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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Trump’s Cabinet Bible Study Leader Teamed Up With A Prayer Warrior to Pray Against ‘Evil Pork’ in Coronavirus Bill

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“You are a holy, righteous God who reigns, and all the evil darts that the secularist journalists, etc., would like to use to poke at us would be thwarted.”

Dave Kubal, who runs the pro-Trump prayer warrior group Intercessors for America, hosted congressional and Cabinet Bible study teacher Ralph Drollinger on a special prayer call Wednesday afternoon. During call, which took place amid congressional wrangling over legislation to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, Drollinger denounced efforts by members of Congress with an “evil secular mindset” to include what he called “evil pork” in the legislation.

Drollinger teaches members of Congress and President Donald Trump’s cabinet, and public officials around the country and the world, that the Bible instructs them to embrace right-wing policies that align with his very conservative interpretation of scripture. He teaches that legislators who do not share his particular conservative Christian worldview cannot be counted on to do the right thing because, he has written, “the longer a person rejects Christ, the greater his depravity becomes.”

Drollinger expressed hope that God would use the virus in a way that would cause people to turn to God and bring about a revival. But he was concerned that economic relief provisions in the legislation might include such generous unemployment benefits that it would be an “impetus to slothfulness.” That would be “antithetical to free-market capitalism,” he said, which he teaches is the economic system favored by God.

Drollinger and Kubal took turns reflecting and praying. Drollinger urged that the final legislation would not include provisions that would erase “internal mechanisms” for “every man in America to get up and provide for himself and his household.” Kubal led prayer against “the increase of government” and for the protection of free-market capitalism.

They both prayed that during the final hours of legislative debate on a stimulus package, God would empower and lift up members of Congress who shared their biblical worldview and shame the promoters of “evil pork.”

Related: Trump Cabinet Bible Study Leader Blames Coronavirus on Gay People and Environmentalists

After dispensing with prayers for the coronavirus legislation, the two discussed Drollinger’s recent written Bible study in which he, in his trademark pedantic fashion, discussed whether the coronavirus epidemic is a sign that America is under God’s judgment.

Drollinger is not one to shy away from criticizing other religious leaders, even conservative Christians, who don’t interpret the Bible exactly as he does. On the IFA call, he dismissed evangelical churches that avoid teaching about God’s wrath in favor of “cotton candy” messages. But he also derided preachers talking about the virus as God’s judgment on America for dispensing “cliché evangelicalism.”

On the IFA call, Drollinger suggested that what public officials are dealing with now is how to tamp down the “consequential wrath” that he described as the result of the Chinese government’s irresponsibility. He said Christian lawmakers understand their job, and that he has “all the confidence in the world” in Trump.

Drollinger prayed that the pandemic would drive more elected leaders to see their need for biblical wisdom and into the kind of Bible studies that his Capitol Ministries provides, and that there would be “a groundswell of believers coming to office, converted in office, and growing in office.”

Drollinger also prayed that “the secularists, even those secularists that are on this call peeping in right now, would be confounded by the fact that you are a holy, righteous God who reigns, and all the evil darts that the secularist journalists, etc., would like to use to poke at us would be thwarted.”

This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished by permission.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Trump Cabinet Bible Study Leader Blames Coronavirus on Gay People and Environmentalists

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The minister who hosts a weekly bible study session for President Trump’s cabinet has an opinion about the origins of the coronavirus. According to Ralph Drollinger, it’s just another form of God’s wrath in response to an increasingly progressive nation.

“Relative to the coronavirus pandemic crisis, this is not God’s abandonment wrath nor His cataclysmic wrath, rather it is sowing and reaping wrath,” Drollinger wrote in a series of posts. “A biblically astute evaluation of the situation strongly suggests that America and other countries of the world are reaping what China has sown due to their leaders’ recklessness and lack of candor and transparency.”

As The Intercept points out, Drollinger also railed against the “religion of environmentalism” and people who express a “proclivity toward lesbianism and homosexuality,” who he claims have  infiltrated “high positions in our government, our educational system, our media and our entertainment industry” and “are largely responsible for God’s consequential wrath on our nation.”

Among the participants in Drollinger’s bible studies are Mike Pompeo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Health Secretary Alex Azar (who, along with Carson, are members of the coronavirus task force). Other participants include 52 GOP lawmakers.

“The evangelical lessons are carefully catered to conservative ideology, with a focus on interpreting current events through a partisan lens,” writes The Intercept’s Lee Fang. “Drollinger’s study guides have provided Biblical justification for the Trump administration’s undocumented immigrant child separation policies and arguments in favor of lower taxes on the wealthy.”

Read Fang’s full report over at The Intercept.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Tennessee Pastor Says America’s Coronavirus Outbreak Is a ‘Reckoning’ for Allowing Abortion and Gay Marriage

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When right-wing pastor Perry Stone held a prayer service at his church in Cleveland, Tennessee, earlier this week, he declared that the current COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in America is a “reckoning” brought on by the nation’s rejection of God and its embrace of reproductive rights and marriage equality.

“If this is a moment of reckoning, and I know it is; I know what I heard, I did not make that up,” Stone said. “I audibly heard the phrase, a male voice speaking, and I believe it was the Holy Spirit.”

“Why is there a reckoning?” he asked. “Because we have by law forced God out of our country and basically told him, ‘In public places, you’re not welcome.’ You’re not welcomed in our schools, so our schools are now shut down. No prayer in public school, no Bible reading in public school. Now they’re telling kids to stay home for who knows how long, so our schools are shut down.”

“Then we have said to God, ‘The infants that you put in our wombs, we don’t respect them, we don’t want them, we will get them out of our bellies through abortion,’” Stone continued. “If you watch the women who are pro-choice, the majority of them have a spirit about them where there is no love.”

“The Bible talks about going after ‘strange flesh,’” Stone added, as he recounted the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. “There is a reckoning because the courts of the land passed a law to take an infant’s life, that it was OK, and for marriage as we have known it to be changed into something we have never known. Both of their laws, biblically in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, are what God calls an abomination. And the Bible teaches us that God is long-suffering, he is not willing that any perish, he wants everyone to come to repentance, but there will be a time when the Lord says, ‘Enough is enough.’”

Perry Stone: America’s Coronavirus Outbreak Is a ‘Reckoning’ for Allowing Abortion and Gay Marriage from Right Wing Watch on Vimeo.

The article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘We Are So Screwed’: Photo of Pence Praying With Coronavirus Task Force Draws Criticism From the Left, Praise From the Right

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President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, now led by Vice President Mike Pence, is under heavy criticism. Experts and others are noting most of its members are not physicians, few if any are public health/public policy experts, almost all – possibly just one – are men, and almost all are white. Also, all work for the Trump administration, so there are no outside voices to offer criticism that may be needed.

Trump officially formed the task force on January 29 – almost two full months after the first case in China was reported December 1 – but it wasn’t until last week that the group made much news, or received much scrutiny.

The original members, just 12, were all men, with just two medical doctors.

The White House responded by quietly adding members to the team, like apparently the only woman, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the State Department’s global AIDS director who holds the rank of ambassador, The New York Times noted.

The lack of expertise (not to mention diversity) is a huge concern, as this photo, which has been making its way around social media since last week, shows:

As concerns grow MSNBC’s Steve Bennen asked, “What does it take to qualify for Trump’s coronavirus task force?” It was a rhetorical question, as there don’t seem to be any specific pre-requisites.

Except perhaps one?

Another photo from last week is all of a sudden getting attention. It shows Vice President Mike Pence and the members of the Coronavirus Task Force praying in the White House.

Thomas Chatterton Williams, who writes at The New York Times Magazine and Harpers, was disturbed:

Some religious right activists, like National Organization For Marriage co-founder, Professor Robert George, took issue with the criticism:

But some other conservatives, like U.S. Naval War College professor Tom Nichols, is also critical. Nichols explains that “a meeting in a U.S. government office to deal with a virus is not an opportunity for a public prayer photo-op.”

Nichols adds, “if I were asked to assemble the team of the best I could find to handle a crisis, I would not assume all of them are people of faith, nor would I assume that the people of faith among us are of *my* faith.”

Of course, Trump ally Franklin Graham, is thrilled:

Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, a fellow at the Center for American Progress’ Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative sums it up:

 

 

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