Man arrested after planting a Pride flag at the coronavirus hospital run by anti-LGBT+ preacher Franklin Graham

Man arrested for planting rainbow flag at Franklin Graham-run field hospital

A gay man has been arrested after planting a rainbow Pride flag at New York’s coronavirus field hospital, which is run by anti-LGBT+ preacher Franklin Graham.

The makeshift hospital, which appeared last Tuesday, is run by Graham’s anti-gay evangelist group Samaritan’s Purse and consists of 68 beds in New York’s Central Park.

Volunteers at the hospital must sign an anti-gay pledge agreeing that gay people will go to hell before being allowed to help give healthcare to coronavirus patients.

“Today I tried to deliver a rainbow flag to the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital in Central Park,” William Talen wrote on Twitter, where he posted a video of him being arrested.

“Franklin Graham and his Lord’s Army are here with their homophobic racist hustle. Help not hate,” he added.

Talen, better known as Reverend Billy, was charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct near to the Samaritan’s Purse COVID-19 field hospital, according to NBC.

In an email sent to NBC News, a police spokesperson said Reverend Billy “jumped over the outer perimeter barrier of the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital, a prohibited area” and was then “instructed to leave”.

He refused and “proceeded to plant a flag on a pole into the ground”.

“They have no business being in New York City,” Reverend Billy shouted as six New York police officers, one of whom appeared to be carrying his rainbow flag, removed him from the park.

“They are the virus.”

Reverend Billy, 69, is an activist, performance artist and actor who has mocked right-wing religious beliefs for more than two decades.

Wearing a pink suit and a bandana, Reverend Billy went to the Samaritan’s Purse hospital to protest Graham’s long history of anti-LGBT+ beliefs.

Graham had promised that the coronavirus hospital wouldn’t discriminate against LGBT+ people – but a gay man revealed last week that he was barred from volunteering for refusing to sign an anti-LGBT+ pledge saying that he’d go to hell for being gay.