Franklin Graham claimed his coronavirus hospital would never discriminate. This gay man says it already has

A group run by anti-LGBT reverend Franklin Graham constricted a 68-bed jury-rigged hospital to combat the city's rising coronavirus caseload. (John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Anti-gay evangelist Franklin Graham’s promises that his new coronavirus field hospital wouldn’t discriminate against LGBT+ patients have already been broken, according to a gay man who tried to volunteer.

The makeshift hospital, which appeared on Tuesday, being run by the anti-LGBT+ reverend consists of 68 beds in a makeshift hospital in New York’s Central Park.

It is an effort to aid the city’s hospitals as the coronavirus pandemic bears down on public health services. Samaritan’s Purse, a relief organisation run by Graham, stepped in.

Despite making volunteers sign an anti-gay pledge agreeing that gay people will go to hell, Franklin Graham promised that the hospital wouldn’t discriminate against LGBT+ patients.

But a gay man who tried to volunteer says the group turned him down.

Writing on Medium, retired entrepreneur and business manager James Finn said he tried to sign up as a volunteer – first to do manual labour, and then by pretending to be a retired doctor.

However, he couldn’t even finish the online application without having to agree to the organisation’s anti-LGBT+ beliefs in a ‘Statement of Faith’: “We believe … God created man and woman as unique biological persons made to complete each other.

“God instituted monogamous marriage between male and female … as the 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.”

Finn said: “I tried to find a way to submit an application without affirming the statement of faith, but I could not. Unless I agreed to a virulent statement of homophobia and transphobia, Samaritan’s Purse would not process my application to volunteer to help COVID-19 patients in NYC.”

The first time, Finn had used his business qualifications to try to apply to volunteer at Graham’s field hospital.

Next, he enlisted the help of a doctor friend and tried to apply again, this time pretending to be a retired doctor. He still faced the ‘Statement of Faith’, so he tried calling instead.

Speaking to someone called Suzanne, who was “was all honey and roses at first with her Deep South, Gulf Coast accent”, Finn thought he’d been accepted.

But at the last minute, Suzanne asked him to affirm the homophobic and transphobic ‘Statement of Faith’.

Finn told her he is gay. “Her honey and roses attitude morphed to ice water the moment I finished speaking,” he wrote.

She apologised and told him that Samaritans Purse is a Christian organisation. “Didn’t you know that?” she asked.

Finn said he was a Christian, too. Suzanne asked if he could affirm the ‘Statement of Faith’ and he said no.

“I’m sorry, sir,” she said. “I wish you luck volunteering elsewhere.”

And she hung up.