The White House of Scripture
Updated: Feb 11
In the chambers of Congress and the backrooms of the White House, the Church can be a fickle mistress. The relationship between Church and State has long been a meandering and covetous affair since pen was put to paper on the Constitution. Nevertheless, drubbed in black ink in the very first words of the very first amendment, the law of the land reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Now, the capricious nature of such a statement has not been lost on the good people of America and the custodians whom we have chosen to govern. James Madison wrote a letter in 1803 stating, “the purpose of separation of Church and State is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.” Meanwhile, Mike Pence has been quoted in opposition to gay marriage, saying “it was not our idea; it was God’s idea.”
With that in mind, the news that there is a Bible Study in the cabinet room of the White House, hosted by inimitable pastor and aptronym beneficiary, Ralph Drollinger, offers a new twist to the liaison of politics and religion.
The members of the Bible Study are no sorry crowd. Vice-President Mike Pence. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Attorney General Sessions. The list extends into the double digits. Now, I do not wish to cut the feet before the sprint and run afoul of the double-edged sword outlined in the first amendment: I have no desire to rob our chosen leaders of their constitutional right to practice the free exercise of religion. Their position in the government should have no bearing on their individual right to believe in any spiritual sentiment that does not infringe on their ability to govern.
I am more concerned with the status of pastor-in-chief, Mr. Drollinger. It seems his influence does not only confine itself to the nation’s capitol. There are 43 state capitols throughout the country that offer bible studies under his stewardship. The House of Representatives has a group fifty strong, while there are half-a-dozen lawmakers in attendance in the Senate group. Mr. Drollinger oversees these assemblies under the guise of his organization “Capitol Ministries.” This is a man who has confessed that women are not fit to serve as leaders of his ministries because they must “play a different role” and that “the scripture does not support communism.”
Once again, I have no desire to argue with Mr. Drollinger’s personal views or his interpretation of the Bible. He has every right to hold those beliefs and voice them as an ordinary citizen. But Mr. Drollinger’s incomparable position as the pastor-in-chief of some of the most powerful men and women in the country makes him no ordinary citizen. On his website he has written, “the bible is clear regarding God’s desire in the new covenant for there to be an institutional separation of Church from the State, but institutional separation does not imply influential separation.”
Mr. Drollinger is not a guiding star waiting for the midnight calls of the angst-ridden political elite. He is willingly and openly using his interpretation of the bible to wield powerful influence over the leaders of our country in an organized and systemic fashion, using a tool that has long proven itself to be the most effective and the most dangerous in history. Religion.
While we are on the topic of history, let me use the subject as a calling card for my conclusion. The danger of having a spiritual leader so close to political decision-making has only ever proven to be the undoing of those involved. Henry II had Thomas Beckett, Tsar Nicholas had Rasputin and, it seems, the majority of the US cabinet and state legislative bodies around the country have the recklessly powerful influence of a certain Ralph Drollinger. Let us hope the House of Scripture does not come toppling down.