Reverend Ralph Drollinger is especially close to the Trump administration, holding a weekly bible study attended by multiple members of Trump's cabinet.
He's been referred to the White House's "shadow diplomat" by The New York Times.
This proximity to national policy-makers is why it's so concerning that in a recent blog post titled "Is God Judging America Today?" Drollinger said the global pandemic was caused by LGBTQ people, environmentalists and atheists.
In his post, Drollinger claimed members of all these groups with "depraved minds" were igniting God's wrath, causing him to lash out with crises like the pandemic.
Drollinger is no stranger to attacking the LGBTQ community.
In a 2018 post about the book of Leviticus, the reverend compared homosexual relationships to a woman falling in love with her cat and said accepting gay marriage would be "a path toward extinction."
@kurteichenwald "Among the participants in Drollinger’s Bible studies are Mike Pompeo, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Ed… https://t.co/dHJikUeLHd— Don Hammond (@Don Hammond)1585147355.0
The pastor later reached out to NBC News, however, saying his words about God's wrath were misinterpretted.
While he claims homosexuality inspires a certain kind of God's wrath, he said he believes the global pandemic is caused by another kind of God's wrath which is caused by reaping and sowing wrath into the world.
LGBTQ people around the country and around the world are struggling to cope with this global pandemic. They are wor… https://t.co/r6Z33qQaRk— Human Rights Campaign (@Human Rights Campaign)1585226807.0
White House spokesman Judd Deere distanced Trump from Drollinger's remarks, saying any implication that homosexuality is to blame for the pandemic is "disgusting" and "certainly not something the President believes."
Deere made it clear that Trump does not attend Drollinger's bible study, and also stated:
"President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety of all Americans, and ensuring we emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before."
@profagagne WTH is wrong with these people? I do my best not to judge another’s status as a Christian. But things l… https://t.co/olpKs53duP— jfutral (@jfutral)1585112490.0
Making clear Drollinger's "shameful views cannot be ignored," however, Alphonso David, president of the national LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, issued a statement highlighting how the virus makes no differentiation based on sexuality and neither should we.
"LGBTQ people around the country and around the world are struggling to cope with this global pandemic. They are worried about their health, their livelihoods, and their families. At a moment where we need to pull together by recognizing our shared humanity and mutual dependence, there are some of low moral character who see it as an opportunity to continue to try to divide us."
@FriendEden100 Please put this on the evening news. It's important for people to understand who this administration… https://t.co/HqyAi1ZS0r— The Accidental Birdest (@The Accidental Birdest)1585182424.0
Though Trump doesn't personally attend Drollinger's lessons, many senior cabinet officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Health Secretary Alex Azar are frequent participants according to The Intercept.
Mike Pompeo *loves* to tell everyone how "Christian" he is. He attends Bible Study at the White House conducted by… https://t.co/fpa76S87DV— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@Mrs. Betty Bowers)1585155809.0
Blaming COVID-19 on the LGBTQ community is shameful and Rev. Drollinger’s access to the Cabinet is concerning. As p… https://t.co/CKk8hh7SKm— Rabbi Jonah Pesner (@Rabbi Jonah Pesner)1585239962.0
Vice President Pence's touchy relationship with the LGBTQ community is also well known. With so many anti-LGBTQ voices surrounding President Trump, it's not hard to figure out why so many citizens opposed to bigotry anx discrimination feel uncomfortable with a Trump presidency.