MANHATTAN — The organization that set up the coronavirus field hospital in Central Park seemingly makes volunteers agree to their faith-based code, including defining marriage "exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female" and stating that the unrighteous are sentenced to "everlasting punishment in hell."
The story was first reported by Gothamist.
The group, Samaritan's Purse, is a relief organization run by Franklin Graham, son of the late pastor Billy Graham, an influential religious leader nationwide and in Washington.
Their policy says all volunteers, including health care workers, should read and adhere to a statement of faith, listed on their website.
"The primary mission of Samaritan's Purse is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we seek volunteers who have the same mindset. We ask that volunteers review our Statement of Faith and agree to support the ministry guidelines of Samaritan's Purse," the website says.
The group funded the field hospital, which will serve as overflow for Mount Sinai's COVID-19 patients. Their volunteers will help staff it.
Mount Sinai released a statement ensuring that religious code won't play a factor in treatment.
"During this pandemic, we remain singularly focused on providing care for all New Yorkers. These tents will help us provide care for any and all of those in need, without any exception," said a spokesperson.
State Senator Brad Holyman called on Graham to issue a similar guarantee.
“COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, and neither should Franklin Graham," he said in a statement. “Today I’m calling on Franklin Graham to publicly assure LGBTQ New Yorkers that they will receive the same treatment as anyone else at the Central Park field hospital."
Holyman also called on city leaders to monitor potential discrimination at the facility, and noted that while the need for medical care is great during this time, it shouldn't be accompanied by potential discrimination.
“Sadly, beggars can’t be choosers: New York needs every ventilator we can get. But homophobic pastor Franklin Graham and his field hospital operation in Central Park must guarantee all LGBTQ patients with COVID-19 are treated with dignity and respect. We’ll be watching.”