Minister Ralph Drollinger, the founder of Capitol Ministries, leads a Bible study every week for members of Donald Trump’s cabinet. As first reported by The Intercept, Drollinger recently published several blog posts and a study guide on the coronavirus pandemic. Among other points, Drollinger argues that the coronavirus may be our punishment from God. For what, exactly? The usual progressive fare: environmentalism, lesbianism, homosexuality, abortion—and yes, even China is thrown in.
Among other horrors, Drollinger wrote: “A biblically astute evaluation of the situation strongly suggests that America and other countries of the world are reaping what China has sown due to their leaders’ recklessness and lack of candor and transparency.” Yikes!
Bizarrely, Drollinger differentiates between types of God’s wrath—according to his analysis, this global pandemic isn’t quite the worst. “Relative to the coronavirus pandemic crisis, this is not God’s abandonment wrath nor His cataclysmic wrath,” he writes in the study guide. “Rather it is sowing and reaping wrath.”
As Daily Kos reported in the past, Drollinger’s views are far from progressive. For example, he has made his opinion known that young mothers shouldn’t serve in the Legislature as living away from their kids while working would be “sinful.” As The Intercept reported, he has also justified child separations at the border.
Still you might be thinking, “OK, but does what one person writes in a blog post really matter? Is this even influential?” As The Intercept reports, these study sessions happen on Wednesday mornings. Who attends? According to the outlet, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.
At this point you might also be wondering, “Is having a Bible study in the White House really a thing?” Apparently yes. As The Washington Post reported, this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Prior to the Trump administration, there were weekly prayer and study sessions that some White House staff attended. As The Guardian reports, however, it was for “lower-ranking staff members,” not the Cabinet. Perhaps surprisingly, studying the Bible in a federal building isn’t a violation of any rules, though as the Post reports, supervisors are not supposed to pressure employees into joining.
Another evangelical whose name you might have heard as the country faces a public health crisis is Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University, who decided to welcome thousands of students back to campus from spring break as most colleges shutter for safety reasons across the nation.
In the big picture, religious leaders have a unique amount of power. They could absolutely use that trust to spread accurate, scientific information to their congregations. So, you know, the opposite of blaming China and gay people for a global health crisis.