Gay man arrested for planting Pride flag in tent hospital run by Franklin Graham

(L) William Talen in character as Reverend Billy — Photo: Jonathan McIntosh; (R) Talen being arrested — Photo: Twitter

Franklin Graham’s group Samaritan’s Purse is learning that no good deed goes unpunished, as a variety of unhinged New Yorkers, including the mayor, fling insults at them for setting up a coronavirus field hospital in New York’s Central Park.

NBC News reports that on the afternoon of April 5 an activist known as Reverend Billy, decked out in a pink suit and a mask, was arrested at the mobile hospital run by Graham’s organization. Graham has spoken out against the normalization of homosexuality and gay marriage.

“They have no business being in New York City,” William Talen, 69, shouted as six New York police officers, one of whom appeared to have seized Talen’s rainbow flag, escorted him from the park. “They are the virus.”

In an effort to justify his hatred, Talen has satirized consumerism and right-wing religious beliefs in the character of Reverend Billy for more than 20 years.

The 68-bed field hospital is run by Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian organization run by Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham. Franklin Graham, as NBC News previously reported, has a long history of controversial beliefs and remarks, and his relief organization requires volunteers to adhere to a Statement of Faith, which says “marriage is exclusively the union of one genetic male and one genetic female.”

In a statement shared with NBC News, Graham said Samaritan’s Purse “treats everyone we help the same.”


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