It isn't very Christian of me to admit it, but I really hated Ralph Drollinger (#35, in the middle of the top row) when he played for the UCLA Bruins in the mid-1970s. Rightly or wrongly (I think the former, but I'm willing to be charitable about it), I blamed him for UCLA's fall from grace after the retirement of John Wooden. Of course, that was ridiculous; a new day in college basketball was dawning, and the days of UCLA-type dynasties were over. In less than two decades, Duke would be hailed as a dynasty for winning two titles in a row!
But I have to say it - Drollinger just looked terrible on the court; awkward, without grace: the perfect illustration of Chris Berman's "bumblin', stumblin', fumblin'" catch phrase. To put it mildly, he sucked.
These days, Drollinger has made a name for himself as the leader of Capitol Ministries, which includes in its portfolio a weekly bible study for legislators in the State Capitol. And this is real fire-and-brimstone stuff; you're either with Ralph, or you're basically heading south (if you know what I mean). Periodically, Drollinger gets himself into trouble with one of his statements, and this week he's done it again:
Ralph Drollinger, who played basketball at UCLA in the 1970s and now heads Capitol Ministries, criticized lawmakers who participate in a separate fellowship group that embraces people of all faiths without insisting that they accept Jesus Christ as Messiah.
"Although they are pleasant men in their personal demeanor, their group is more than disgusting to our Lord and Savior," Drollinger wrote on the Capitol Ministries' Web site.
Drollinger, who has conducted Capitol Bible sessions for more than a decade, receives no compensation from the state. He is paid $120,000 annually by the nonprofit Capitol Ministries for evangelizing to politicians nationwide, records show.
Far be it for me, heathen that I am, to criticize anyone for their religious beliefs. But I will say that I strongly believe that this sort of thing has no place in the halls of the State Capitol. Having said that, it's the perfect symbol of how things have evolved (or devolved, if you prefer) in Sacramento. We've gone from the days of the Derby Club - when legislators from all walks of life (except women, I will admit that) got together, drank heavily, sometimes behaved badly, but at the same time stayed focused on the issues facing the state, in an atmosphere of good will (for the most part) - to now, when if you're on the other side, well...you're in for some mighty hot days and nights.
"Post-partisanship?" I think not.