Ralph Drollinger, the minister who leads regular prayer and Bible study meetings with members of President Trump’s cabinet and members of Congress, says in his written Bible study guide for this month, “Do not be deceived by syncretistic, ‘prayer breakfasts:’ God only hears the prayers of leaders and citizens who are upright, who live righteously through faith in Jesus Christ” [Peter Montgomery, “Leader of Trump Cabinet Bible Study: God Only Hears Prayers of ‘Righteous’ Christians,” Right Wing Watch, 2017.07.11].
Drollinger’s Capitol Ministries® Members Bible Study lists Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds among its sponsors. Thune and Rounds apparently support Drollinger’s notion that only his flavor of Christians can effectively lead the our nation:
How misinformed, simplistic, and overlooking is the wisdom of our nation’s leaders wherein the formation of righteous individuals through aggressive evangelism is never even mentioned let alone emphasized! We need Franklin Graham to hold a crusade in the Capitol! What could be more important to the righteousness of our nation! Such ignorance in our priorities bespeaks of the famine of biblical literacy in our Capitol! Make no mistake here: it is righteousness that exalts a nation! Therefore the priority of evangelism is the key to a great nation more so than anything else! You need to get this through your head my friends: Evangelism is the germination of righteousness! We need today to convert Public Servants who are lost without Christ! [Ralph Drollinger, “Members Bible Study,” Capitol Ministries®, 2017.07.10]
Drollinger has expressed a stream of bigoted and absurd beliefs unacceptable for policy or pulpit:
A former college basketball star turned evangelical Christian whose own church disavowed him over his bigotry and radical theology, Drollinger has variously proclaimed that Catholicism is “the world’s largest false religion,” that female legislators who continue working after having children are sinners, and that homosexuality is an “abomination.” He has also written that social welfare programs are un-Christian. “It is safe to say that God is a Capitalist,” Drollinger once wrote, “not a Communist.” In a January radio interview, Drollinger praised then-senator Jeff Sessions, who “hungers and thirsts for the Scripture,” for his performance during his confirmation hearing, when he provided a Biblical justification for his draconian views on immigration. “I’ve had the distinct honor of teaching him on this subject, and many others,” Drollinger said. “There’s nothing more exciting, when you’re a Bible teacher, to see one of the guys you’re working with—to see him or her articulate something you’ve taught them when they’re under the gun” [Brendan O’Connor, “The Trump Cabinet Has Its Own Weekly Far-Right Bible Study Group,” Fusion, 2017.04.20].
Drollinger believes that “America’s entitlement policies stem from bad theology.” Yet I would suggest his own theology
Scripture is clear; those who are at enmity with Him — who passively or actively reject the Son of God — their prayers are worthless and go unheard. And the State suffers for want of His blessing. The righteous leader is a man of potent prayer [Drollinger, 2017.07.10].
The potency of prayer appears not directly proportional to the righteousness of the supplicant. The most righteous man ever to walk the Earth prayed that a cup pass him by and saw that prayer go unanswered.
But if prayer is potent, what does the potency do? My favorite theologian regularly reminds me that prayer isn’t about winning blessing: Prayer doesn’t change God, she says, recalling the cinematic version of another favorite theologian. Prayer changes us. The more unrighteous people are, the more changing they need, and thus the more they need to pray and have those prayers heard.
Of course, that assumes there is any gradation among the unrighteous. And in a truly Christian view, any conceivable gradations that distinguish John Thune and Mike Rounds as more righteous than Al Franken or Amy Klobuchar are infinitesimal compared to original sin, the fundamental and humanly irreparable fallibility that stains all mankind.
Ralph Drollinger and his favored Christians do not have God’s private phone number. They do not have a divine right to rule. And they do not have any theological basis for their unChristian claim that they and their Great Leader are more righteous or more suited to public service in the eyes of an infinite and constantly disappointed Creator than any of their fellow beings.