From Pulpit to Power: House Speaker Mike Johnson’s Dangerous Blend of Politics and Religion

In a striking revelation, unearthed footage from 2019 shows current House Speaker Mike Johnson espousing a deeply controversial belief: that God, not the electorate, decides who becomes President of the United States. This disclosure, exclusively highlighted by Accountable.US and shared with Truthout, raises serious questions about Johnson’s commitment to democratic principles and the separation of church and state.

Speaking at the First Baptist Church in Haughton, Louisiana, Johnson, then a lesser-known figure, declared, “Donald Trump was allowed to become the president by God. So was Barack Obama. So was every previous President.” This statement aligns with the Christian nationalist ideology, which blurs the line between religious doctrine and governmental authority, a stance increasingly adopted by some Republicans.

The seminar, titled “Answers for Our Times: Government, Culture, and Christianity,” was organized by Onward Christian Education Services, Inc., a company owned by Johnson’s wife, Kelly. It promotes extreme anti-LGBTQ views, comparing homosexuality to bestiality and incest, reflecting the Johnsons’ alignment with fringe Christian extremist networks.

Johnson’s rhetoric during the seminar was laden with alarming assertions. He warned against expanding welfare programs, equating it to the government becoming a deity, and denounced democracy and majority rule as forms of tyranny. These remarks underscore his skewed interpretation of the U.S. founding principles, which historically emphasized religious freedom.

These revelations about Johnson’s beliefs and affiliations come as a stark reminder of the growing influence of Christian nationalism within the Republican Party. This ideology, deeply unpopular among the general American public, poses a threat to the foundational principle of the separation of church and state.

Yet, Johnson’s past statements are not only ideologically alarming but also hypocritical. Despite his proclaimed belief in divine authority over presidential appointments, Johnson played a pivotal role in former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. He spearheaded an amicus brief, signed by over 100 House Republicans, supporting a Texas lawsuit to invalidate the election – a direct contradiction to his professed doctrine of submission to governing authorities.

Caroline Ciccone, president of Accountable.US, rightly points out this contradiction: “Speaker Johnson’s past comments are especially damning given that he himself led radical attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and undermine the will of voters. His extremism knows no bounds.”

As Speaker of the House, one of the most influential positions in the U.S. government, Johnson’s espousal of such extremist views and his active role in subverting democratic norms represent a dangerous blend of politics and religion. His leadership is likely to be marked by further attempts to impose his far-right agenda on Americans, a prospect that should concern anyone who values the principles of democracy and religious freedom.