Evangelist Franklin Graham's charity organization, Samaritan's Purse, opened up a temporary tent hospital in Central Park to help treat patients infected with COVID-19, but New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn't trust the organization not to discriminate against LGBTQ patients, FaithWire reported.
Samaritan's Purse set up a facility with 68 beds for the coronavirus patients, an attempt to ease the burden of overwhelmed hospitals in New York City. De Blasio expressed distrust that the organization would treat LGBTQ people equally, and reportedly sent city staffers to the site to monitor the situation.
"I said immediately to my team that we had to find out exactly what was happening," de Blasio said, according to the New York Post. "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? We've received those assurances from the organization. ... We're going to send people over from the Mayor's Office to monitor. I am very concerned that this is done right. But if it is done right, we need all the help we can get."
Samaritan's Purse signed a written pledge to treat all patients equally. Samaritan's Purse recruits Christian doctors and other health care workers, and requires them to sign a statement affirming traditional Christian doctrines, such as Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation, belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, and opposition to abortion.
De Blasio wasn't the only Democrat to take a shot at Samaritan's Purse while the organization was working to save lives amid a public health crisis.
"This is very disturbing," New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wrote on Twitter. "We need reassurances from the city and from Mt. Sinai that Samaritan's Purse and its volunteers will be monitored, and that the LGBTQ community will not be discriminated against in any way. This is a crisis, but our values remain."
This is very disturbing. We need reassurances from the city and from Mt. Sinai that Samaritan’s Purse and its volun… https://t.co/wOKs2aM8mI— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson)1585611513.0
There is no evidence that Samaritan's Purse ever had any intention of discriminating against patients on the basis of sexuality or religious beliefs.
"We certainly do not discriminate, and we have a decades-long track record that confirms just that," Graham said in a statement to NBC News. "This is a time for all of us to unite and work together, regardless of our political views. Let's support one another during this crisis, and we pray that God will bless the efforts of all those battling this vicious virus."