Franklin Graham has expressed disgust over reports that the U.S. government will shell out millions of dollars for gender reassignment treatments and surgeries for eligible soldiers and accused the Obama administration of allowing "immoral garbage" to infiltrate the country.
Last week, Defense Department spokesman Air Force Maj. Ben Sakrisson announced that starting Oct. 3, the military health program will cover sex-reassignment surgery for those with "gender dysphoria", according to The Military Times. Sakrisson said that the surgeries for active-duty personnel will be conducted at either a military hospital or, if qualified care is unavailable at a military facility, at a private hospital paid by Tricare.
USA Today notes that the move takes effect less than two months after a RAND Corporation study commissioned by the Pentagon found that between 1,320 and 6,630 active-duty US service members identify as transgender.
Pentagon officials have said they do not anticipate large numbers of transgender troops to qualify for surgery and said it expects to pay between $40,000 to $50,000 during the course of a service member's life to treat gender dysphoria. Overall, the Pentagon will likely spend between $2.4 to $8.4 million annually on the treatment, according to RAND.
On Monday, Graham, leader of the humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse, voiced his dismay over the move and said it indicates just how morally bankrupt the U.S. government has become.
"[When] I read about the government spending $8.4 million of taxpayers' money a year-starting today-for things like gender reassignment and hormone therapy for military personnel, I'm disgusted! Aren't you?" he asked his 4 million + Facebook followers.
"This is the kind of immoral garbage President Obama and his administration are allowing to be put in place in our country," he continued. "$8.4 million a year-with all the things our military needs-can you believe that? Things like this need to be stopped. It just shows you how morally warped our politicians have become."
Ron Crews, executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, also criticized the decision, arguing that soldiers undergoing treatments or surgeries will be unqualified for deployment for extended periods of time.
"I think this is a gross misuse of military medical dollars that should be used to make our military forces deployable or to help those who are wounded or injured while they are deployed," Crews, a veteran, told USA Today.
He also argued that the "tremendous amounts of training" the military is spending on transgender education should be devoted to "better equip" soldiers to fight wars.