Mike Johnson wants to rewrite the Constitution to make the United States a Christian nation. James Michael Johnson, Republican from Louisiana’s Fourth District, is the 56th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He was elected Speaker on October 25, 2023. As Speaker, he is second in line to the US presidency after the Vice President.

Johnson flies three flags outside his Washington office. The first flag is our national flag. The second flag is the Louisiana state flag. The third flag is a white flag with a green tree in the center and the words “An Appeal to Heaven” at the top. This flag, which originated in the American Revolution, today is associated with a religious movement called the New Apostolic Reformation, a rapidly growing force among various evangelical and charismatic groups that seeks to conform society’s seven spheres — education, religion, family, business, government, arts, and entertainment — with their interpretations of Christian Scriptures and history.

Johnson defends his decision to fly the Appeal to Heaven flag, saying that it is a symbol of his faith and signifies his belief that God calls the leaders of society

to service, including himself. On Fox News and in other interviews, he repeatedly has affirmed that the Bible is his guide in all matters political as well as personal.

Apparently, Mike Johnson interprets the Bible in a naïve literalist manner. For example, creationism. Johnson has a long history of supporting creationist causes. He represented the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter in Kentucky where alternative “science” is taught claiming the earth is only thousands of years old and that dinosaurs were passengers on Noah’s Ark.

According to the National Center for Science Education, Mike Johnson supported the Louisiana Science Education Act [2008] which permits teachers in public schools to use supplemental materials in the science classroom that are critical of established scientific theories “including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning” and that allow the teaching of creationism and intelligent design alongside authentic science.

In 2016, when Mike Johnson was a Louisiana state legislator, he voted with the majority of his colleagues to call for a constitutional convention to amend the US Constitution. To date, 19 state legislatures have passed the Convention of States Resolution, 6 have passed the Resolution in one Chamber. According to Article V of the US Constitution, two thirds of the states [34 states] are necessary to call the convention.

Various Christian groups have joined this Convention of States project in the hopes of amending the US Constitution to not only permit but to encourage a close cooperation between government, civil society, and religion. These Christian groups, contrary to all historical facts, promote the idea that our founding fathers intended the United States to be a religious nation and that the Supreme Court has misinterpreted the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

There are many good reasons for re-writing the US Constitution. There are also many really bad reasons. One of the worst reasons is to make the United States officially a Christian nation.

Johnson does not hesitate to put his personal beliefs, based on his interpretations of the Bible, into political legal actions.

In the early 2000s, Johnson worked for the evangelical Christian legal group Alliance Defense Fund [ADF], designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The ADF, now known as Alliance Defending Freedom, promoted legislation: to criminalize same-sex sexual activity, to block efforts to legalize same-sex marriage, to permit businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people, and to ban transgender people from using gender appropriate restrooms.

CNN reports [October 2023]: ‘In editorials that ran in his local Shreveport, Louisiana, paper, The Times, Johnson called homosexuality a “inherently unnatural” and “dangerous lifestyle” that would lead to legalized pedophilia and possibly even destroy “the entire democratic system.” ‘

Of course, James Michael Johnson, Speaker of the House of Representatives, second in line for the presidency of the United States, supports the cynical claim of Donald Joseph Trump that the presidential election of 2020 was stolen.

And, of course, American Christian leaders, such as the US Catholic Bishops Conference and the Southern Baptist Convention, remain silent as these Taliban Christians use the holy name of Jesus and the democratic processes of our republic to divide and destroy people.

Mr. Speaker, Homosexuality is not destroying our democracy. You are.
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Nick Patricca is professor emeritus at Loyola University Chicago; president of Chicago Network for Justice and Peace; member, Writers in Prison, San Miguel PEN; member, TOSOS Theatre Ensemble, NYC.

This essay was published by Windy City Times Media Group:

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