New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson attacked Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief organization operating an “overflow” hospital for coronavirus patients who do not need intensive care, calling the group “bigoted” because it believes in the traditional definition of marriage, and demanding that the group be booted from New York City now that the coronavirus pandemic seems to be slowing.
Isaiah 5:20-21 KJV – “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Samaritan’s Purse set up a field hospital in Central Park last month, pledging to assist New York hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. The 60-bed assistance center, The Daily Wire reported at the time, was designed to provide care to those individuals who did not need ventilators or to spend time in respiratory ICUs.
LGBT activists and progressive New Yorkers immediately raised an alarm and demanded to know whether Samaritan’s Purse, which opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, would turn away openly gay patients. NYC blog Gothamist worried that there were “growing fears that some New Yorkers could face discrimination and substandard care from the religious organization.”
The furor became so aggressive that NYC mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to keep an eye on Samaritan’s Purse, and even made the organization sign an agreement assuring the city that no LGBT individuals would be turned away.
It does not appear that Samaritan’s Purse turned away any patient requesting treatment, but Johnson demanded the “discriminatory” organization be banished from NYC as soon as possible, regardless.
“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,” Johnson tweeted Saturday.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Samaritan’s Purse healthcare workers, though, he seems to indicate, are a notable exception to the title of “hero.”
“The @NYCCouncil 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,” Johnson whined.
He then called on Mount Sinai health system — the health system that saw the vast majority of coronavirus patients — to end its contract with Samaritan’s Purse, citing leader Franklin Graham’s position on social issues.
“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 wrote without citation.
He then railed against an agreement Samaritan’s Purse makes healthcare providers sign, attesting that they abide by Christian values: “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.”
It took only moments for Johnson to meet with a wave of criticism on social media, including from fellow leftists, who accused the City Council speaker of being ungrateful and of stoking the fires of division.
“I’m 100% usually behind @NYCSpeakerCoJo but this statement is most ungracious thing I have ever heard him utter. Appreciate sentiment behind it but didn’t the group specifically agree to treat everyone equally as a pretense of operating here? Do we have proof they forsook this?” one vocal critic said. “Because if they stuck to their promise and put the work in & treated every single person with the same care it seems to me to be a lesson to seize on to try to educate and change that group. Scorning them in the wake of their service only serves to deepen moral dividing lines.”
Regardless of how Johnson feels, Samaritan’s Purse says it will wrap up its mission in New York City in two weeks.
Harbingers Daily Addition:
The following is taken from an April 15th article from Harbingers Daily: “Franklin Graham Releases Statement after Samaritan’s Purse Unjustly Takes Fire.”
Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse have recently come under opposition from Eight Democratic members of NY’s Congressional delegation, LGBT activist groups, and other groups, that have attempted to smear the name of the widely respected organization which is fighting on the front lines against the coronavirus.
Matthew 5:10 KJV – “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The groups’ have attacked Samaritan’s Purse about their field hospital in central Park, claiming they are “putting New Yorkers’ lives on the line” by the Christian organization only recruiting like-minded believers to volunteer.
View Franklin Graham’s Statement Below:
MY STATEMENT REGARDING OBJECTIONS TO SAMARITAN’S PURSE EMERGENCY FIELD HOSPITAL SERVING COVID-19 PATIENTS IN NEW YORK CITY
Sunday, Christians worldwide celebrated Easter, commemorating the historic resurrection of Jesus. Tragically, this was also the day New York surpassed a death toll of 10,000 people succumbing to the worldwide pandemic known as COVID-19.
In recent weeks Americans have watched New York closely as the epicenter of this health crisis, accounting for nearly half of the country’s Coronavirus cases and deaths—more than 190,000 and 10,000 respectively.
We have watched daily press briefings by Governor Cuomo and others pleading for help and on April 1, in partnership with Mount Sinai Health System and in response to urgent calls for hospital beds, medical equipment and staff, Samaritan’s Purse erected a 14-tent, 68-bed emergency field hospital in Central Park, staffed by a team of more than 70 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel and relief specialists. This respiratory care unit, which includes 10 ICU beds equipped with ventilators has admitted 119 patients during our first two weeks of operation.
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. They include:
• Eight Democratic members of New York’s Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.
• New York City Commission on Human Rights
• Reclaim Pride Coalition
These groups share a common objection to the Statement of Faith which Samaritan’s Purse requires its employees to sign and generally asks its volunteers to support. 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. Samaritan’s Purse is a decidedly Christian private relief organization, funded almost entirely by individuals around the world who share our passion for providing aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution—and doing so in Jesus’ Name. 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.
It’s true, for 50 years, we have asked our paid staff to subscribe to a Statement of Faith—but we have never asked any of the millions of people we have served to subscribe to anything. In other words, as a religious charity, while we lawfully hire staff who share our Christian beliefs, we do not discriminate in who we serve. 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.
In a country that cherishes freedom of speech and religion we don’t object to opposition or criticism of our beliefs as a Christian organization. What we do object to is being harassed into diverting precious resources of time and energy and personnel away from serving COVID-19 patients in New York City in order to respond to demands for documents and other information from eight Democratic members of Congress, the Human Rights Commission and the Reclaim Pride Coalition—all while the death toll in New York continues to climb. If any of these 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.