California lawmakers may really be pressed with tough issues facing their constituencies, ranging from educational to environmental concerns. But some of them find themselves distracted by a religious brouhaha that has erupted in the Capitol in Sacramento.
This week, quasi-official Chaplain Ralph Drollinger ignited a religious tit-for-tat, when he touted his Bible study and disparaged a more religiously inclusive group of lawmakers as "disgusting to our Lord."
Drollinger, a controversial fundamentalist Christian preacher (and former UCLA basketball player), has conducted weekly Bible studies for California legislators for more than a decade, the Sacramento Bee reports. His work is supported financially by a private entity called Capital Ministries, but his weekly Capitol sessions are attended by about a half-dozen lawmakers and are sponsored by Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines. (Villines declined to comment, the newspaper said.)
Drollinger's ire has been directed at a fellowship group that welcomes legislators from a variety of faith perspectives. In a posting this week on Capitol Ministries' Web site, Drollinger wrote, "Although they are pleasant men in their personal demeanor, their group is more than disgusting to our Lord and Savior."
Not surprisingly, Drollinger's intemperate words sparked response. Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) denounced Drollinger's words as "intolerant," "troubling" and "deplorable." Another California lawmaker, responding to Drollinger, told the Sacramento Bee that Christianity is not the sole path to God.
Drollinger fired back.
"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 Capital 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 notes 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.
California lawmakers would do themselves and their constituencies a world of good by shutting down Drollinger's platform. They should abandon his prayer group and turn to the plentiful houses of worship that surround the Golden State's legislature for their religious needs.