Matthew 5:10-12: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
Over the past several weeks, Samaritan’s Purse has treated 315 coronavirus patients at its temporary field hospital in New York City’s Central Park. Recently, Samaritan’s Purse and Mount Sinai Health System released a joint statement indicating that “the surge in COVID hospital admissions [was] reaching manageable levels” and adding that a “significant turning point in the coronavirus outbreak in New York [gives] us assurance that we are returning towards normalcy.” The statement added that the field hospital would stop admitting new patients on May 4, 2020 and would wind down its operations two weeks later.
This would seem to be a good time to congratulate Samaritan’s Purse on a job well done, and it is. However, there is more to the story.
According to Yahoo! News, Mount Sinai “had offered Samaritan’s Purse doctors a chance to continue the partnership by staying on to treat coronavirus patients at Beth Israel Hospital, but the plan drew condemnation from city and state officials.” Jonathan S. Tobin of the New York Post added that “the pressure on the hospital for daring to cooperate with an evangelical group has caused it to decide to sever ties with the organization.” To make matters worse, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson could not resist the urge to kick Samaritan’s Purse on its way out the door in a May 1, 2020 statement:
It is time for Samaritan’s Purse to leave New York City. This group, which is led by the notoriously bigoted, hate-spewing Franklin Graham, came at a time when our city couldn’t in good conscience turn away any offer of help. That time has passed. Their continued presence here is an affront to our values of inclusion, and is painful for all New Yorkers who care deeply about the LGBTQ community.
I am aware that our battle against COVID-19 is still ongoing, and that our health care system – and the amazing workers who have been the heroes of this unprecedented time in our history – still needs support. At the City Council, we are committed to supporting those workers and protecting our city’s public health. But as a city that values diversity and compassion for all, we cannot continue to allow a group with the track record of Samaritan’s Purse to remain here when we are past the point they are needed.
Mount Sinai must sever its relationship with Samaritan’s Purse. Its leader calls the LGBTQ community ‘detestable’ and ‘immoral.’ He says being gay is ‘an affront to God,’ and refers to gay Christians as “the enemy.” Samaritan’s Purse requires its volunteers to agree to a written affirmation ‘that marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.’ Hate has no place in our beautiful city.
Speaker Johnson’s statement contains falsehoods about Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse. Contrary to Speaker Johnson’s statement, Graham has not called “gay Christians” “the enemy,” and his comments about an “affront to God” related to the LGBT political movement—not to persons with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. A December 1, 2015 post on Graham’s Facebook page clearly expresses his godly attitude and Christian charity toward people who identify as LGBT:
To all lesbians, gays, bisexuals, & transgenders—
There are many people who will tell you what you want to hear in this life. I hope you will give me an opportunity to tell you the truth here.
Every person on earth shares one thing in common—we are all sinners according to the God who made us. God created us, and He loves us—even more than we can imagine. But we—all of mankind—have a problem, and the Bible calls it sin. Sin is disobedience to God’s laws, and it has infected the entire human race. It is a disease of the soul. The Bible, which is the Word of God and the standard by which we should live, says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Bible is also very clear that the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Mankind is under a death sentence because of sin—but because of God’s great love for us, He sent His Son Jesus Christ from Heaven to this earth on a rescue mission to save you, and me, and everyone from sin.
Jesus Christ took our sins to the cross where He shed His blood and died for our sins, took our sins to the grave, was buried, and on the third day God raised him to life. He’s not dead—He is alive, and He can come into your heart and your life today if you will let Him. The Bible tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Sin includes anything that runs counter to God’s Word—His standard for our lives. This includes pride, dishonesty, lack of love for our neighbors, using God’s Name in vain, and loving anything more than Him.
There is also sin involving the misuse of sex God created sex and gave it to us to enjoy, but tells us in His Holy Word that it is to be reserved for a marriage relationship between a man and a woman. Any kind of sexual activity or sexual relationship outside of that is sin. The world would like to redefine marriage and other boundaries for sex, but it’s not up to us to define. Almighty God, the Creator, set the standard at the beginning of time. The enemies of God would like for you to be deceived, but God wants the best for your life; He wants us to know the truth. God wants all of us to be with Him in heaven in eternity—but our sins block the way.
I love you enough to tell you the truth. I’m a sinner too, and my sins are not any “cleaner” than anyone else’s—they’re just forgiven. When I was 22 years old, I repented of my sins and asked God to forgive me and save me. That night I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life and take control of my life. I’m so thankful for His salvation and to be able to live my life knowing that God has forgiven me of my sins.
The Bible teaches, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What a promise! I want people everywhere to know that we can be forgiven, cleansed, and set free from the power of sin’s control by believing on Jesus Christ and trusting Him as our Savior and Lord! “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
If you’ve never invited Christ into your heart, you can do it right now by praying this prayer from your heart:
“Dear God I am a sinner, I am sorry for my sins. I want to turn from my sins and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son who died for me on the cross and that You raised Him to life. I want Him to come into my heart and to take control of my life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord from this day forward. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”
I hope you prayed that prayer today. God bless you, and remember God loves you and so do I. Share this with a friend.
It is sad that Speaker Johnson has chosen a path of dishonesty and division during an epidemic that has taken the lives of thousands of New Yorkers. Tony Perkins of Family Research Council points out the irony: Speaker Johnson accuses Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse—who have shown nothing but love to the people of New York City—of hatred and intolerance, not realizing that he himself is intolerant for wishing to banish people and groups that do not share his views on homosexuality.
At New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, we thank God for Samaritan’s Purse. We also believe that it is appropriate for Speaker Johnson to receive feedback on his dishonorable and mean-spirited behavior toward Samaritan’s Purse. Please e-mail Speaker Johnson at SpeakerJohnson@council.nyc.gov to express your opposition.
Here is a sample message:
Dear Speaker Johnson:
Your May 1, 2020 statement about Samaritan’s Purse was deeply unfortunate. Over the past several weeks, volunteer medical personnel from Samaritan’s Purse have treated 315 coronavirus patients at the organization’s Central Park field hospital. The organization deserves your thanks, not your attacks.
Furthermore, your assertions about both Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse were untrue. Neither the man nor the organization are hateful. Rather, they adhere to Christian teachings about marriage, family and sexuality—teachings that were not viewed as objectionable or even controversial in the United States until the past few decades. It is misleading to accuse someone of hatred simply because you disagree with them, and it is sad that you have chosen a path of dishonesty and division instead of trying to build bridges during a crisis. You accuse Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse of intolerance; apparently, you fail to realize that you yourself display intolerance by seeking to exclude people who do not share your views on homosexuality from the City of New York.
Please reconsider your irresponsible and divisive statements.
Thank you for your consideration.