Virulently homophobic preacher Rick Wiles, who said in January that God sent the novel coronavirus to destroy LGBTQ people, has now attributed the death of an LGBT Bar Association of New York board member to God’s judgment.
Richard E. Weber Jr. died of complications from the virus, now known as COVID-19, last Wednesday. The 57-year-old lawyer was a partner in the firm of Gallo Vitucci Klar, which has offices in New York City and New Jersey.
“He was just a wonderful human being with a real dedication to giving back to others,” Eric Lesh, executive director of LeGaL, the LGBT Bar Association of New York, told Law.com. Weber was also a former member of the Borough Council in Metuchen, N.J.
But to Wiles and his associates, Weber is a symbol of everything they believe the Almighty is punishing. “He was a senior lawyer for the LGBT Bar Association of New York,” Wiles said Friday on his TruNews program (an outlet that holds White House press credentials). “The lawyers who sue churches, the lawyers who sue ministries.” One of Wiles’s companions on the program said those lawyers are “the ones pushing for integration of bathrooms.”
“There is a judgment, I’m telling you, a plague is under way,” Wiles continued in the clip, posted by Right Wing Watch. “Get under the blood of Jesus Christ. Do not be in opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ and his church! … There is a death angel moving across the world, and your only safety is in Christ.”
In addition to sending a homophobic and transphobic message, Wiles was ignoring the fact that undoubtedly many of those who have died of the virus identify as Christians.
In January, Wiles said the virus was initially visited on China because of its “godless communist government” and that the U.S. is not much better. “Look at the spiritual rebellion that is in this country, the hatred of God, the hatred of the Bible, the hatred of righteousness,” Wiles said then. “Just vile, disgusting people in this country now, transgendering little children, perverting them. Look at the rapes and the sexual immorality and the filth on our TVs and our movies.”
Wiles made a similar prediction about the Ebola outbreak in 2014, but the epidemic ended within two years and was confined to a few countries, although there is still no cure and no vaccine for Ebola.
TruNews had credentials to cover the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, courtesy of the White House. Donald Trump and various members of his administration attended the forum, and Wiles publicly thanked Trump “for extending the invitation to be here.” Wiles also has a history of anti-Semitic rhetoric, such as calling the impeachment of Trump a “Jew coup.”