Freethought Today · September 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

White House bible study a big waste to taxpayers

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is appalled that the Trump administration holds weekly bible study sessions at the White House.

The list of attendees reportedly contains the names of several officials whose appointments FFRF objected to because of their inability to keep their personal religion separate from their public office. These include Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Vice President Mike Pence sponsors the club.

The bible study is led by an outsider, Ralph Drollinger. He formed Capitol Ministries with the mission to "birth ongoing outposts for Christ." Drollinger's access to high-level officials with what he calls "para-church ministry" is disturbing. He has said, "Homosexuality is a sin. It is an abomination in the eyes of God."

Mothers who work outside the home are sinners, according to Drollinger: "Women with children at home who either serve in public office, or are employed on the outside, pursue a path that contradicts God's revealed design for them. It is a sin."

Last year, Drollinger attacked social welfare programs as unbiblical, un-Christian, and based on "the bad theology of theological liberalism."

That Drollinger has unfettered access to the highest levels of our government is scary and raises serious state-church concerns.

For instance, all these messages have a direct impact on public policy, including on LGBTQ rights, women's rights, the social safety net, the right to choose, environmental issues, and global climate change, among others.

This access and ability to affect policy might run afoul of lobbying regulations, something FFRF attorneys are investigating.

Drollinger's website also has a hypocritical note that lacks all self-awareness: "Privacy Notice: Please note that it is the strict policy of Capitol Ministries not to comment on any public servant who is involved with our organization. We protect the privacy of all who attend our bible studies."

So Drollinger gets access to public officials in a government building, but refuses to discuss which officials join in. If those officials want privacy, the solution is simple: Study the bible in your private capacity, not in your official capacity and at your government desk. Do it on your on time, not the taxpayers'. In short, get off your knees and get to work.

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