BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
What could be more Trump-esque then for a controversial, homophobic, climate change denying, anti-Catholic pastor, who once claimed that mothers do not belong in state office, to lead a White House Bible Study Group. Meet Pastor Ralph Drollinger. You might never have heard of him, but it's time to pay attention to Drollinger, who is leading, what he says, is the first White House Bible study among executive cabinet members in at least 100 years.
"It's the best Bible study that I've ever taught in my life," Drollinger told CBN News' Jennifer Wishon in an exclusive interview. "They are so teachable; they're so noble; they're so learned." Amongst regular attendees are Health Secretary Tom Price, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Agriculture Secretary Sunny Perdue, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Vice-President Mike Pence is also a regular participant and Drollinger pointed out that "Pence has respect for the office. He dresses right — like it says Joseph cleaned himself up before he went to stand before the Pharaoh. [He] has uncompromising biblical tenacity and he has a loving tone about him that's not just a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And then fourthly, he brings real value to the head of the nation."
The Donald himself has not yet attended any of the sessions, but he apparently receives a copy of Drollinger's weekly teaching.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said the Bible study group shows that the White House is "under new management." "After eight years of the most hostile attacks on faith in America, the simple fact that the administration is encouraging its people to live out their beliefs is a powerful example of the change taking root," Mr. Perkins said in a statement. "And if anyone needs spiritual encouragement, it's the men and women in the most influential seats in Washington."
Drollinger, a 7-foot-1 former player on the UCLA basketball team, has a fairly long and colorful history of being on the outskirts of religious right stardom. Although he had a short NBA career, during his UCLA days, he "helped lead the UCLA … to four NCAA tournaments while he played center in the 1970s under coach John Wooden. He played on America's World Cup basketball team, and passed up opportunities to join the NBA so he could tour the globe with Athletes in Action, an evangelical basketball team that preached gospel during halftime," The Los Angeles Times' Evan Halper recently reported.
In 1997, Drollinger "founded Capitol Ministries with the idea that if you change the hearts of lawmakers, then their Christian world view will guide them to make good policies." According to Drollinger, the Bible study is groundbreaking, because it's the first to be held for Cabinet members in at least 100 years.
Halper also pointed out that in a written Bible lesson distributed to his study group in 2004, Drollinger wrote: "It is one thing for a mother to work out of her home while her children are in school. It is quite another matter to have children in the home and live away in Sacramento for four days a week. Whereas the former could be in keeping with the spirit of Proverbs 31, the latter is sinful."
While Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor of California, Drollinger's declaration that Catholicism "is one of the primary false religions in the world," caused him to get kicked out of a suite of offices controlled by then-Gov. Schwarzenegger, a Catholic.
During an interview with Sacramento News and Review in 2005, Drollinger said "Homosexuality is a sin," and an "abomination in the eyes of God."
Drollinger has said that he supports "the institution in Scripture where the husband is to lead the wife. That is not to mean that she is his slave, but if there is a tie vote, the tiebreaker is the husband. The wife, she should submit to his decisions, unless he is asking her to be unbiblical."
For a look at a series of Drollinger religious and financial controversies, check out Diana Butler Bass' Twitter feed. Bass is a public theologian and the author of many books, including her most recent, "Grounded: Finding God in the World."