CORONAVIRUS

Protester Arrested At Central Park Tent Hospital Tied To Anti-Gay Evangelical Franklin Graham

"They have no business being in New York City," said activist William Talen.

Police arrested a Brooklyn activist on Sunday for protesting outside a pop-up COVID-19 field hospital in Central Park that’s run by an evangelical disaster relief group.

Samaritan’s Purse is operating the 68-bed field hospital in the park under the auspices of the Mt. Sinai Health System. It was founded by Franklin Graham, son of the late televangelist Rev. Billy Graham, who has accused the LGBTQ community of the “deepening depravity” of America. To volunteer at the hospital, Samaritan’s Purse requires a signed statement of faith, which says that “marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.”

According to NBC, protester William Talen, who calls himself Reverend Billy, shouted: “They have no business being in New York City. They are the virus.” 

Talen then jumped over the outer perimeter barrier of the field hospital, ignored orders to leave the area and “proceeded to plant a flag on a pole into the ground,” NYPD Detective Kellyanne Ort told HuffPost.

Talen was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

Last week, Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman urged Samaritan’s Purse to “treat every patient with respect”:

A Samaritan’s Purse spokesman told NBC that the organization’s focus remains on providing the highest level of care to all patients.

“We do not make distinctions about an individual’s religion, race, sexual orientation or economic status,” Graham said. 

When gay New York writer James Finn tried to volunteer with the organization, he was required to sign the group’s “statement of faith” because the operation was seeking people with the “same mindset,” Finn wrote in Medium.

A representative from Mt. Sinai told NBC that all staff, including workers with Samaritan’s Purse, must adhere to its “principles and guidelines when it comes to not discriminating against patients or staff.”

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