The moment Samaritan’s Purse set up the tent hospital in New York’s Central Park to care for people with COVID-19 it came under fire for its association with the notorious right-wing Graham. The criticism intensified when reports surfaced that the organization requires volunteers to sign a “morality pledge” that defines marriage as “exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.”
“All of our doctors and nurses and staff [are] Christians,” Graham told the CharlotteObserver. “We believe it’s very important that — as we serve people and help people — we do it in Jesus’ name.
“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” Graham continued. “That’s part of who we are. So we have a long list of things we want people to understand and agree with before we take them to work with us. I don’t want a person who is going to be on the job and drinks; that’s not a good witness. I don’t want a person who’s going to be using drugs to be part of our team. I don’t want someone who’s going to be swearing to be part of our team. I don’t want someone who is trying to pick up girls, and using this as an opportunity to do those kinds of things. So, we try to screen the people that work with us. And we want men and women who believe the way we do and have the same core values that we have.”
Volunteers for Samaritan’s Purse have previously expressed concern that the hospital could potentially turn away or mistreat queer patients in dire need of care. Despite demands by lawmakers such as Senator Brad Hoylman that the group provide anti-discrimination assurances, neither Samaritan’s Purse nor Franklin Graham had done so. And now Graham has simple reiterated the group’s policy.