Franklin Graham claims ‘vast majority’ of New York agrees with his hatred after being told to ‘pack up’ controversial tent hospital’

Franklin Graham brought in a camera crew to record an Easter sermon from the tent hospital 'relief' site

Disgraced preacher Franklin Graham has claimed that the majority of New Yorkers actually agreed with his anti-gay policy for relief workers.

Graham, whose evangelical charity Samaritan’s Purse had set up a controversial temporary coronavirus hospital in New York City’s Central Park, was ordered to “pack up his tents and leave” last week after exploiting relief efforts for his anti-LGBT+ agenda.

The preacher was granted permission to set up the site back in March, with NYC mayor Bill de Blaiso saying he had received assurances the group — often criticised for exploiting disasters to evangelise — would not discriminate.

Graham went back against his word almost immediately, forcing all volunteers to sign a belief statement that disavows homosexual relationships, bringing in a film crew to record sermons and evangelist videos and publicly comparing homosexuals to drug addicts. Videos released by Samaritan’s Purse revealed Bible verses taped to medical equipment and written over face masks at the site.

But despite the indignity of being publicly condemned by the city establishment, Graham — a close ally of Donald Trump — has now insisted that the majority of New Yorkers agree with him about same-sex marriage.

Franklin Graham claims ‘vast majority’ of New Yorkers don’t believe in same-sex marriage.

Defending his policy of excluding volunteers who support same-sex marriage in an interview with The New York Times, Graham insisted: “The vast majority of the people in the city believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

The bizarre claim comes despite overwhelming support for marriage equality in the state, with 2017 Public Religion Research Institute polling finding that 69 per cent of New Yorkers support marriage equality. Just 24 per cent opposed.

While we’re at it, just 31 per cent of New Yorkers believe it’s acceptable to discriminate against gay people based on religion.

The NYT article also revealed that, ever the philanthropist, the multimillionaire preacher has been using a private jet to travel between his home in North Carolina and the site in New York, where he hosted sermons broadcast live on Fox News.

Bible verses were written on face masks at the tent hospital run by Franklin Graham

Bible verses were written on face masks at the tent hospital run by Franklin Graham

Meanwhile, the Trump ally flatly rejected criticism from New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson, who has described his discriminatory policies as an “affront to our values of inclusion”.

Graham responded: “New York is — how many million people live here? There’s not one set of values that represents nine million people. I think that’s just ludicrous to me even make a statement like that.”

The preacher claimed critics had been a “distraction” from the work of “saving lives” — though it’s not exactly clear how the film crew pumping out evangelical videos from inside the tents were less of a distraction.

It’s not just city officials that Graham fell out with during his time in New York, either, with plans to open a second relief centre at the Episcopalian Cathedral of St. John the Divine scuppered over his refusal to waive the anti-LGBT+ policy.

Episcopal Bishop Andrew M.L. Dietsche told the newspaper that Graham had applied an “exclusionary view and a very narrow view of what constitutes being a Christian”, adding that forcing volunteers to agree to the anti-gay belief statement would “repudiate all the good work that’s been done in the Diocese of New York around the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people”.

Preacher claims he’s ‘not condemning’ gay people, if you don’t count all the times he condemned gay people.

Of course, no feature about Franklin Graham would be complete without an attempt to gaslight people about his beliefs, with the preacher claiming: “I would want the gay community to know that I’m not here condemning them at all. Just because I don’t agree doesn’t mean I’m against them.”

His claim not to “condemn” gay people is particularly interesting, given his extensive history of coming up with new and increasingly imaginative ways to condemn gay people.

He has previously accused gay people of “taking” children from straight couples, and has declared homosexuals “the enemy” of civilisation. The Trump ally has also suggested that gay Democrat Pete Buttigieg will face “eternal damnation”.

However, one of his most truly repulsive remarks came in 2016, when he blamed gay people for a “moral 9/11”.

And yes, we have the receipts.

At the time, Graham told Fox News pundit Todd Starnes: “The country is imploding. We are seeing a moral implosion. Just like we saw the World Trade Center on 9/11 when the planes hit the tower, they imploded, they fell from within, and this is what’s happening to our country, we’re falling within. Our foundations have been weakened by immorality and it’s beginning to crumble.”

He added: “I want the school boards of America in the hands of evangelical Christians within the next four to six years.

“And it can happen and that will have a huge impact because so many school districts now are controlled by wicked, evil people, and the gays and lesbians, and I keep bringing their name up, but they are at the forefront of this attack against Christianity in America.”