MADISON, Wis. — A media report suggests a right wing group provided Trump administration officials with their Bible-based talking points attempting to justify their border policy of stripping children from their parents. The same group, Capitol Ministries, was previously welcomed to the Wisconsin Capitol by Gov. Scott Walker when they established a Bible study group here to help “… Christians in the political sphere.”
“It is a grievous misunderstanding of scripture and misuse of the Christian faith to use it to try to justify the horror of what was being done to children and families under the Trump administration’s border policy,” said One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin.
In public comments, Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to Bible verses to justify the “zero tolerance” Trump border policy. Under the policy, anyone found by federal authorities attempting to cross the border into the United States is detained. The effect on families is that children are considered “unaccompanied minors” and are summarily separated from their parents and held in different facilities. Reports about the reality of this practice were disturbing, including children being literally housed in cages and infants and young children incarcerated in “tender age” facilities.
According to the report:
“The day before Sessions’ remarks last Thursday, the White House Bible Study held a meeting centered on ‘The Importance of Parenting and the Course of the Nation.’ The first paragraphs discuss ‘obedience to a nation’s laws’ and cite Proverbs 28:4 and Romans 1:32 .”
It also noted a previous interview of the head of the group:
In 2017, Drollinger told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the people in his Bible study “are so teachable.” He then bragged about how “Jeff Sessions [will] go out the same day I teach him something and he’ll do it on camera. And I just think, man, these guys are faithful, available, and teachable.”
Capitol Ministries, run by Ralph Drollinger, works to establish Bible study groups in state capitols across the country and also hosts a group for Trump administration officials in Washington D.C. Drollinger has generated controversy in the past for disparaging remarks about members of the LGTBQ community, Catholics and for castigating women legislators with children as “sinners.”
However, he and his group were welcomed to Wisconsin by state Republicans in 2016. An email invitation from Republican State Representative Paul Tittl said the sessions were intended to “… meet a growing need for Christians in the political sphere to understand and live out the Biblical view that work is worship and can be done in such a way that honors God.” The sessions were advertised as “… at the invitation of several staff and elected officials, along with the endorsement of Governor Walker” and promised that “Thoughtfully conducted, exegetical Bible studies can be highly influential to both those who hold office and those who function as staff at the Capitol.”