Hope for Tolerance? New Yorkers Grateful to Samaritan’s Purse for COVID-19 Help

The Samaritan's Purse New York City field hospital, pictured April 2, 2020.

By Tony Perkins Published on May 6, 2020

Samaritan’s Purse doesn’t serve to get praise. And that’s a good thing in places like New York City, where radical liberals refuse to give it any.

Even now, after treating 315 patients in its field hospital in Central Park, the news that the Rev. Franklin Graham’s work might soon be done was the only thing some liberal council members felt like celebrating. Instead of gratitude, their message to the charity is simple: Get out. And don’t come back.

Mount Sinai Hospital, who’d partnered with Samaritan’s Purse to bring more help to downtown New York, announced over the weekend that the virus crisis may finally be manageable enough for area facilities to handle on their own. New patients, it explained, would be admitted to area hospitals.

Still, it insisted, no one could thank Graham’s volunteers enough. No one, it seems, except people like Democratic New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

In a tweet that same day, he tried to kick the group on the way out, insisting that “their continued presence here is an affront to our values of inclusion, and is painful for all New Yorkers who care deeply about the LGBTQ community.” It’s time for Mount Sinai “to sever its relationship” with Samaritan’s Purse.

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As Johnson hurls insults, offending every doctor, nurse, and volunteer who put their lives on the line for his city, not everyone shares his opinion. Watching the charity up close changed a lot of people’s minds about Graham and his organization.

Moving stories like the Tilson Family, who donated thousands of dollars of supplies and started working alongside the team despite its political views, started to surface.

In a tearful online video message, Whitney Tilson thanks them and argues, “Their primary mission in life is not to go out and have hatred toward gays,” he said. “They believe what the Bible says, that homosexuality is a sin — yes. But it is not what drives them. What drives them is, ‘How can I do God’s work by healing people and saving lives?’”

He wasn’t the only one to notice. There were the burger deliveries from comedian Jimmy Fallon and donuts boxes with thank yous from patients. For every hateful comment hurled from the left, there was a grateful local eager to make up for it.

So when people approach Graham now and ask if the backlash has anything to do with the team leaving New York, he’s quick to set the record straight: it had to do with “patient load and nothing else.”

“We got quite a bit of pushback,” Graham agreed. “But the interesting thing is, we didn’t get any pushback from the hospital that we’re working under, Mount Sinai.” That’s because they understood as well as he did: “We were there to save lives. We weren’t there to argue with people.”

In the end, Graham knows better than anyone: The only people who matter are the ones they serve.

And that’s the irony of this whole ridiculous debate. Samaritan’s Purse never discriminates against patients like these liberals discriminate against their providers.

If the far-left had its choice, it has made it quite clear: We’d rather leave sick people without care than partner with people of faith. And yet, somehow, Graham is the one who’s “intolerant”?

In the end, Graham knows better than anyone: The only people who matter are the ones they serve.

“We’ve had several [patients] say they didn’t want to go home because they felt safe in the field hospital. To me, that’s a testimony to our staff and to the care and to the work that they did, doing this unto Jesus Christ. They’re doing it in His name.” And nothing liberals say can change that — or the impact this ministry leaves behind.


Originally published in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.


COVID-19 is causing massive disruptions in life. The Stream’s parent organization, LIFE Outreach International, is helping send a first wave of help.

LIFE’s local mission partners are already distributing thousands of surgical masks, gloves and other sanitary supplies to first responders, hospitals and nursing homes. In addition, other partners have focused on distributing as many meals as possible to help those who need food.

You can help with these efforts. Click here to donate.

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