospital in the park to help during the coronavirus crisis. de Blasio views the charity with suspicion because its president and CEO, Franklin Graham, has championed the Bible’s stance on sexuality.

“I said immediately to my team that we had to find out exactly what was happening,” de Blasio told the Post. It seems he was concerned that Samaritan’s Purse would “discriminate” against those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). “Was there going to be an approach that was truly consistent with the values and the laws in New York City, that everyone would be served and served equally?”

While Hizzoner “received those assurances from the organization,” he announced that he had partnered with the local health system in order to monitor the field hospital. If the evangelical Christians step out of line, their relief efforts will get the boot.

“I spoke earlier today with the CEO of the Mount Sinai [health] system, Dr. Ken Davis, who was adamant that they will only continue their relationship with the organization if those rules are followed, that they have a written agreement, that there’s going to be no discrimination whatsoever,” de Blasio explained. Of course, he has to send his goons to make sure.

“We’re going to send people over from the Mayor’s Office to monitor” the emergency field hospital, de Blasio added. “So I’m very concerned to make sure this is done right. But if it is done right, of course, we need all the help we can get.”

In the eyes of LGBT activists, Samaritan’s Purse is guilty as charged. The Post cited the charity’s “anti-LGBT stance,” which refers to the policy requiring employees to adhere to a statement of faith defining marriage as between one man and one woman and designating sexual activity as rightful only in that context.

We believe 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. God instituted monogamous marriage between male and female as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.

This is the traditional Christian view of sexuality based on a clear reading of the Bible. None of this means that evangelical Christians in general or Samaritan’s Purse, in particular, consider LGBT people to be “less than” others. While acting on LGBT identities is incompatible with employment at Samaritan’s Purse, the charity gladly serves LGBT people in its charitable efforts. In fact, Samaritan’s Purse has provided HIV/AIDS testing and help in 42 countries.

Yet pro-LGBT liberals view evangelical Christian groups with suspicion, and the Post cited a 2019 article by Franklin Graham, claiming the charity’s CEO “raged about ‘the sins of homosexuality.'”

Graham does not “rage” in that article. Instead, he notes that LGBT pride flags are “offensive to Christians and millions of people of other faiths” and he warns against the so-called Equality Act, which even many feminists oppose. The quote about “the sins of homosexuality” comes in Graham’s warning about the Equality Act.

“This legislation will have catastrophic consequences for competitive sports, along with churches and faith-based nonprofits who would lose all protections to hire people who adhere to their Biblical statements of faith. Christians will be persecuted for their sincerely held beliefs as never before. The clear teachings of the Bible on the sins of homosexuality and abortion will no doubt be considered ‘hate speech.’ It will be a nightmare from which this nation may never recover,” Graham writes.

While his fears may sound hyperbolic, Graham is correct about many of the repercussions of the act. de Blasio’s suspicion about Samaritan’s Purse only underscores the fact that many liberal politicians consider a Christian charity’s policy of holding its staff to biblical sexual morality to constitute a form of “discrimination.” Yet if a religious organization cannot hold staff to its moral values, how can it fulfill its religious mission?

Graham’s fears about “hate speech” are also appropriate, given the existence and impact of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which accuses mainstream conservative and Christian groups of being “hate groups” akin to the Ku Klux Klan in an effort to cut them off from social media, credit cards, charity donation platforms — in short, all of polite society. The SPLC has even attacked Graham himself for speaking at a “hate group.”

de Blasio wouldn’t dream of announcing he would “monitor” a pro-LGBT charity that stepped in to help with the coronavirus outbreak to make sure it didn’t discriminate against conservatives. Yet he claims to find it “very troubling” that a conservative Christian group would offer crucial health care in the midst of a crisis — just because it’s Christian.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.