Ralph Drollinger is the founder of Capitol Ministries. He was also former US President Donald Trump’s White House Bible Study pastor.
Back in 2019, he traveled to Brazil to help launch a similar study group in the country’s Congress.
Around for more than 25 years, Capitol Ministries is still active with members of the US Congress.
Drollinger is clear about the group’s goals in a place like Brazil.
“Why not go right to the fulcrum of power and get them into the gospel and present the gospel to them, because everything will permeate much more quickly,” he told the Christian Broadcasting Network a few years ago.
Protestant evangelicals from Brazil and the United States have a long history of close relations. Today, Capitol Ministries is a powerful player in that relationship. In Brazil, the group has strong ties with President Jair Bolsonaro's government.
“Ralph Drollinger always says that reaching the top echelon — the leaders — that’s how we are going to be able to rebuild our nation with an evangelical perspective,” said Raul Jose Ferreira Jr., the leader of Capitol Ministry’s Bible Study in Brazil’s Congress.
Currently, Capitol Ministries has a presence in most state capitals across the US. And it aims to set up operations in 200 countries around the globe. The group grew quickly under Trump with support from top members of his administration, and expanded its connections abroad.
Drollinger said that they are not lobbying, just spreading the gospel.
But with those teachings comes Capitol Ministries’ own analysis of political and cultural issues from a conservative evangelical perspective.
“From looking at their Bible studies, we see a vision of the world where it’s clear that they are culturally conservative, with strong rhetoric against abortion, against LGBTQ. And for the freedom of the economy,” said Rodrigo Tapia, a doctoral student at the Federal University of Rio Grande, who has been researching Capitol Ministries closely. “They are importing their vision of the world from the US. Importing their ideas.”
Analysts say that Drollinger’s Capitol Ministries is taking that idea to a whole new level by directly influencing top political leaders each week.
In Brazil, with a robust evangelical caucus, the group has a receptive audience.