Every Wednesday, evangelical pastor Ralph Drollinger lays out the Bible at the White House. Many Cabinet members show up for Bible study. President Trump, deeply revered by Drollinger, receives the interpretation via email.
The pastor like the president does not lack self-confidence. Donald Trump probably hasn't figured out yet "that he's chained himself to the Apostle Paul," the 6-foot-6 ex-pro basketball player tells CBN Bible TV about his push into the inner sanctum of power in Washington. This is how evangelical Ralph Drollinger sees himself, who for two decades has pursued only one goal: to bring his version of Jesus Christ to politicians at all stages of their careers.
His mission already took him to Capitol Hill two years ago, where he interpreted the Bible to Republican lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. In March, Trump opened the White House to the 63-year-old preacher. Since then, Drollinger's Wednesday morning teaching sessions have been a jour fixe for members of the administration. The hour-long Bible lesson will be attended by Justice Secretary Jeff Sessions, Housing Secretary Ben Carson, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and CIA chief Mike Pompeo, among others. Vice President Mike Pence is also rarely absent.
Trump is "like the invincible Samson"
"These guys are so faithful, willing and eager to learn," the pastor praises his listeners, whom he sometimes compares to biblical figures; Pence, for example, to Joseph before he goes before Pharaoh. With Trump, Drollinger has to think of Samson – that chosen one of God who remained invincible to the Philistines as long as he left his head hair unshorn. "I thank God for these people! 'Great people leading our nation,' Drollinger says.
So much devotion does not go unheard by the president. As a reward, the Bible study may be held in an office in the White House; and soon in the immediate vicinity of the Oval Office. Drollinger recently revealed to "Welt am Sonntag" that he often preaches on the book of Proverbs. For the story of King Solomon is of central importance for all who hold public office.
Another favorite topic is "decaying morals," which can only be restored to guide political action through strength. Politics, he says, must once again become the judge of wrong doing – and he believes President Trump is the best person to accomplish this.
From basketball to the Bible
The geography graduate is currently experiencing the high point of a second career as a revivalist in Washington. His career as a professional basketball player with the Dallas Mavericks ended abruptly in the early 1980s because his knees wouldn't take it anymore. Drollinger then turned to his new passion – trying to get fans interested in the Bible during halftimes.
He has been evangelizing politics since the late 1990s. Not only in the U.S., but also in South America, Africa and Europe, he dabbles in literal Bible interpretation. So he teaches that the world actually came into being in six days. He considers homosexuality a grave sin and believes mothers belong in the home. He considers the death penalty to be in line with the Bible. With execution, however, the executed man is to be forgiven.
"I just love this guy"
Drollinger turned an entire denomination against him when he called Catholicism "one of the false religions of the world," according to the Los Angeles Times. In a statement, the pastor dismisses it as "fake news," then reiterates his views himself. "The position of the Catholic religion is in direct opposition to what the Bible says: By grace you are saved through faith." Drollinger sees the reference to Paul in its directness. As a pastor, he has "great love" for those "caught in sin".
Trump himself hasn't found time for Bible study yet. The president receives Drollinger's Bible meditations by e-mail. Occasionally he responds with "great biblical interpretation" or the like. Its absence does not detract from the preacher's crush. Drollinger on Trump: 'I just love this guy'."