A fundamentalist Christian preacher who serves as an unofficial chaplain to California legislators sparked a brouhaha recently when he attacked a rival religious study group that has an inclusive membership as “disgusting to our Lord.”
Ralph Drollinger, a former University of California at Los Angeles basketball player, now heads Capitol Ministries. For years he has served as a quasi-official chaplain to lawmakers, holding weekly sessions for members. About six lawmakers regularly attend, reported the Sacramento Bee.
In February, Drollinger unleashed a stinging attack on a separate group of legislators that meets for religious fellowship but does not reflect fundamentalist tenets.
“Although they are pleasant men in their personal demeanor, their group is more than disgusting to our Lord and Savior,” Drollinger wrote on the Web site of Capitol Ministries.
Continued Drollinger, “What the fellowship group offers is Jesus of Nazareth, a good moral teacher who loves everyone without distinction. This is a deadly lie. There is no true fellowship without first being reconciled to God.” Drollinger added that the only way to be reconciled to God is “repentance from sin and faith in God through the work of Jesus Christ the Messiah.”
Drollinger’s comments angered some legislators. Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) denounced Drollinger’s writings as “intolerant,” “troubling” and “deplorable.”
“I think it’s important that those of us who find those comments offensive speak out loud and clear about it,” Steinberg added.
But Drollinger refused to back down. “Far be it from any professing Christian, in the Capitol or elsewhere, to neuter the message of Christ in order to make unbelievers feel comfortable in their sin,” he posted on the Capitol Ministries’ Web site. “This is tantamount to putting a terminal patient on a morphine drip – they die slowly, and to hell forever, but feel pretty good about themselves on the way.”
The Sacramento Bee noted that this is not the first time California lawmakers have been riled by Drollinger. Some years back, he dubbed Catholicism a “false religion” and warned that women lawmakers who spend too much time away from their children are sinful.
Former state representative Tim Leslie told the Bee that several lawmakers who had been attending Drollinger’s sessions broke away because they wanted a more informal atmosphere.
“There’s a path to Christ, and each person has their own path,” Leslie said.
The Rev. James Richardson, an Episcopalian who serves as the Senate’s chaplain, also distanced himself from Drollinger.
“I deeply respect his fervent beliefs,” Richardson said. “But I also respect the many different people in our Capitol. And all of us would do well to listen to each other once in a while and not just draw hasty conclusions.”