House Speaker Election Continues America’s Slide Into Theocracy

Mike Johnson encapsulates the Christian bigotry of today’s Republican Party

Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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Mike Johnson smiles slightly while looking into the camera. He is standing in front of an American flag and wearing a dark gray jacket, red tie, and glasses. Superimposed behind him is a photo of a Bible in dark brown with gold trim, and the words “Holy Bible — Red-Letter Text Edition”.
Official government portrait of Mike Johnson superimposed over a photo of a Bible. Johnson photo, public domain; Bible photo, CC BY-SA 4.0, by Xrayguy1969.

As my regular readers know, I am an independent voter and no fan of the Democratic Party. But I’m putting this one squarely on the Republicans.

The new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, was elected this week with no opposition from voting Republicans. This man that 220 Republican representatives voted for is an outspoken, unapologetic bigot, opposed to LGBTQ rights and abortion. When asked about his views, Johnson said that he is a “Bible-believing Christian”, yet “genuinely love[s] all people regardless of their lifestyle choices.”

There’s a lot to unpack here.

First of all, representatives are supposed to represent. That means representing the views of all of your constituents, not just conservative Christians who consider “religious freedom” to be the freedom to discriminate against anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs. Even among Republicans, there are atheists, queer and trans people, and supporters of reproductive rights. Unless you can demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of those you represent share your views, you do not have a mandate to enforce them through legislation.

Second, there is no set definition of a “Bible-believing Christian”. Every version of the Bible ever published has been written, edited, and translated by human beings. Mortal, fallible human beings. This is a fact. Many conservative Christians ignore this fact, claim that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then proceed to cherry-pick those passages of their preferred edition that align with their personal beliefs.

Mike Johnson is free to believe whatever he wishes. But like every other member of Congress, he is an elected representative of a country that is supposed to have a separation between church and state. As an atheist, I have long seen this supposed separation as a laughable fiction, as…

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their. funcrunch.org, patreon.com/funcrunch