It’s one thing to be a devout, conservative Christian and it’s a whole ‘nother thing to be the kind of Christian who demands the right to shove his views down other people’s throats without concern for their views or faith.
The latter is exactly how Speaker Mike Johnson, now second in line to the presidency, spent eight years of his career as a senior attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, an evangelical legal group working to “infuse more Christianity into public schools and government,” as The Texas Tribune put it.
HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery delved deeply into the weeds of Johnson’s record of foisting Christian theology onto the rest of us.
For example, Johnson was the lead attorney for a Louisiana elementary school when it was sued in 2004:
A set of Jewish parents sued the school after learning it was holding prayer sessions, teaching Christian songs in class and promoting a teacher-led prayer group called Stallions for Christ that met during recess. The Jewish parents, who had two children at the school, also cited a teacher with a Christian cross on the classroom door, a Nativity scene in the school library and a graduation program featuring Christian songs and a student-led prayer, and religious speeches delivered by two local sheriff’s deputies.
In their lawsuit, which you can read here, the parents claim their children were ridiculed and bullied by other kids for not participating in the religious songs. They raised concerns with the principal, who allegedly responded by defending the school’s Nativity scene and religious songs, and told the parents to “deal with it.” The parents also complained to the school superintendent, who allegedly defended the teacher-led prayer group because “this is the way things are done in the South” and “welcome to the Bible Belt.”
In case you think this was just Johnson doing his job, Bendery notes that he spoke about the case before he took it on. She includes an article from the Shreveport Times quoting him as calling the suit “spiritual warfare.” He also said, “Everybody has to do their part. … If we don’t [win], they’re going shut down all private religion expression.” [sic])
He also wrote an opinion piece attacking the Jewish family’s lawsuit as
“the latest example of the radical left’s desperate efforts to silence all public expression of religious faith.” She notes that Johnson’s spokesman recently claimed he was not referring to the Jewish family as an enemy, then “emphasized that the first bill Johnson brought to the House floor as speaker was a resolution condemning Hamas and standing with Israel.”
I’m sure some of Johnson’s best friends are Jews, too. Especially if they hate Muslims.
Bender cites six other cases (by my count) in which Johnson pushed Christianity into the public square.
Even worse, Johnson still seems committed to the cause. Just on Tuesday, when Bender asked if he disagrees with the separation of church and state, his office cited recent comments Johnson made on CNBC claiming that Thomas Jefferson meant in his now-famous phrase that government should not encroach on the church, not that faith should stay out of public life.
Johnson “never actually said, though, if he disagrees with the separation of church and state,” Bender pointed out.