THE BLOG
10/30/2014 03:24 pm ET Updated Dec 29, 2014

An Open letter to the Rev. Franklin Graham

Dear Rev. Graham,

You don't know me, although we are in a similar line of work. You are the head of a significant worldwide ministry, and I am the senior rabbi of a synagogue on the East Coast. Based on some of your pronouncements, I am sure that there are matters on which we disagree, certainly gay rights and Islam. However, on many matters I feel we are in complete agreement, namely the importance of faith and the role that faith can play in motivating us to do good works.

I am writing to commend you for your remarkable organization, Samaritan's Purse, which provides medical care for poor and isolated communities. Samaritan's Purse is one of the organizations that is working in the Ebola hot zones of West Africa, successfully stemming the spread of this dreaded disease and saving countless lives in this region of the world. Indeed, it was a volunteer from Samaritan's Purse, Dr. Kent Brantly, who was the first Ebola patient to be treated in the United States. Like many, I prayed for Dr. Brantly's recovery, and I am glad to see that he is in full health.

But Rev. Graham, many of the doctors and nurses who return from their volunteer duty are being treated as pariahs. Despite the advice of medical professionals, and fueled by a sensationalist media and cynical political calculations, these heros are being locked up rather than lauded, demonized rather than defended. I am writing to you Rev. Graham to speak out on behalf of these brave and selfless volunteers, who put themselves in harm's way only to be treated by many as a threat upon their return to our shores. Your voice is one of moral authority for many in our political leadership, and you have a large following. I am sure that a word from you will not only help us understand how to receive these returning volunteers, but might help silence those who are exploiting this crisis for personal and political gain. Once again, I commend you for your work on behalf of the poor and underserved, and wish you continuing success.

Yours in Faith,

Rabbi Doug Sagal