Con­tro­ver­sial pas­tor ad­vis­ing Trump aides

Evan­gel­i­cal teacher once gave coun­sel deemed misog­y­nis­tic to state law­mak­ers.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Evan Halper

WASH­ING­TON —News from the Chris­tian Broad­cast­ing Net­work that mem­bers of Pres­i­dent Trump’s Cab­i­net are at­tend­ing Bi­ble study ses­sions to­gether didn’t come as such a shock in Wash­ing­ton.

The shock was who is teach­ing them.

That teacher, Pas­tor Ralph Drollinger, is well known to some mem­bers in the Cal­i­for­nia con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion. He is the evan­gel­i­cal spir­i­tual leader who once coun­seled a group of Sacra­mento law­mak­ers that fe­male politi­cians with young chil­dren had no business serv­ing in the Leg­is­la­ture. In fact, he called them sin­ners.

Drollinger also de­clared that Ro­man Catholi­cism “is one of the pri­mary false re­li­gions in the world” — pre­cip­i­tat­ing his Bi­ble study group’s move out of a suite of of­fices con­trolled by then-

Gov. Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger, a Catholic.

But it was the re­mark about fe­male politi­cians, made in a writ­ten Bi­ble les­son dis­trib­uted to his study group in 2004, that stoked the most con­tro­versy.

“It is one thing for a mother to work out of her home while her chil­dren are in school,” wrote Drollinger, a Cal­i­for­nian who cre­ated a group called Capi­tol Min­istries to teach evan­gel­i­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the Bi­ble to politi­cians. “It is quite an­other mat­ter to have chil­dren in the home and live away in Sacra­mento for four days a week. Whereas the for­mer could be in keep­ing with the spirit of Proverbs 31, the lat­ter is sin­ful.”

At the time, the com­men­tary caught the at­ten­tion of the leg­isla­tive women’s cau­cus, where sev­eral mem­bers ex­pressed mor­ti­fi­ca­tion at what they flatly la­beled Drollinger’s misog­y­nis­tic teach­ings. State law­mak­ers protested by wear­ing aprons in cham­bers.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Mon­terey Park), who was serv­ing in the Leg­is­la­ture at the time, said in an email Wed­nes­day that she is alarmed to see Drollinger is now coun­sel­ing the most pow­er­ful peo­ple in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I was a mem­ber of the Cal­i­for­nia Assem­bly when Mr. Drollinger told the women leg­is­la­tors with chil­dren at home that they were sin­ners, and I re­mem­ber the dis­be­lief we had that some­one would say such a thing in the mod­ern era,” Chu wrote. “This ad­min­is­tra­tion al­ready has a deeply trou­bling record of pol­icy and speech that harms women, and so it’s con­cern­ing that this is the ide­ol­ogy the pres­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent hand­picked to help in­flu­ence the think­ing of the heads of our gov­ern­ment.”

The group boasts that it “has planted bib­li­cal min­istries of evan­ge­lism and dis­ci­ple­ship” in 40 state capi­tols and es­tab­lished a study group in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in 2010. By last year, Drollinger and his as­so­ciates also had a pres­ence in the U.S. Se­nate, and counted 68 law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill as mem­bers.

The CBN re­port says the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion study group in­cludes Atty. Gen. Jeff Ses­sions, Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Betsy DeVos, Agriculture Sec­re­tary Sonny Per­due and CIA Direc­tor Mike Pom­peo.

The of­fices of the Cab­i­net mem­bers who Drollinger told CBN are part of his Bi­ble study did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment or de­clined to com­ment. Trump has not yet at­tended a ses­sion but he re­ceives a copy of Drollinger’s teach­ing weekly, and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, who is serv­ing as a spon­sor of the group, plans to at­tend when his sched­ule al­lows, ac­cord­ing to CBN.

Drollinger could not be reached for com­ment. A staffer at Capi­tol Min­istries said in an email that the pas­tor is on his an­nual 200-mile hike of the John Muir Trail.

The goal of his two-decade-old min­istry, ac­cord­ing to its web­site, is to bring Je­sus Christ to politi­cians “at every stop along their ca­reer paths, be­gin­ning with their first lo­cal elected or ap­pointed po­si­tions and fol­low­ing as they as­cend to higher of­fice. By do­ing so, the im­pact of the Gospel will be in­creased in every strata of gov­ern­ment as pub­lic ser­vants who have been im­mersed in the word of God move from tier to tier.”

Drollinger spoke to the Los An­ge­les Times in 2004, as the con­tro­versy around his writ­ings on fe­male leg­is­la­tors erupted. Ac­knowl­edg­ing he fre­quently did not see his own chil­dren while trav­el­ing for work, Drollinger ex­pressed no re­grets about his re­marks back then and saw no dou­ble stan­dard in not la­bel­ing fa­thers of young chil­dren serv­ing in Sacra­mento sin­ners. He said his be­lief was that hus­bands were free to serve lead­er­ship roles out­side the home but should be “ex­tra sen­si­tive” about be­ing away too long.

Drollinger did at the time have some mis­giv­ings about his re­marks about Ro­man Catholi­cism, which he said were grounded in a cen­turies-old dis­pute about the re­la­tion­ship between church and Scrip­ture. “I wasn’t try­ing to say some­thing about Maria Shriver or any­thing,” he said in 2004, re­fer­ring to Sch­warzeneg­ger’s wife at the time. But, he added, “I could see where that caused prob­lems.”

Drollinger’s Bi­ble study with Trump Cab­i­net of­fi­cials comes af­ter many women have been ran­kled by Pence’s long-stand­ing, faith­based pol­icy of re­fus­ing to dine alone with any woman other than his wife, in a town where so much business hap­pens at power lunches and din­ners.

Trump, whose 24-mem­ber Cab­i­net in­cludes just four women, has strug­gled to gar­ner sup­port from fe­male vot­ers. Dur­ing the cam­paign he apol­o­gized af­ter a decade-old video­tape sur­faced in which he boasted of grop­ing women.

A new Quin­nip­iac poll finds just 27% of women sup­port how Trump is han­dling the pres­i­dency.

Danielle Drollinger

RALPH DROLLINGER wrote in 2004 that it was “sin­ful” for a mother of young chil­dren to also be a state law­maker.

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