Judd Deere, the White House Press spokesman whose damning comments about Capitol Ministries President Ralph Drollinger have popped up in news stories around the world, wrongly condemned Drollinger without checking the facts.
Deere publicly excoriated Drollinger after being told by a reporter that Drollinger had blamed the coronavirus pandemic on God’s wrath because of homosexuality.
Drollinger does not believe that. Nor did he write that in the Bible study, “Is God Judging America Today?” or in the story about that study that reporters have used as their source for their false and damaging news stories.
Deere was first quoted in a story by Brooke Sopelsa, editorial director for NBC OUT, which serves “the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.”
Sopelsa wrote: “White House spokesman Judd Deere called the implication that homosexuality caused the pandemic “disgusting” and “certainly not something the President believes.”
“‘President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety of all Americans, and ensuring we emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before,’ stated Deere, who said President Trump does not attend Drollinger’s Bible class.”
Capitol Ministries contacted Deere and asked what proof Sopelsa offered that Drollinger made those remarks when she asked him for a comment.
In an email, Deere responded by sending, as proof, a copy of the Bible study, “Is God Judging America Today?”
Capitol Ministries responded that Drollinger had never made those remarks. CapMin pointed out that Drollinger teaches a Bible study to White House Cabinet Members and that his reputation at the White House was important to him and to Capitol Ministries.
Capitol Ministries asked: “Please show me specifically where Pastor Drollinger blames the coronavirus on homosexuals.”
Deere responded: “I’m not going to get into that with you. The reporter asked me a question. I don’t choose the questions I get asked. I responded to that question. If you have a problem with her reporting you should take it up with the reporter, not with me.”
Capitol Ministries told Deere that there was a problem with his comments because a person in an official capacity – especially at the White House – should make sure the information given to him by a reporter is accurate before he offers a damning comment about a private citizen, and that it was obvious that he had not done that.
Capitol Ministries also took the false reporting up with Sopelsa.
Drollinger contacted Sopelsa via email to complain about her inaccurate story.
Sopelsa responded: “While I admit I do not fully grasp the nuances among the several different types of God’s wrath you discuss in your Bible study, it does appear that you state America is going through some type of God’s wrath. Is that correct?”
Drollinger responded with painstaking detail, explaining each type of God’s wrath.
He concluded with: “Read my Bible study — I am saying that the Bible talks about 5 different kinds of wrath. As it pertains to the coronavirus, I conclude that it is not God’s abandonment wrath (and I have detailed what that looks like). I conclude that it is God’s form of judgment known as reaping and sowing: What a man sows, what a nation sows, they will reap. In this case, what China has sown, we are all reaping. That is my point.”
Despite the clarification, Sopelsa, who admitted that she wrote the story without fully understanding the issues involved, did not retract the story, nor did she correct the misleading headline which reads: “Trump Cabinet’s Bible teacher says gays cause ‘God’s wrath’ in COVID-19 blog post “
After her story had been published and widely distributed, she did make this adjustment: “In an email sent to NBC News on Thursday, however, Drollinger said his coronavirus post was misinterpreted, adding that he does not “believe that homosexuality played any role whatsoever in the coronavirus.”
She continues: “He explained that when it comes to God, there are a “panoply of wraths.” So while he believes homosexuality causes one type of God’s wrath (wrath of abandonment), it’s a different type than that which may have manifested in the coronavirus (sowing and reaping wrath).
After these paragraphs, she quoted White House Spokesman Deere.
Drollinger remains appalled that his reputation has been so badly and unjustly maligned due to the irresponsibility and recklessness of media.
“As much as the White House rails about fake news, they should not be a purveyor of it themselves,” he said.
“Both Sopelsa and Deere libeled me. My Bible study, ‘Is God Judging America Today’ states the opposite of what they reported it to have said.
“You’d think that professional journalists would take an oath similar to a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath as a requirement prior to practicing their trade, or at least check the facts! Obviously they don’t; both Sopelsa and Deere lack integrity and should be fired.”
Meanwhile, Drollinger’s reputation is being maligned over and over again as Deere’s quote continue to be re-published in a number of copy-cat stories around the world including:
Aris Folley of The Hill with the headline: “White House slams pastor leading Cabinet Bible study linking homosexuality, coronavirus.”
Andrew Naughtie of The Independent in the UK with the headline: “Coronavirus: Trump cabinet’s pastor blames gay people for ‘wrath of God’”
The damage that has been done to Ralph Drollinger’s reputation from shoddy reporting and from reporters and editors who shamelessly refuse to make corrections even in the face of facts that refute their false and ill-researched reports is incalculable.
As there is little integrity left in modern journalism today, we will continue to get the facts out to the public in “Setting the Record Straight” pieces that are published on CapMin’s homepage.