Religious Extremists Weaponizing Coronavirus Against LGBT Americans
Religious organizations such as Samaritans Purse have aligned themselves with medical providers to put a blockade between sick queer patients and emergency treatment for coronavirus.
In the middle of New York City, notoriously anti-gay minister Franklin Graham’s organization known as Samaritans Purse has self funded a makeshift tent hospital in an arrangement with Mount Sinai hospital intended to treat the overflow of patients suffering from COVID-19.
What might have been considered a welcome gesture of community solidarity during a global crisis soon became a power move by a documented hate group to exclude LGBTQ sick people from their services and strong-arm medical professionals that are volunteering to assist sick and dying patients into agreeing to their Statement of Faith; That Transgender people do not exist and marriage is “exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female” and the unrighteous are subjected to “everlasting punishment in hell.”
The hate group has also made the public solicitation for “ Christian licensed medical professionals to serve alongside us as we respond to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Although the state of New York has anti-discrimination laws, the city itself is far too deeply entrenched in chaos to enforce such laws in a timely fashion, and unfortunately, tax exempt religious organizations like Samaritan’s Purse can afford to exploit this global pandemic as an opportunity to wedge themselves between sick LGBTQ folks and the urgent treatment they desperate need.
They have put themselves in a position to independently determine what quality of human is worthy of treating the sick- non-Christians needn’t apply- and worse, who among us is worthy of saving.
This dangerous practice is completely legal as a result of the Trump Administration founding the Department of Health and Human Services division of New Conscience and Religious Freedom, which allows medical professionals to refuse treatment to LGBTQ patients citing religious objection. The American President and his administration have waged a non-stop assault on the rights and freedoms of Gay, Lesbian and Transgender people since taking office in 2016, including the current Supreme Court Case which challenges the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people from being protected from discrimination by the 1964 civil rights act. A verdict is expected in June.
Bigoted Politicians like Rep. Andy Biggs jumped on the opportunity to shoehorn hatred into the federal coronavirus response. Biggs voted against the Coronavirus Stimulus relief bill because it “redefined families” outside Biblical definitions and aimed to help even same sex married couples- who are already federally recognized- in the same way it would help straight, cisgender couples.
But, the first indication that LGBTQ+ patients affected by the virus were experiencing different responses to their need for treatment came as a mere footnote in a story of Joey Stuller, a man who is in the process of recovering from COVID-19.
Joey Danger Stuller
To my friends and family who have been concerned and reaching out to me I just want you to know I see you, I hear you…
Mr. Stuller took to Facebook on March 20th to share his long and painful ordeal getting any quality care or treatment as his health rapidly deteriorated. He explained how he was dismissed by most at the urgent care center he went to, and most of the staff appeared afraid of him as he appeared visibly ill. He was sent home multiple times before finally getting admitted- and the charged thousands of dollars. The media picked up his story to detail the hardships of getting tested in America… but one frightening aspect of Stuller’s story stood out to me as a queer person.
Stuller says in his post;
“Finally after hours of waiting alone balled up in the center of the broken recliner chair, a doctor came in with a thick accent hard to understand. The very first thing he said to me was “You have sex with men?” I couldn’t understand why he was asking me this question but it only added to my anxiety about being in this place.”
In a growing pandemic, the very first question was regarding his sexuality.
Since the onset of Coronavirus, that has seen the USA become the epicenter of global infections, religious radicals have been blaming it on transgender people and gay men with one Evangelical deeming it “The Homovirus.”- and now some of those very people want a hand in administering care to the public in the name of charity.
More terrifying for the LGBTQ+ community is having seen President Trump assign Vice President Mike Pence to the official Coronavirus Response Task Force. Mr. Pence, a devoutly religious man, supported the use of federal funding for conversion therapy. As the Governor of the State of Indiana, he campaigned heavily against marriage equality and did so again in congress. Now he is responsible for ensuring the very people he has a history of condemning get equal access to treatment during a crippling pandemic.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio has stated that there will be no discrimination when it comes to treating patients who are served by the religious entering they frontlines of care, despite them demanding all staff agree to their grossly discriminatory world view.
That we would perish in their care is clear to all of us.
New York City has a significant LGBTQ+ community, many of who are likely to fall ill and need varying degrees of care. For a city that has set the golden standard for inclusion and equality and is the very birthplace of LGBTQ rights, to see the potential disregard for the safety and care of sick people left to suffer on those very same streets that once hosted Pride Marches is nothing short of a National disgrace.
It has also revealed the unsettling reality of what we can expect from these religious organizations should ever a more detrimental crisis befall us in the future. It is clear now it would be wielded against us, and likely to our detriment.