Metro Weekly

Trump-approved pastor says LGBTQ lawyer’s coronavirus death was God’s “judgment”

TruNews' Rick Wiles said the death of Richard E. Weber was part of a "plague" from God

rick wiles, richard e weber

Rick Wiles (Photo: Right Wing Watch) and Richard E Weber (Photo: Facebook)

The death of an LGBTQ lawyer who contracted COVID-19 coronavirus was God’s “judgment,” according to a Trump-approved pastor.

Richard E. Weber, a board member of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, died last week due to complications from the virus, Bloomberg Law reports.

The 57-year-old helped manage LeGaL’s free legal clinic, and LeGaL executive director Eric Lesh described him as “kind,” “always smiling,” and someone who brought “joy and exuberance” to others.

“He was a loving, kind and caring human being who gave generously of his legal talents and his energy to the LGBTQ community,” he told New York Daily News.

But Weber’s death has been branded “a judgment” from God by End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles, Right Wing Watch reports.

Speaking on his “TruNews” program, the conservative figure — who was recently granted press credentials by the White House — called coronavirus a “plague” and tied Weber’s death to his work for the LGBT Bar Association.

“He was a senior lawyer for the LGBT Bar Association of New York,” Wiles said. “The lawyers who sue churches, the lawyers who sue ministries…one of their senior lawyers for the gay rights movement died today in New York City of the coronavirus.

“There is a judgment, I’m telling you, a plague is underway,” he continued. “Get under the blood of Jesus Christ. Do not be in opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ and his church!”

He added: “There is a plague underway. There is a death angel across the world, and your only safety is in Christ.”

Wiles has a history of anti-LGBTQ, anti-Semitic, and bigoted statements, and made headlines earlier this year after saying that coronavirus will “purge” gay people.

Again calling coronavirus a plague from God, he said it was sent to “purge a lot of sin off this planet.”

Wiles’ comments are part of a trend of conservative figures blaming gay people for coronavirus or suggesting it was sent by God because of LGBTQ acceptance.

Last week, a Tennessee pastor said coronavirus was a “reckoning” from God because of marriage equality.

That same week, a guest host on The Rush Limbaugh Show said gay people are the reason San Francisco was placed on lockdown.

Conservative author Mark Steyn said the city’s mayor didn’t want “all the gays dropping dead” in a “big gay apocalypse,” and said gay people are “the ones with all the compromised immune systems from all the protease inhibitors and all the other stuff.”

And earlier this month, an Orthodox rabbi in Israel and an American pastor both claimed that coronavirus was divine punishment for allowing LGBTQ people to exist.


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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at

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