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USA: Rev. Billy Arrested For Planting Rainbow Flag At Central Park Tent Hospital Run By Anti-Gay Group

Wednesday 8 April 2020, by siawi3

Source: https://gothamist.com/news/rev-billy-arrested-planting-rainbow-flag-central-park-tent-hospital

Rev. Billy Arrested For Planting Rainbow Flag At Central Park Tent Hospital Run By Anti-Gay Group

By Jake Offenhartz

April 6, 2020 5:35 p.m.

The performance activist Billy Talen was arrested on Sunday while protesting a Central Park field hospital, after planting a rainbow flag at the site to bring attention to the anti-gay religious group behind the facility.

Talen, 69, was arrested and charged with criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, obstructing government administration, and resisting arrest, police said. The well-known New York activist, who goes by Reverend Billy and leads the Church of Stop Shopping, spent 20 hours in jail before being released following a Skype arraignment, he said.

In a video shared with Gothamist, cops escort Talen away in handcuffs, as he accuses Samaritan’s Purse, the group responsible for the tent facility, of being “right-wing apocalyptic Christians” trying to “take advantage of our sorrow.”

Video here

Samaritan’s Purse, led by notoriously anti-gay and Islamophobic preacher Franklin Graham, opened the 68-bed respiratory facility in Central Park last week to care for spillover COVID-19 patients from Mount Sinai. They said they were treating dozens of critically ill people as of Monday morning.

The group has drawn the ire of some New Yorkers, and concerns from Mayor Bill de Blasio, for forcing all health care workers and volunteers to adhere to an anti-gay statement of faith. The group has allegedly turned away volunteers over their sexual preferences — sparking at least one complaint to the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, the former executive director of the New York Civil Liberties, said the relief organization appeared to be violating New York City’s human rights protections.

“All of us are appreciative of Samaritan’s Purse. It’s needed, thank you. But you can’t have a place of public accommodation in a public space discriminating based on religious belief,” he told Gothamist. “There should not be a requirement in order to help in this unprecedented situation.”

Franklin Graham
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If you are a Christian doctor, nurse, paramedic, or other medical professional interested in serving COVID-19 patients in our @SamaritansPurse Emergency Field Hospital in NYC, please visit http://samaritanspurse.org .
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9:49 PM - Mar 29, 2020
VIDEO here

In addition to the Central Park Field Hospital, Samaritan’s Purse will also be erecting 400 beds for non-coronavirus patients at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan.

Bishop Clifton Daniel, the dean of the church, told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman on Monday that he rejected the group’s values, but would accept their help regardless.

“I know what Franklin Graham stands for, and I am not for what he stands for at all. But at the same time, we’re in the business of saving lives and helping people,”
Daniel said. “I think if you’re in the desert dying of thirst and somebody hands you a glass of water, you don’t check their driver’s license. You just say ’thank you.’ So I said ’thank you.’”

Inquiries to Samaritan’s Purse were not returned.