Evangelical minister Franklin Graham has set up a makeshift hospital in Central Park to help the city's overwhelmed hospitals deal with patient overflow.
We never imagined that we'd be rolling our eyes at someone jumping in to help in the middle of a pandemic...and yet...
Franklin Graham, son of televangelist Billy Graham, runs a charity called Samaritan's Purse. The charity uses donations to help fund assistance where it can—in this case by setting up a 68-bed tent hospital in the park to handle patients that nearby Mount Sinai hospital cannot hold.
So far, so good.
The homie JC would approve.
JC would approve right up until it comes to the part where Franklin Graham needs to staff that 68-bed tent hospital.
For that, he needs doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. So he put out a call for Christian medical professionals who want to step in to help.
Those medical professionals responded, expecting to be asked about their areas of expertise, medical training, whether they had been exposed, etc.
That's not what happened.
Instead, potential volunteers were first asked to sign a "Statement of Faith" that is the sort of thing Jesus would flip tables about. Yeah, if you have ever actually delved into what Jesus himself says and does in the Bible, it looks nothing like any of the stunts the Grahams pull.
According to biblical stories, Jesus hung out with sex workers, told men to chop their hands off if they touched anyone without consent and stab their eyes out if they couldn't stop looking at whatever revealing clothes women wore and never actually said a SINGLE word about the LGBT community.
That stuff all came from minor characters taken out of context when they spoke against adultery in Leviticus and lust and the tradition of temple whores in books like Romans and elsewhere. According to those who think God hates LGBTQ people, they can only find seven places in the old and new testament that if taken out of context might condemn men having sex with each other.
Want to guess how many references there are about adultery?
JC even broke the ten commandments down to just one because he figured people would forget the others (seriously, that's in there). Just love without conditions.
Whether or not we're Christian or religious at all, we can all pretty much get behind that, right?
The "Statement of Faith" that potential volunteers were asked to sign laid out a LOT of conditions before these brave and already-overworked volunteers could jump in to help care for any patients.
Like first you had to condemn them to hell if they are LGBT. Nope. Not kidding.
Before Graham even asked about the volunteers' medical qualifications, they were told to sign a statement that read, in part:
"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."
The statement ended by noting that any who stray from those beliefs would face damnation and eternal judgment in hell.
There was no way to continue as a volunteer if you refused to sign the statement that you believe gays, trans people, nonbinary people, non-monogamous people, anyone who has committed infidelity or who is not XX or XY genetically is going to hell.
Mayor DeBlasio praised the charity for coming forward during this crisis, but has not commented on the statement that volunteers are forced to sign. That doesn't mean the statement hasn't faced scrutiny, however.
Potential volunteers have spoken out about how totally irrelevant it is as well as how it goes against everything a medical professional tries to do in their practice, particularly doctors in NYC who are accustomed to treating patients from various backgrounds.
The "Statement of Faith" goes against their mission to help everyone possible. It's also potentially illegal.
A spokesperson from NYC City Hall released a statement directed towards these concerns:
"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."
The spokesperson also insisted that the tent hospital must abide by the same rules and regulations that Mount Sinai does, including minding all HIPPA regulations and a policy of non-discrimination.
That sounds more in line with the words of Jesus, but that doesn't mean it's what the Grahams believe.
We will see how this plays out.