It looks like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio might have some explaining to do. According to Gothamist, the mayor praised the relief organization Samaritan’s Purse for funding and erecting a 68-bed respiratory unit in Central Park. It’s problematic because Samaritan’s Purse is run by Franklin Graham, “a notorious anti-LGBTQ and Islamophobic preacher with a track record of using humanitarian missions to proselytize an evangelical agenda.”

Gothamist checked out the group’s website and found that “all volunteers, including health care workers, should read and adhere to a statement of faith, in which marriage is defined as ‘exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.'” That doesn’t mean the hospital won’t treat the LGBTQ community, though.

Jake Offenhartz reports:

Asked whether the Mayor’s Office considers this problematic, a City Hall spokesperson said the field hospital will operate as a Mount Sinai facility, and must adhere to the hospital’s policy against discrimination. The spokesperson did not say whether the city was concerned that volunteers on the project are expected to agree with the group’s anti-gay faith statement.

“Our record on human rights is clear; and we are confident that the joint effort by Mt. Sinai and Samaritan’s Purse will save New Yorkers’ lives while adhering to the values we hold dear by providing care to anyone who needs it, regardless of background,” said Jane Meyer, the City Hall spokesperson.

One LGBT person told Gothamist, “I would be hesitant to make that my first choice of care. I’d much rather be seen anywhere else.”

There are plenty in the comments arguing that now is exactly the time to talk about homophobia and suggesting LGBT patients either won’t be treated or will be the subject of Christian conversion attempts in their weakness. And there are plenty who’d rather have no field hospital at all if Samaritan’s Purse has built it.


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