Franklin Graham Claims He's 'Not Homophobic' - but Is Being 'Harassed'

Wednesday April 15, 2020

Avid Trump supporter and anti-LGBTQ figure Franklin Graham lashed out on Facebook and in the press with complaints that his charitable group Samaritan's Purse has drawn scrutiny from New York lawmakers and equality advocates because it requires staff and volunteers to sign a "statement of faith" that slams non-heterosexual people and their families, consigning them to "Hell" and denying the legitimacy of their marriages.

Samaritan's Purse, which has set up a medical tent in New York's Central Park and partnered with Mr. Sinai Hospital to provide care for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, even requires qualified medical personnel to sign the "statement of faith" and at least pretend to agree with its anti-LGBTQ planks.

As previously reported at EDGE, among the statement's eleven planks is this:

"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.

It's unclear why such beliefs should outweigh the medical expertise and willingness to help that qualified LGBTQ people could bring to the project of caring for the stricken. That disconnect has raised hackles for some lawmakers and equality organizations. The group claims not to discriminate against anyone it helps - and Mt. Sinai Hospital has an anti-discrimination policy in place that city officials say extends to the volunteer field hospital and its workers. The New York Times reported that the as the controversy has gained force, the hospital has now said that it will require Samaritan's Purse staff and volunteers to sign a separate statement to the effect that they will not treat anyone in a biased manner.

That, however, is not the essential concern. Rather, critics question why, in the face of an unprecedented health crisis, the group would refuse the services of anyone qualified and willing to help care for the sick on the basis of their sexuality, marital status, or religious beliefs.

For his part, despite the discriminatory language in the "statement of faith," Graham claims not to be homophobic - and he characterizes requests for information from his group by lawmakers as "harassment," which he decried in a lengthy April 14 statement that he also shared on on Facebook.

Wrote Graham:

While so many have expressed their appreciation and support, sadly some New York officials and a special interest group have expressed concerns or outright opposition to the presence of Samaritan's Purse and our field hospital in Central Park. They include:

Eight Democratic members of New York's Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.

New York City Commission on Human Rights

Reclaim Pride Coalition

Graham's post continued:

These groups share a common objection to the Statement of Faith which Samaritan's Purse requires its employees to sign and generally asks its volunteers to support. While our Scriptural belief in marriage between a man and a woman seems particularly offensive to representatives of these three groups, we don't believe this is the time or place to wage this debate...

It's true, for 50 years, we have asked our paid staff to subscribe to a Statement of Faith—but we have never asked any of the millions of people we have served to subscribe to anything.

Graham went on to add:

In a country that cherishes freedom of speech and religion we don't object to opposition or criticism of our beliefs as a Christian organization. What we do object to is being harassed into diverting precious resources of time and energy and personnel away from serving COVID-19 patients in New York City in order to respond to demands for documents and other information from eight Democratic members of Congress, the Human Rights Commission and the Reclaim Pride Coalition—all while the death toll in New York continues to climb.

Graham has taken his displeasure to Fox News, reports Newsweek.

"I'm not homophobic and I'm certainly not going around bashing people because they may be homosexual," Newsweek quoted Graham as telling Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

"I believe that God loves all of us, he created us all but we also are sinners and our sins separated from God and I want people to know how they can have a relationship with God and that's their faith in his son."

The visit with Ingraham followed an Easter Sunday message in which Graham seemed to compare GLTBQ people to drug addicts, alcoholics, and promiscuous heterosexuals.

Said Graham in that Easter message:

"Of course, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. 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."

Unclear is whether desperately ill patients might have a preference as to whether or not the qualified medial professional caring for them is gay, straight, bisexual, cisgender, or married.