Ralph Drollinger, the minister who leads regular prayer and Bible study meetings with members of President Trump’s cabinet and members of Congress, says in his written Bible study guide for this month, “Do not be deceived by syncretistic, ‘prayer breakfasts:’ God only hears the prayers of leaders and citizens who are upright, who live righteously through faith in Jesus Christ.”
Drollinger’s claim is reminiscent of a notorious 1980 declaration by the then-head of the Southern Baptist Convention Bailey Smith, who told a Religious Right political gathering that it was “interesting” to him that political gatherings would “have a Protestant to pray and a Catholic to pray and then you have a Jew to pray.” Added Smith, “With all due respect to those dear people, my friend, God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew. For how in the world can God hear the prayer of a man who says that Jesus Christ is not the true Messiah?”
Back to Drollinger’s recent Bible study guide, dated July 10, 2017:
Scripture is clear; those who are at enmity with Him—who passively or actively reject the Son of God—their prayers are worthless and go unheard. And the State suffers for want of His blessing. The righteous leader is a man of potent prayer.
CBN reported in April that Drollinger started working during the transition to set up White House Bible studies, noting that “sponsors include Vice President Pence; Secretaries Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, Sonny Perdue, Rick Perry, Tom Price and Jeff Sessions; EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.” Drollinger’s most recent Bible study guide lists more than 50 members of Congress as sponsors, along with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin.
Drollinger’s comments about prayer were part of a discussion of separation of church and state. He says that while the Bible supports institutional separation—no state Church—it does not support “influential” separation. This month’s Bible study is all about the church’s obligation to develop righteous governmental leaders. He is dismissive of Christian groups that focus on lobbying for specific policies, rather than winning politicians’ souls or replacing them with people who are “strong in Christ Public Servants.”
And, he writes, public officials have a special obligation to make sure the nation has “God-fearing righteous judges,” not ones who support abortion or “make up rights for the unrighteous”:
It is only through righteous lawmakers and law enforcers that a society can have any semblance of justice. Justice stems from righteous, God-fearing individuals who are grown into such by the discipleship priorities of the Church in a composite nation of co-abiding Institutions of Church and State.
Once a righteous person is in power, he says, they have the obligation to hire only righteous employees, and not to “compromise biblical absolutes in his policies or interactions with others.”
Drollinger started holding weekly Bible studies for members of Congress back in 2010. In 2011, Kyle wrote about a James Dobson interview with Drollinger, in which he talked about the 2010 Tea Party wave that elected a “flood of new believers” that “snuck in under the radar.” Kyle noted that Drollinger taught that entitlement programs “stem from bad theology.”
This past April, Brendan O’Connor at Fusion published an in-depth look at Drollinger and his Capitol Ministries. O’Connor reported that Drollinger had proclaimed Catholicism to be “the world’s largest false religion” and “that female legislators who continue working after having children are sinners, and that homosexuality is an ‘abomination.’” A bit more:
He has also written that social welfare programs are un-Christian. “It is safe to say that God is a Capitalist,” Drollinger once wrote, “not a Communist.” In a January radio interview, Drollinger praised then-senator Jeff Sessions, who “hungers and thirsts for the Scripture,” for his performance during his confirmation hearing, when he provided a Biblical justification for his draconian views on immigration. “I’ve had the distinct honor of teaching him on this subject, and many others,” Drollinger said. “There’s nothing more exciting, when you’re a Bible teacher, to see one of the guys you’re working with—to see him or her articulate something you’ve taught them when they’re under the gun.” …
Drollinger also argues that climate change is impossible because God promised after The Flood never to do anything like that again. Drollinger preaches against “radical environmentalism” and that to believe that human activity could have devastating impact on the environment is not just mistaken, but the result of godless pride: “To think that man can alter the earth’s ecosystem—when God remains omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent in the current affairs of mankind—is to more than subtly espouse an ultra-hubristic, secular worldview relative to the supremacy and importance of man,” Drollinger wrote recently. “It follows that we can all rest assured and wholly rely on God’s aforementioned promises pertaining to His ability and willingness to sustain our world’s ecosystem.”
Drollinger’s Bible studies with Trump cabinet members have excited Religious Right leaders like Franklin Graham and Tony Perkins, who called it “a breath of fresh air for leaders whose beliefs were suffocated under Barack Obama.”
A Drollinger spokesperson told Fusion that Drollinger “does not consider himself a Christian Dominionist,” but he certainly subscribes to one of the basic dominionist tenets, namely that God wants the right kind of Christians to be in charge of the government and other spheres of influence in society:
Make no mistake here: it is righteousness that exalts a nation! Therefore the priority of evangelism is the key to a great nation more so than anything else! You need to get this through your head my friends: Evangelism is the germination of righteousness! We need today to convert Public Servants who are lost without Christ!