LGBT activists have objected to an emergency field hospital set up in New York’s Central Park because it’s run by an evangelical charity.
The facility was put in place to treat Covid-19 patients as the epidemic in New York ravaged the city and the surrounding region.
The 68-bed crisis centre is run by Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian organisation led by Franklin Graham.
But the Reclaim Pride Coalition claim the hospital is ‘spreading hate’ because its volunteers sign a statement of faith.
The statement includes the mainstream Christian belief that sex should only take place within the marriage of one man and one woman.
Natalie James, a member of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, claimed that Franklin Graham is ‘notoriously transphobic and homophobic’.
New York State Senator Brad Hoylman said, ‘The federal government has put us in the unfortunate position of having to accept charity from bigots like Franklin Graham.’
He claimed the hospital gives Graham a platform ‘to spew his hatred of LGBTQ people’, and that Samaritan’s Purse’s presence in the city would cause ‘incalculable’ damage.
Franklin Graham responded, ‘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.’
He added that the organisation has never discriminated against any of the millions of people it has served over its 50 years of operations.
He said, ‘We have provided billions of dollars of medical care and supplies, food and water, and emergency shelter without any conditions whatsoever.
‘Our Christian faith compels us — like the biblical Good Samaritan — to love and serve everyone in need, regardless of their faith or background.’
The hospital, comprising 14 tents equipped with ventilators, has treated over 300 patients.
As coronavirus cases continue to decline in New York, Samaritan’s Purse has announced that the temporary hospital will be packed up.