Metro Weekly

Anti-gay pastor who claimed COVID-19 was judgment on gays dies from virus

Irvin Baxter Jr. complained about premarital sex and cited an anti-gay Bible verse as reasons for the pandemic

irvin baxter, covid, coronavirus, pastor, endtime ministries

Irvin Baxter Jr. — Photo: Right Wing Watch

An anti-LGBTQ televangelist who blamed the COVID-19 pandemic on “fornication” and living a “sinful lifestyle” has died after contracting the virus.

Irvin Baxter Jr., founder Endtime Ministries, died on Tuesday, Nov. 3, after being hospitalized the previous week due to the coronavirus.

Baxter, a Pentacostal minister, claimed in March that the pandemic was God’s judgment, citing a lack of virgin brides and a Bible verse that contains opposition to homosexuality.

“There are 7.5 million unmarried couples living together in the United States,” Baxter said in an episode of ‘”The Jim Bakker Show.” “That means 15 million people are living together unmarried, and that’s increased over the last 10 years by 138 percent.”

He complained that, per his own research, “5 percent of new brides in America are virgins. That means 95 percent have already committed fornication,” according to Right Wing Watch.

Baxter then cited 1 Corinthians 6, which opposes “homosexuals” and “the sexually immoral.”

“‘God is not mocked,” he said. “No fornicator, no adulterer, nor effeminate, nor abuser of themselves of mankind, nor extortioner, nor drunkard. None of these shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

He added: “If we think we can just ignore God and live a sinful lifestyle, well, we cannot do it.”

Baxter continued: “God may be using this as a wake-up call. This coronavirus may be a privilege, because I will tell you right now, there is a much bigger judgment coming.”

A staunch supporter of Donald Trump — who recently lost his bid for reelection — Baxter had also claimed that those who oppose Trump are “deeply inhuman” and “satanic.”

Dave Robbins, Baxter’s co-host on televangelist program “End of the Age,” said in a press release that Baxter “went on to his great reward. We celebrate his life, but at the same time, there is sorrow, there is grieving.”

Baxter isn’t the first religious figure to try and blame LGBTQ people for the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, a religious leader in Ukraine who blamed same-sex marriage for the pandemic tested positive for coronavirus.

In August, an anti-LGBTQ Christian group that believes gay people cause “disease” was declared a COVID-19 hotspot after an outbreak of the virus among its staff.

Near the start of the pandemic, Rick Wiles — a Trump-approved pastor — responded to the death of an LGBTQ lawyer who contracted COVID-19 by saying it was God’s “judgment” and that a “plague was underway.”

A conservative pastor in Tennessee made similar comments in March, claiming that same-sex marriage was the cause of COVID-19 and that the pandemic — which has claimed almost 240,000 lives in the U.S. — was a “reckoning” from God.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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