Evangelist Franklin Graham is defending a requirement that volunteers at a New York City tent hospital run by his charity adhere to an anti-LGBT pledge.
Samaritan’s Purse, which operates the hospital for coronavirus patients in Central Park, mandates that healthcare workers and others read and adhere to a statement of faith defining marriage as “exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female” and saying the unrighteous are sentenced to “everlasting punishment in hell.”
In an interview Thursday with the Charlotte Observer, Graham justified the requirement by comparing LGBT people to drunks, drug users and those who might use the tent hospital as an opportunity to “pick up girls.”
“All of our doctors and nurses and staff, (they’re) Christians,” Graham said. “We believe it’s very important that — as we serve people and help people — we do it in Jesus’ name. …
“Of course, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” Graham added. “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,” he said. “And we want men and women who believe the way we do and have the same core values that we have.”
Graham also doubled down on his recent assertion on Fox News that the coronavirus pandemic is God’s punishment for sin.
“When God made man, he never intended for man to have disease,” Graham told the Observer. “And to have death. He put us in a perfect world. The climate was perfect. The conditions were perfect. The food to eat. But man rebelled against God. And the Bible is very clear that, as a result of this rebellion against God, we live in what we call ‘a fallen world.’ So we have cancer. We have the coronavirus. We have diabetes. We have all of the other problems we have as a society. We have murder, we have thefts. …
“But that wasn’t God’s intention,” Graham added. “That’s why God sent his son Jesus Christ to take our sins. And Christ died for our sins. That’s why we celebrate Easter.
“So I see the coronavirus, I see the wars of this world, I see the economic problems — I see all these other things — as just a result of the fallen world in which we live,” he said. “And that’s as a result of sin that came into the world and has infected the entire human race.”
Read the Observer‘s full story here.