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Mike Johnson Has Some Decidedly Non-Mainstream Ideas

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has been in his new office for a few weeks, which means there's been time for journalists, including those from Rolling Stone and CNN, to take a long look at his past public statements. It's pretty eye-opening.

To start with, Johnson takes the view that humans are fundamentally evil. That evil is contained only by law, which flows from God. This, in turn, is why leftists are such a big problem. Since they don't believe in God, they don't have any law that constrains their inherent evil. Glad we cleared that up.

The Speaker is also, of course, staunchly anti-LGBTQ. He is very strongly opposed to allowing gay couples to adopt, since those children will be subjected to the evil of the parents. He also opposes any sort of special anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. He argues that being gay (or trans, or bi, etc.) is a "behavior" and is not inherent to the person. So, it's not worthy of protection.

Johnson has also shared some choice thoughts about abortion, which he calls an "American Holocaust." In a 2022 interview (i.e., last year), he said: "I mean, the reality is that Planned Parenthood and all these big abortion [sic], they set up their clinics in inner cities. They are, you know, they regard these people as easy prey. I mean it's true. This is what's happening across the country now." Inasmuch as "inner cities" is thinly veiled code for "Black people," Johnson's presumption is that Black people aren't clever enough to realize they are being hoodwinked by the folks at Planned Parenthood. Exactly why Planned Parenthood would want to "prey" on people so as to run up its abortion total is not clear to us.

As you might also imagine, Johnson is a big fan of school prayer. And actually, it goes beyond that. He wants the Ten Commandments to be displayed in schools, and he also would like to make Bible study mandatory. We assume that would be followed by study of the Q'uran, Bhagavad Gita and Tao Te Ching. After all, fair is fair, right? In any case, time for Bible study would be created by canceling lessons about that nasty evolution stuff.

None of this is terribly unusual for a fundamentalist Christian like Johnson, though it is unusual for a high-ranking member of the U.S. government. We tried to think of the highest-ranking person in recent memory who might read along with the four paragraphs above and nod, and we came up with former AG John Ashcroft. If there's someone higher in the line of succession that you think we missed, say since 1990, let us know.

Perhaps most unusual, and most concerning, is something we've written a bit about before, namely Johnson's views on, for lack of a better term, the state of the union. Just a few weeks before becoming speaker, Johnson was part of a broadcast with several other prominent fundamentalists. And he decreed:

This is an inflection point. We are at a civilizational moment. The only question is: Is God going to allow our nation to enter a time of judgment for our collective sins which his mercy and grace have held back for some time or is he gonna give us one more chance to restore the foundation, to return to Him?... We will not be able to do it without the Lord's help, because the flesh and the mistrust, and the sin and everything is so great here that this is going to have to bring people to their knees.

When the moderator asked a follow-up, namely if the Day of Judgment is nigh, Johnson added:

You all know the terrible state that we're in... The faith in our institutions is the lowest it's ever been in the history of our nation. The culture is so dark and depraved that it almost seems irredeemable at this point. The church attendance in America dropped below 50 percent for the first time in our history since they began to measure the data sixty years ago. And the number of people who do not believe in absolute truth is now above the majority for the first time. One in three teen girls contemplated suicide last year. One in four high school students identify as something other than straight. We're losing the country.

We consulted the staff theologian, and apparently the third seal in the Book of Revelation is indeed "more than 20% of the high schoolers come out as bi." So, be on the lookout for the pale horse, because he's up next.

Johnson will not be able to put any of his ideas into action, since there's still a Senate and a White House out there. However, if he really believes that God's judgment is upon us, and that the time has come to burn it down, he absolutely could decide that something like a default on the national debt is a good thing. Most government officials are able to separate their personal religious views from their public work; we'll see if Johnson also has that capacity. We're just not sure.

In any event, the exact impact of Johnson's rather extreme religious views will not be known for a while. However, there is a different sort of impact that is already showing itself. It is no secret that the Speaker is not a good fundraiser, especially compared to his predecessor. Well, the NRCC's numbers for October are in, and they are not good. The take was $5 million, as compared to $10 million in October 2019 and $9.8 million in October 2021. This is the third-worst month for the NRCC this year, trailing only the invariably poor months of January and August.

Now, Johnson only took the gavel on Oct. 25, so that's not completely on him, per se. It was undoubtedly due also to general irritation with the House Republicans' shenanigans, as well as the fact that McCarthy wasn't shaking people down anymore. However, if the November numbers are also way down, then that definitely is on Johnson, and it's not good news for the GOP. Assuming that 2024 is a high-retirement year, as is shaping up to be the case (see below), then the Party will need more money, not less. (Z)

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