Franklin Graham, the anti-LGBT evangelical pastor whose group Samaritan’s Purse is running a field hospital in New York’s Central Park to treat COVID-19 patients, says he is being “harassed” for insisting his hospital workers and volunteers sign a pledge opposing same-sex marriage before they can start work.
The pro-Trump pastor, who has a long history of anti-LGBTQ beliefs, explained to Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday that he requires all employees to sign a Statement of Faith which includes the line “marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.”
“Why are you being attacked for opening a field hospital?” Ingraham asked Graham.
“We have a statement of faith Laura,” Graham said. “We believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and that goes back to the beginning of time, to the first man and woman that God created.”
“And this is our standard So for people that we hire – we are a Christian organization, we are a religious organization – so we wanna hire people of like mind and we have a statement of faith that we require our employees to sign and in that is a marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said. “And this is very offensive to some people and the gay community. And listen, I’m not homophobic. I’m certainly not going around bashing people because they might be homosexual.”
This guy opened a field hospital and won’t hire healthcare workers unless they sign a statement disavowing gay marriage.
I’m sorry but the religious right is a fucking stain on this country. https://t.co/bDTvZAk0CV
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) April 15, 2020
Graham also posted a lengthy Facebook message about how he has been harassed by “elected officials and others” in New York.
“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,” he wrote.
“They include: Eight Democratic members of New York’s Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., The New York City Commission on Human Rights, The Reclaim Pride Coalition.”
Graham continued by saying that a pandemic is not “the time or place” to debate him or to question his homophobic pledge.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
“If any of these [opposing] 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,” he said.
Last week, activist William Talen was arrested outside the NYC field hospital and escorted away by six police officers.
As he was being escorted away, the 69-year-old shouted: “They have no business being in New York City. They are the virus.”
Talen allegedly jumped the perimeter of the hospital and planted a rainbow flag on the grounds before he was arrested.