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Devout Christian New US House Speaker

by | Thu, Oct 26 2023

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The first thing Congressman Mike Johnson did after being elected as the Republican designate for House Speaker was to ask the caucus to pray with him. He was then endorsed into one of the most powerful roles in America in a 220-209 vote, given the slim Republican majority.

The conservative Baptist from Louisiana who has served in Congress since 2017 even suggested he was ordained by God. “I believe that Scripture, the Bible, is very clear: that God is the one who raises up those in authority,” Mr. Johnson said in his first speech after being elected as Speaker.

The evangelical Christian recounted the history of how the motto In God We Trust was placed in the House chamber — a rebuke of communism, which many associated with atheism — and highlighted the Declaration of Independence’s use of Creator. He also noted the presence of Moses on the wall of the House chamber.

In a later speech on the Capitol steps, he framed his leadership goals by citing Romans 5:3-4. “I was reminded of the Scripture that says Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope,” he said, adding: “What we need in this country is more hope.”

Mike Johnson vowed to “ensure the House delivers results and inspires change for the American people” and to “restore trust in this body,” signalling his intention to “advance a comprehensive conservative policy agenda, combat the harmful policies of the Biden Administration and support our allies abroad.”

“We want our allies around the world to know that this body of lawmakers are reporting again to our duty stations,” the 51-year-old said shortly after being handed the Speaker’s gavel. “The first bill I’m going to bring to this floor will be in support of our dear friend Israel and we are overdue in getting that done,” he asserted.

The new Speaker is a former lawyer and communications staffer with the Alliance Defense Fund, which later became known as the highly active conservative Christian legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom.

Religion News Service reports Congressman Johnson has continued to voice support for conservative Christian viewpoints while in office, even hosting a podcast with his wife, Kelly, a licensed pastoral counsellor, aimed at providing an “analysis of hot topics and current events from a Christian perspective.”

Tony Perkins, a fellow Baptist from Louisiana and head of the national Christian conservative activist organisation Family Research Council, stated in a social media post that Mike Johnson had been a “friend for a long time. I believe God has answered our prayers with his election. Mike will be the America First Speaker we need and will lead with spiritual insight and political courage.”

The new Speaker received a warm reception from prominent pro-life leaders. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life advocacy group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, praised him as “a longtime defender of constitutional principles, chief among them the right to life, who has “boldly championed life as an activist, litigator, state legislator, and as a member of Congress.”

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias identified Mr. Johnson as a lawmaker “committed to the right to life who will make the right to life and protecting women and their unborn children a priority in Congress.” The Louisiana chapter of National Right to Life cheered his election, saying  it now had “a strong ally of the pro-life movement” in the top job in the House.

Mike Johnson’s election comes three weeks after eight Republicans joined with 208 Democrats to oust then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy and a series of failed efforts to elect a successor acceptable to all Republicans.

Congressman Johnson will be the least experienced House Speaker in decades. He is best known as the author of an unsuccessful appeal by 126 House Republicans to get the US Supreme Court to overturn election results in states that Donald Trump had lost in the 2020 presidential election.