Trump Cabinet's Far-Right Bible Study Group Tried to Move to West Wing - 2018-06-13
Earlier this year, a weekly Bible study session led by a far-right evangelical pastor and sponsored by nearly a dozen members of the president's Cabinet tried to move its meetings to the White House, according to emails obtained by Gizmodo Media. Vice President Mike Pence was supposed to host the January 10 session in his West Wing office, but the location was changed at the last minute.
The pastor, Ralph Drollinger, has led Bible study groups for members of Congress under the aegis of his organization Capitol Ministries—a "para-church ministry," the "target audience" of which is elected politicians—since 2010. The existence of the Cabinet-level Bible study was first reported by Splinter in April 2017. Most meetings appear to take place at either the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Agriculture. Donald Trump appears not to have attended yet, though Drollinger claims that he sometimes annotates the weekly exegesis. "He writes me back notes on my Bible studies," the pastor said earlier this year. "He's got this leaky Sharpie felt-tip pen that he writes all capital letters with. 'Way to go Ralph, really like this study, keep it up.' Stuff like that."
In September, Jessica Harrison, a staffer in then-HHS secretary Tom Price's office, informed colleagues in an email, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Education, that the next day's Bible study would take place at the department's headquarters. "We apologize for the confusion," she wrote. "It will be moving to the WH soon." Harrison included God's Design for a Social Safety Net, in which Drollinger argues that it is God's will that government should not provide a social safety net, as an attachment.