Progressives Are Still Having a Conniption Over House Speaker Mike Johnson's Christianity

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Folks on the left are still whining and crying about newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA). Even though he took the position over two weeks ago, they are still in full meltdown mode, writing op-eds and filing reports designed to make him look like a religious fanatic seeking to install a Christian theocracy as our government a la “The Handmaid’s Tale.”


Rolling Stone has now published a hit piece on Johnson in an effort to promote this narrative.

He’s also a dyed in the wool Christian conservative, and there’s a flag hanging outside his office that leads into a universe of right-wing religious extremism as unknown to most Americans as Johnson was before he ascended to the speakership.

Johnson slots firmly within the more hardline evangelical wing of the Republican coalition. He holds stringent positions on abortion, thinks homosexuality is a lifestyle choice that should not be recognized under legal protections against discrimination, defends young earth creationism, blames school shootings on the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and questions the framework of the separation of church and state. “The founders wanted to protect the church from an encroaching state, not the other way around,” he has said.

Well, at least Rolling Stone isn’t still crying because Johnson doesn’t watch pornography as they did earlier this week.

However, a closer look, and just a pinch of common sense, show that while many may not share Johnson’s views, they are mostly mainstream for Christians. He has expressed strong positions on issues like abortion and homosexuality. His stance on abortion aligns with many Christians across the country, who believe life begins at conception. Indeed, a Pew Research poll conducted in 2022 shows that 56 percent of Americans agree with the statement: “Human life begins at conception, so a fetus is a person with rights.”

When it comes to homosexuality, again, Johnson espouses beliefs that are common to Christians – especially evangelicals, who make up about 60 percent of Protestant Christ-followers in America. The same holds true about his beliefs regarding young Earth creationism and opinions on the separation of church and state. Yet, none of the leftists who are coming after Johnson can think of an example of legislation he has championed that is intended to establish any type of religion-based restrictions on anyone’s liberties.


The Rolling Stone article also had a problem with the flag that Johnson displays outside his office.

The flag — which Rolling Stone has confirmed hangs outside his district office in the Cannon House Office Building —  is white with a simple evergreen tree in the center and the phrase “An Appeal to Heaven” at the top. Historically, this flag was a Revolutionary War banner, commissioned by George Washington as a naval flag for the colony turned state of Massachusetts. The quote “An Appeal to Heaven” was a slogan from that war, taken from a treatise by the philosopher John Locke. But in the past decade it has come to symbolize a die-hard vision of a hegemonically Christian America.

The author goes on to describe the flag's ties to the New Apostolic Reformation, a non-denominational charismatic sect of Christianity. Then, he goes on a rather boring tirade about how the flag was used by prominent right-wingers throughout modern American history, and tries desperately to imply that anyone flying the flag must be a Christian nationalist who wants to install a theocracy in America. And, of course, he had to tie it to the Jan. 6 riot -- because what would a silly left-wing hit piece be without tying everything you don’t like to J6?

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a once noble organization that has now transformed into a progressive propaganda mill, published a piece insinuating that Johnson is a favorite of various “hate groups.” Keep in mind, we have to take the SPLC’s use of the term “hate group” with all of the salt in the Dead Sea; its only use for that label is to discredit political opponents whether they are aligned with hate movements or not.


Of particular concern for the SPLC author was Johnson’s views on immigration, claiming that he espouses the “great replacement” theory, which is favored by white supremacists. It refers to the belief that a conspiracy among elites is intended to replace white people with racial minorities. As evidence, the author uses an appearance Johnson made on Fox News, in which he lashed out at the Biden administration’s lax border policies. Johnson said:

Why in the world would any elected official in this country go along with this terrible policy? This dangerous set of policies that they’re engaging in? You’re always drawn to that ultimate conclusion: They want to turn these people into voters.

The problem with this contention is that it shows a remarkable lack of understanding of the Great Replacement theory. Or, perhaps the author is simply lying to his audience.

The notion that Democrats want more immigration – legal or otherwise – because they want to get electoral advantages has nothing to do with eliminating white people. It is precisely what I just said: an effort to import people who are most likely to vote for Democratic candidates.

Democrats perceive that folks from Latin America will vote for Democrats when they obtain their citizenship and the right to vote. Moreover, concentrating these populations in blue states will give those states a significant boost that could provide them with more electoral votes in the future. This has nothing to do with white people. By becoming the party that champions immigrants, Democrats seek to gain favor with foreigners coming into the country. It really is that simple.


Unfortunately, the folks at SPLC and Rolling Stone know their audience isn’t going to scrutinize their claims. They are the same type of people who likely believe Johnson wants to make America a Christian Nationalist country. This isn’t to say that Christian nationalists don’t exist. But the moniker has lost all meaning since progressives enjoy applying it to anyone they don’t like.


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