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Christian Cooties Worse Than Covid

Workers build field hospital in Central Park, sponsored by Evangelical charity. Some New Yorkers fear infection by viral Evangelicalism (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

With the whole world turned upside down, it may be comforting to know that some things never change — like the hatred some liberal New Yorkers have for conservative Christians:

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.

The 60-bed respiratory care unit will handle overflow patients from Mount Sinai, as the hospital grapples with a surge in novel coronavirus cases. Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical nonprofit led by the virulently anti-LGBTQ and Islamaphobic preacher Franklin Graham, will handle operations.


“This is a dangerous religious propaganda machine that uses international medical aid to further their agenda,” said Jacklyn Grace Lacey, a medical anthropologist who has closely tracked the [Samaritan’s Purse] Ebola response. “The medical care they provide is dangerously sub-standard.”

She added that the optics of the group setting up a facility in such an iconic location as Central Park were not a coincidence.

“The Graham family is well trained in how to create a spectacle,” Lacey said. “I am tremendously concerned they will hurt far more of our fellow New Yorkers than they will help.”

The city is about to run out of ventilators, according to Gov. Cuomo, and is in desperate need. But yuck, Evangelicals!

Jonathan Merritt, the liberal Evangelical, gives his imprimatur to Grahamophobia:

None of Samaritan’s Purse’s detractors have argued that the Central Park ward should be shuttered or that the organization be barred from offering care. And no one is casting aspersions on the many courageous health-care professionals who will put their lives at risk when this hospital opens. Most agree with the letter from Mount Sinai staff and doctors—at least one of whom is LGBTQ—that concerns about Samaritan’s Purse, while valid, must be set aside at the moment because “the higher mission at present is to preserve human life.”

To this, I say “yes and.” New Yorkers can admit that Samaritan’s Purse should have a role to play in this vital work, and they can also acknowledge the many valid reasons that might make vulnerable and marginalized residents a little more than nervous.

“A little more than nervous.” This I do not get. Maybe these people are afraid the Graham medical workers will feed the patients Chick-fil-A.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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