New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has reassured panicked progressives that he will be monitoring Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian organization constructing a field hospital to help treat coronavirus victims in Manhattan, for signs of “discrimination” after leftists on social media noticed that the Franklin Graham-led organization opposes gay marriage.
Samaritan’s Purse, which is a global relief organization, has volunteered its time to assist New York City’s healthcare workers, constructing a 60-bed assistance center in Central Park. The organization, like many Christian relief organizations, opposes abortion and gay marriage on Biblical grounds, and largely requires those working for it to ascribe to its foundational beliefs, leaving some NYC leftists “very concerned.”
“Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will keep a close eye on the Christian fundamentalist group operating a field hospital in Central Park, amid growing fears that some New Yorkers could face discrimination and substandard care from the religious organization,” NYC blog Gothamist reported earlier this week.
Jonathan Merritt, a “contributing writer” to the Atlantic, catalogued his terror at Samaritan’s Purse being tapped to handle at least some aspects of New York City’s coronavirus response in The Daily Beast, adding that such efforts “blur the lines between church and state,” and could lead to violence against LGBT individuals.
The concerns eventually reached De Blasio who has reassured New Yorkers living in fear of evangelicals that city resources, already stretched thin, will be dispatched to “monitor” the situation at the tent city in Central Park, according to the New York Post.
“I said immediately to my team that we had to find out exactly what was happening,” de Blasio said in a press conference. “Was there going to be an approach that was truly consistent with the values and the laws in New York City, that everyone would be served and served equally?”
“We’ve received those assurances from the organization,” de Blasio said, clearly skeptical. “I spoke earlier today with the CEO of the Mount Sinai system, Dr. Ken Davis, who was adamant that they will only continue their relationship with the organization if those rules are followed, that they have a written agreement, that there’s going to be no discrimination whatsoever.”
“We’re going to send people over from the Mayor’s Office to monitor,” de Blasio concluded. “I am very concerned that this is done right. But if it is done right, we need all the help we can get.”
A number of New York City councilmen also noted that they would be checking in Samaritan’s Purse and may also send aides to monitor the situation on the ground in Central Park.
New York City is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, and the organization partnering with Samaritan’s Purse, Mount Sinai, is one of the hardest hit healthcare systems in the country.
“In order to meet the needs of the coming surge, we must work as a united front in order save as many lives as possible. We are grateful for the collaboration with Samaritan’s Purse who have come to the aid of the people of Italy and now New York. Through this partnership, we are leveraging our collective resources to care for our patients and community,” the hospital system said in a statement earlier this week.