How the Trump Cabinet's Bible Teacher Became a Shadow Diplomat - 2019-10-29

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F37.png How the Trump Cabinet's Bible Teacher Became a Shadow Diplomat October 29, 2019, Mattathias Schwartz, New York Times

Given that Drollinger leads what has come to be known as the White House cabinet Bible study, you might forgive Ortega for thinking that Drollinger offered a way into, well, the White House. Drollinger himself is aware that some foreign governments' interests in his studies might not be entirely biblical. "I can get these guys to help me," he told me a few weeks earlier, speaking of his allies in Washington. "And everybody overseas wants to know someone in D.C."

Drollinger's weekly gathering, held at 7 a.m. on Wednesdays, is perhaps the most influential small-group Bible study in the world. The study's public list of "sponsors" — who, Drollinger says, have committed to building Capitol Ministries, his nonprofit, and testifying publicly about their relationship with Jesus Christ — includes Pence; Pompeo; Rick Perry, the departing secretary of energy; Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development; Betsy DeVos, the education secretary; and Sonny Perdue, the secretary of agriculture. The former cabinet members Jeff Sessions, Alex Acosta and Scott Pruitt all attended the study during their tenures in the administration; Jim Bridenstine, who leads NASA, also attends. (A spokesperson for Pence said that while the vice president "appreciates Mr. Drollinger's work," he does not attend the cabinet study, which Drollinger confirmed. Both men denied reports that the cabinet study has ever been held in the West Wing.)

The Drollingers are careful to distinguish between their teachings and their politics, but one often bears on the other, on issues like marriage (men lead, women submit), homosexuality ("an abomination" and "illegitimate in God's eyes"), abortion (a slippery slope to infanticide), climate change (a radical belief promoted by "secular fad theorists") and family separation at the Southern border (an appropriate punishment for "illegal immigrants"). To Drollinger, the Bible is more than the literal word of God. It is the only defensible basis for any rational thought. The text, under the doctrine of inerrancy, is factually perfect and not open to multiple interpretations. It has one definite meaning that will offer itself up to diligent students.

Wikipedia cite:
{{cite news | first = Mattathias | last = Schwartz | title = How the Trump Cabinet's Bible Teacher Became a Shadow Diplomat | url = https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/magazine/ralph-drollinger-white-house-evangelical.html | work = New York Times | date = October 29, 2019 | accessdate = March 29, 2020 }}