NEW YORK – The big, white Samaritan’s Purse 18-wheelers pulled into New York City during the last week of March. Within days, a fully-equipped field hospital had been erected in Central Park to assist local hospitals in treating Coronavirus COVID-19 patients.
The 68-bed emergency field hospital medical staff is complemented by 60 Christian doctors and nurses who work 12-hour shifts. This hospital and others like it have served during military conflicts, earthquakes, epidemics, and other emergencies around the globe.
The faith-based aid organization led by Franklin Graham has committed to remain on-site to treat Coronavirus victims as long as needed. The field hospital is located directly across Fifth Avenue from and working in conjunction with Mt. Sinai Hospital, and it’s providing round the clock care in New York’s Central Park.
The New York Times ran a comprehensive story about this field hospital on April 15 featuring all that is being done to help save lives, and sharing that the group has not relied upon a single penny of government aid. Samaritan’s Purse “brought its own isolation suits, face shields, rubber boots, and gloves, which workers wear in a double layer. Unlike other hospitals in the city, it has not had to ask for government assistance with these supplies or donations from the public.”
Due to its nature as an emergency response team, Samaritan’s Purse must maintain a stockpile of equipment and supplies. Another Samaritan’s Purse field hospital is currently treating COVID-19 patients in Cremona, Italy, a country also hard-hit by the coronavirus.
‘Hot Zone’ Controversy?
Amid the pandemic, Samaritan’s Purse is doing everything possible to aid the people in need at the epicenter of this crisis in New York City. Samaritan’s Purse ministers to anyone in need during crises around the world. Yet, some protestors in NYC are calling Graham and the organization “haters.”
Since staff and volunteers are asked to sign a statement of faith, indicating a personal commitment to adhering faithfully to “sound Biblical standards,” some activist groups consider that commitment to be a form of hateful discrimination. Graham recently posted a statement on Facebook regarding objections to this field hospital and its work in NYC.
‘Hot Zone’ Reality
The truth is, as Graham clarified,
“For 50 years, we have asked our paid staff to subscribe to a Statement of Faith—but we have never asked any of the millions of people we have served to subscribe to anything. In other words, as a religious charity, while we lawfully hire staff who share our Christian beliefs, we do not discriminate in who we serve. We have provided billions of dollars of medical care and supplies, food and water, and emergency shelter without any conditions whatsoever. Our Christian faith compels us — like the biblical Good Samaritan — to love and serve everyone in need, regardless of their faith or background.”
A spokesman for Mt. Sinai Hospital affirmed,
“The Central Park field hospital is operated by Samaritan’s Purse with their own doctors and staff under the oversight of the Mount Sinai Health System. All workers in the field hospital are subject to Mount Sinai policies and procedures. Today, Samaritan’s Purse again reaffirmed that consistent with all New York State anti-discrimination laws and Mount Sinai policy their employees will provide all needed healthcare to New Yorkers regardless of any individual’s religion, creed, race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender expression.”
Friends of the ministry at Answers in Genesis emphasized,
“The people working in Samaritan’s Purse aren’t asking about gender identity or sexual preferences before treating patients. They’re there to heal people and save lives regardless of what patients are doing with their life or whether they love or even hate Jesus, in whose name Christians are serving. And they are putting themselves at risk to do so.”
Franklin Graham summed up the situation when he described what he feels the protestors are unable to see.
“If any of these groups [of protestors] had funded and erected their own emergency field hospitals to serve COVID-19 patients in Central Park, we would join what we believe would be most New Yorkers — and Americans — in applauding and praying for them, not harassing them.”
- The New York Times, Treating Coronavirus in a Central Park’ Hot Zone’
- AM NY, Evangelical group running Central Park tent hospital rejected workers who wouldn’t sign statement of faith, protesters say
- CBN News, Now Is Not the Time: Franklin Graham Issues Bold Response to Critics of Samaritan’s Purse in NYC
- Answers in Genesis, Love Wins: Hate & Samaritan’s Purse in New York City