Rev. Franklin Graham could have chosen to simply ask his people to pray for New Yorkers hit hard with coronavirus. But instead he recruited 72 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel from Samaritan's Purse, an evangelical group, to set up a 68-bed facility in Central Park; it is operated in partnership with the Mount Sinai Health System and is equipped with 10 ventilators.
How was he received? Many New Yorkers welcomed Graham's efforts, but some have reviled him. Militant secularists have bombarded him with vitriol, including such notables as New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman and playwright Paul Rudnick. Hoylman called Graham a "notorious anti-gay bigot" and Rudnick branded him a "vicious homophobe."
Hoylman should not cast aspersions. In 2018, he wrote an insulting anti-Catholic tweet. I slammed him for it and he quickly called me to apologize. I accepted it. But he should know better. As for Rudnick, he is known for his filthy anti-Christian play, "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told." So he has no leg to stand on.
All of this attack on Graham stems from his belief that the institution of marriage was designed for the only two people who can naturally make a family, namely a man and a woman. Up until about a week ago yesterday, figuratively speaking, every normal person believed the same, all over the world.
Anyone is free to disagree with Graham, but to portray him as a hater is malicious. Graham explained who his medical staff serves. "We do not make distinctions about an individual's religion, race, sexual orientation, or economic status." More important, there is zero evidence that any of his ministries discriminates against anyone.
No one is to blame for these attacks on Graham more than New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. When he first learned of the relief efforts of Samaritan's Purse he acted as if New York had been invaded by a hostile force.
"I said immediately to my team that we had to find out exactly what was happening. 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?" He wasn't done. "We're going to send over people from the Mayor's Office to monitor" the park facility. That is the mindset of an authoritarian.
What makes de Blasio's attack on Graham most despicable is his failure to take coronavirus seriously. His record is an utter disgrace. Consider the following.
- "While de Blasio said he will announce new restrictions on large gatherings in the coming days, leaders in other cities and states across the U.S. have already enacted measures to slow the spread of the infectious disease." [Fox News, 3-12]
- "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Saturday he plans to keep schools in the country's largest school system open as long as possible, standing in stark contrast to the majority of the country's largest city school districts and governors in more than a dozen states who have shuttered their entire K-12 education systems to stem the spread of the coronavirus." [U.S. News & World Report, 3-14]
- "De Blasio's decision to keep New York City's schools open goes against guidance released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended that all schools close for a period of six to eight weeks, especially in states with high numbers of cases." [U.S. News & World Report, 3-14]
- "New York City is one of the few large school districts left in the country that has yet to cancel classes due to the coronavirus outbreak and the teachers that run the classroom say they're 'furious,' according to Facebook posts and statements from the teachers themselves." [NBC News, 3-15]
- "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio started rebuffing any effort to close schools last week saying, 'we are going to do our damnedest to keep the schools open.' By the end of last week, the second and third largest education systems, Los Angeles and Chicago, had announced the suspension of classes. Several large states such as Florida and Ohio have announced the cancellation of classes, too. On Sunday, it was announced that Nassau and Suffolk county schools will be closed for two weeks." [NBC News, 3-15]
- "'Because of his irresponsible decision to keep the public schools open, Mayor Bill de Blasio can no longer assure the health and safety of our students and school communities,' wrote Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, in an email to its members. 'The mayor is recklessly putting the health of our students, their families and school staff in jeopardy by refusing to close public schools.'" [New York Post, 3-15]
This same delinquent mayor is now worried that someone who is sick with coronavirus may catch the "Christian virus," simply because he was attended to by one of Franklin Graham's volunteer corps of medical professionals. Is he paranoid? Or just a bigot?
De Blasio is an embarrassment. No wonder his presidential bid fell flat. Who in his right mind would want him to run anything?
Dr. William Donohue is the president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The publisher of the Catholic League journal, Catalyst, Donohue is a former Bradley Resident Scholar at the Heritage Foundation and served for two decades on the board of directors of the National Association of Scholars. He is the author of eight books, and the winner of several teaching awards and many awards from the Catholic community. Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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