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Franklin Graham Says His Field Hospital ‘Lawfully’ Requires Workers to Say They’re Against Same-Sex Marriage

Rev. Franklin Graham’s 68-bed field hospital in New York City is being criticized for forcing all of its employees to sign a “Statement of Faith” in which they vow to oppose same-sex marriage.

Graham, who’s said he and his charity Samaritan’s Purse have become targets for harassment due to his Christian faith, defended the decision to use the pledge on his Facebook page, writing, “while we lawfully hire staff who share our Christian beliefs, we do not discriminate in who we serve.”

Samaritan Purse’s Statement of Faith reads as follows:

We believe God’s plan for human sexuality is to be expressed only within the context of marriage, that God created man and woman as unique biological persons made to complete each other. God instituted monogamous marriage between male and female as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.

Graham’s charity teamed up with Mount Sinai Health Systems to set up the field hospital in Central Park.

While New York City has some of the strongest legal protections for the LGTBQ community, Graham’s charity is a religious organization and is therefore exempt from such hiring laws.

Democratic lawmakers, however, still have unanswered questions about genesis of the field hospital. Days ago, New York Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Carolyn Maloney, and Adriano Espaillat sent a three-page letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Mt. Sinai Health Systems CEO Kenneth Davis. They said that they were “concerned that as a result of potentially facing discrimination and cultural incompetence, LGTBQIA+ individuals may not seek needed medical attention at Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital.”

“Now more than ever, New York City must uphold its values and ensure that every New Yorker feels safe in seeking medical attention,” the lawmakers wrote.

Graham has continued to defend Samaritan Purse’s perspective as a “statement of faith” and an exercise in “freedom of speech and religion.” But the decision appears to be impeding planned expansion of his charity’s work.

The New York Times on Monday reported that “a plan to turn the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, into a virus hospital was abruptly shelved after tension between the diocese, which promotes a more inclusive form of Christianity, and Samaritan’s Purse, whose workers were set to staff the facility.”

[image via YouTube screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.