White House redirects withheld WHO funds to Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham’s evangelical Christian organization that dispenses religion (including homophobia) with its aid

April 20, 2020 • 12:15 pm

The New York Post isn’t exactly a great source of news, but on the other hand it doesn’t purvey lies, either—at least not in this case, since the report has appeared at other sites. And what the article below says (click on screenshot) is depressing.

If you follow Trump’s missteps in the pandemic, you’ll already know that our “president” ordered U.S. funding of the World Health Organization (WHO) to be suspended, accusing it of buying into Chinese rhetoric that the virus wasn’t dangerous, and wasn’t easily transmitted from person to person.  That was true at the time to some extent, but our completely bailing out of WHO at this point is more or less cutting off our nose to spite our face. (Trump’s good at that!)

WHO’s annual budget is $4.8 billion, with the US providing a bit more than 10% of that.  However, the Post says this:

The US provided roughly 10 percent of the WHO’s $4.8 billion annual budget. Most US contributions were “voluntary.” Annual US dues were just $58 million, with the next installment not expected until September.

Unless my math is off, $58 million is 1.2% of 4.8 billion, not 10%. On the other hand, Politico says the U.S. contributes $400 million per year, which gets it about right.  The Post’s math appears to be wrong.

But never mind. If the next part is correct, it’s worrisome:

The White House budget office has told federal agencies to redirect World Health Organization funds to groups that do similar work, indicating a 60-day suspension of WHO funding ordered by President Trump will be permanent.

The funds will flow instead to outfits such as the Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse after Trump said Tuesday the WHO needed reform after failing to vet coronavirus data from China, contributing to a pandemic that infected more than 650,000 US residents.

The Red Cross is okay, but remember Samaritan’s Purse? As I reported a week ago, that is Franklin Graham’s (son of Billy Graham) evangelical Christian organization that agreed to help set up an emergency Covid-19 facility in Central Park—but only under the stipulation that the workers must adhere to its statement of faith, a hard-nosed religious testimony that disallows abortion, prohibits gay marriage, and touts the divinity of Jesus as well as other Christian doctrine. The Wikipedia article on Samaritan’s Purse details a history of controversy involving the organization blending disaster relief with religious proselytizing (see this article from the New York Times in 2001).

Of course the money Trump is giving to Franklin’s organization will promote conservative and evangelical Christian proselytizing. The use of government funds to promote religion is illegal: a violation of the First Amendment. I object to Trump’s petulant withholding of funds from WHO, but if those funds must be directed somewhere, it should be to organizations working to alleviate the pandemic, and to purely secular organizations. The Red Cross is one of those. Samaritan’s Purse is not.


h/t: Ken

42 thoughts on “White House redirects withheld WHO funds to Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham’s evangelical Christian organization that dispenses religion (including homophobia) with its aid

  1. Amazing – using the name “Samaritan” when it seems to me that the lesson of the Good Samaratan parable is to treat an outsider in help as much as someone on the inside.

    1. You’d make a lousy Christian according to an awful lot of Christians – and I do mean that the lot in question is awful. But if a historical Jesus existed and said what the parable says, you nailed it regarding what he meant.

  2. “Unless my math is off, $58 million is 1.2% of 4.8 million, not 10%.”

    It seems to be saying that only the $58 million is compulsory “dues”. The rest of the 10% is additional voluntary donations.

    1. Well I know it’s not what Jerry meant, but (as written) 58 million is about 1200% of 4.8 million.

      However, I agree with Coel’s reading on the main point.

  3. I’m surprised he just doesn’t have the money sent directly to his account or his son in law. Why should the corruption be interrupted.

  4. How can the US government give money to a religious organization? How can this be constitutional? Who can step in to prevent this? Does the Freedom from Religion Foundation need to file a lawsuit?

    1. Government money often finds its way to religious organizations, legally, when it is to be spent for some secular purpose. Health care services would qualify, in general. Of course, religious types often mess the arrangement up by inserting their belief practices into the process, as is the case here.

      1. Yes, their hiring practice would seem to disqualify them. But there’s seems to be plenty of wiggle room (wedge opening) in there, unfortunately.

    2. The current state of First Amendment Establishment Clause jurisprudence is that government funds may flow to faith-based social programs so long as the funds aren’t earmarked for proselytizing. Since money is fungible, however, this hardly provides a legal “bright line,” especially in cases (as Good Samaritan’s) where the social programs themselves come with religious strings attached.

  5. The New York Post isn’t exactly a great source of news, but on the other hand it doesn’t purvey lies, either …

    At least not lies detrimental to Donald Trump. The Post has been one of Trump’s staunchest allies in the tabloid press, frequently going hammer and tongs after Donald Trump’s perceived enemies. Or so my quick perusal from the grocery store checkout line of its infamous headlines suggests.

    1. I have totally given up on expecting a rock bottom for Trump and his ass-kissers. It’s just a matter of opening the morning paper to see what new outrageous, immoral, illegal, etc., activity he is carrying out.

  6. Franklin Graham might be literally the most thick-headed person in history. (Unless he’s just plain conning everyone. Never rule out a con.)

    1. Those two aren’t mutually exclusive. Even the thick-headed can run a long con, so long as they have a sufficiently developed instinct for sussing out suckers.

  7. why am I not surprised? I think the only thing 45 could do that would elicit a true surprise from me would be he he decided to follow his oath of office. I am not even surprised Congress is relatively quiet on this. At least I haven’t seen anything of outrage from them. Yet. Mayhaps they are too stunned to speak???

  8. First of all, how can the White House de-fund things and redistribute funds to others? Doesn’t congress control the funds?

    This seems like more of the same behavior we’ve seen from the Orange One. He has to create waves every news cycle, and to do so he comes up with whatever he thinks will be most controversial – things that will infuriate the liberals. His love affair with his own headlines and ratings is his only governmental strategy. Even headlines that will condemn his legacy to the tar pits of history, are, for him, better than a day without headlines. As far as I remember, he’s always been this way.

    1. Yes actually. His withholding funds to WHO is no different than holding the funds to the Ukraine. It’s just that nobody gives a damn.

      1. Some will say the following opinion is itself cruel, but I think not.

        I think it would be a benefit to the nation (and world) if tRump himself came down with Covid-19. Assuming he recovered there might be a chance that he would moderate his narcissism a bit. And either way, possibly his followers would take the pandemic more seriously.

        1. If he caught it, they would hide the fact. Whether or not they could keep it hidden from the public is another question.

          1. I’ve had the same thought, except my moral compass doesn’t even twitch. Millions of people are dying all the time, why should Trump be exempt?

            (This sort of speculation comes in the same class as the old ‘If you had a time machine would you kill Hitler’ conundrum, I think).


  9. Surely, Shirley This is illegal. Some one needs to sue ASAP before they say the $$ is all gone. I can hear 45 now “They want to take money away from the Red Cross. Can you believe it?” And remember you read it here first, folks.

  10. Separation of church and state is on life support. If tRump is reelected it’s gone. Also if we lose RGB before the orange asshole is removed.

  11. It’s getting increasingly difficult to experience an appropriate level of shock for each new shenanigan he pulls. For those of us with heart conditions, we can only take so much of tRump. I hope to outlive his presidency.

  12. As I probably said recently, by his blatant contempt for all international agreements and any international organisation that disagrees with him (which, since they are generally sane, means virtually all of them sooner or later), tRump is destroying any goodwill or prestige the US still retains and he’s rapidly dragging your country towards the same status as North Korea.

    There’s quite a way to go yet but he’s doing his best.


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