By Bill Berkowitz | 27 October 2023
“We prayed for a strong, pro-Israel, America First Speaker of the House who was committed to biblical truth and God answered our prayers.” ~ Tony Perkins, President Family Research Council
New Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is more dangerous than Jim Jordan. He’s less combative and combustible, more likable, clearly smarter, a better dresser, there’s no wrestling sexual harassment scandal in his past, and he believes he has God on his side. A great admirer of the faux historian David Barton — a right-wing culture war icon — one can see him negotiating with the Biden administration over a myriad of issues, including aid to Israel and Ukraine, and avoiding a government shutdown. Which culture war items he intends to attach to any possible deals remains to be seen.
Over the years, there have been a slew of powerful politicians who have claimed that they were ordained by God to reach the heights they’ve reached. Donald Trump supporters have repeatedly insisted that he was chosen by God to be president. In 2021 Rep. Lauren Boebert, (R-CO), suggested her election was ordained by God. Her behavior in the theater during a performance of Beetlejuice, which caused her to get kicked out? Not so Godly!
So where does newly elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson come in? In his first speech after being elected Speaker, Louisiana congressman Johnson was pretty clear about being The Chosen One. “I believe that Scripture, the Bible, is very clear: that God is the one who raises up those in authority,” Johnson said. “He raised up each of you. All of us.”
Who is Mike Johnson is the question that’s being batted around?
THIS JUST IN: New House GOP Speaker Mike Johnson conducted seminars promoting the idea the US is a "Christian nation." Read my new scoop (click on the pic) and pass it on:https://t.co/dJlyeBJ8XC
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) October 28, 2023
Some recent headlines gives us more than a clue: “Meet Rep. Mike Johnson, the new speaker of the House who introduced the national version of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law and played a key role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election,” (Business Insider); “New US House speaker tried to help overturn the 2020 election, raising concerns about the next one,” (Associated Press); “New Speaker Mike Johnson Wants Women to Pop Out ‘Able-Bodied Workers,’ Blames School Shootings on Abortion,” (Jezebel); “Trumpist Mike Johnson is the US House speaker. There’s plenty to fear,” (The Guardian); “New House Speaker Mike Johnson, an Evangelical Christian, Holds Ties to Israel’s Far Right,” (Haaretz).
Then there’s these from right-wing sources: “Disingenuous Leftists Snarl At Speaker Mike Johnson’s Faith Because They Know It’s A Threat,” (The Federalist); “The Left Hates Mike Johnson,” (PJ Media); “Liberal Media Trashes Speaker Mike Johnson’s Christian Faith, Devotion to Marriage,” (LifeNews.com).
As Religion News Service’s Jack Jenkins reported, Johnson an evangelical Christian and Donald Trump acolyte, “peppered his remarks with religious references. He recounted the history of how the motto ‘In God We Trust’ was placed in the House chamber — a rebuke of communism, which many associated with atheism — and highlighted the Declaration of Independence’s use of ‘Creator.’ He also noted the presence of Moses on the wall of the House chamber.”
Turns out the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, is a big fan of Christian Nationalist fake historian David Barton. Johnson also claims, wrongly, that the "founders wanted to protect the church from an encroaching state, not the other way around."https://t.co/hKzbQF7uZw
— American Atheists (@AmericanAtheist) October 26, 2023
Later, on the Capitol steps, Johnson cited Romans 5:3-4, Jenkins noted. “I was reminded of the Scripture that says ‘Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope,’” Johnson said. “What we need in this country is more hope.”
Johnson, a former lawyer and communications staffer with the Alliance Defense Fund (later the Alliance Defending Freedom), a conservative Christian legal firm, is every bit as conservative as Ohio congressman Jim Jordan, who failed several times in his bid for Speaker. But Johnson is less confrontational; more well mannered, and he doesn’t do that pretend-tough-guy roll up your shirtsleeves shtick.
CNN reported that Johnson has a history of staking out ultra-right culture war positions, calling homosexuality “inherently unnatural” and “dangerous lifestyle” that could lead to the demise of “the entire democratic system.”
“The founders wanted to protect the church from an encroaching state, not the other way around,” he said during a September 2022 episode of the “Truth be Told” with Mike & Kelly Johnson podcast. Johnson went on to claim that “a free society and a healthy republic depend upon religious and moral virtue.”
If you want to know just how much of a zealot Mike Johnson is–listen to any of the episodes of the podcast he does with his wife.https://t.co/vdbNBJcVgJ
— Art Martin (@gartmartin9) October 27, 2023
Jenkins reported that Johnson’s views are in line with David Barton, an oft-discredited Texas activist/historian, who is hugely influential in evangelical politics. Jenkins noted that “Substack writer Warren Throckmorton pointed out that Johnson lauded Barton during a 2021 talk to a group of state legislators organized by WallBuilders, an organization founded by Barton. ‘I was introduced to David and his ministry a quarter century ago, and it has had such a profound influence on me and my work and my life and everything I do,’ Johnson said at the time.”
Interestingly, Johnson, according to Business Insider, is “much less wealthy than other members of Congress”; “doesn’t trade any stocks and has a home mortgage valued between $250,000 and $500,000”; and has “made more than $120,000 since 2018 teaching online classes,” including “Constitution and free enterprise” at the Liberty University’s Helms School of Government.
A headline from Vanity Fair may very well sum up Johnson’s mission: “Mike Johnson Said Same-Sex Marriage Would Lead to People Marrying Their Pets, Wanted to Sentence Abortion Doctors to ‘Hard Labor.’”
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Who is new House Speaker Mike Johnson?
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