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St. John the Divine and Samaritans Purse Clash over Coronavirus Pandemic Help

St. John the Divine and Samaritans Purse Clash over Coronavirus Pandemic Help

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
April 10, 2020

Plans to turn the Cathedral of St. John the Divine into a vast coronavirus field hospital were abruptly shelved when Episcopal leaders learned that a similar project by Samaritans Purse, an evangelical humanitarian organization led by the Rev. Franklin Graham failed to meet the means test of inclusion by the progressive liberal cathedral.

An article in The New York Times said leaders of the Cathedral were upset by the involvement of Samaritan's Purse led by the Rev. Franklin Graham whose disapproval of homosexual behavior runs counter to that of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, which is based out of the cathedral.

Kaitlyn Lahm, a spokeswoman for Samaritan's Purse, said the group does not discriminate in providing treatment. "We are a Christian organization and we hire Christians who share our statement of faith."

The Episcopal Church did not realize that Samaritan's Purse would be involved in the project when it offered the use of the cathedral to Mount Sinai Health System last month. The slowing rate of hospitalizations might have created an opportunity for all parties to step back from a fraught situation, officials said.

Lahm said the group decided against opening a field hospital at the cathedral, where the floor was covered on Thursday by blue tarps that bore the relief group's stylized cross logo. She did not say what had led to the change.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference last week that the city had received assurances from Samaritan's Purse that it would follow local anti-discrimination laws in providing treatment. Mount Sinai defended its decision to partner with Samaritan's Purse as a pragmatic move during a public health crisis.

"While our organizations may have differences of opinions, when it comes to Covid-19 we are fully united: We will care for everyone and no patients or staff will be discriminated against," Mr. Kaplan said in an email. "Mount Sinai and Samaritan's Purse are unified in our mission to provide the same world-class care to anyone and everyone who needs it. No questions asked."

But as someone who has followed the Episcopal Church's pathway to full pansexual inclusion, the actions of TEC are entirely consistent with their ministry of exclusion of any group that espouses orthodoxy in faith and morals.

The Diocese of New York has a partnered lesbian assistant bishop in the person of Mary Glasspool. Naturally she and the other bishops declined to comment on the hospital project.

A Catholic priest on Long island wrote VOL and said; "Is there anyone less inclusive than an inclusive liberal?"

You can read the full story here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/nyregion/st-john-the-divine-franklin-graham.html?smid=em-share

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