Congratulations, America. You Have a White Christian Nationalist for Speaker of the House
Mike Johnson claims evangelical Christianity as cover to obliterate the separation of church and state
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Both religious people and the religiously unaffiliated tend to see it as harmful if faith communities formally endorse political candidates and align themselves with a particular party.
It might lead to the establishment—whether official or de facto—of an approved state religion that would disadvantage any non-adherents.
In additiont, formally endorsing candidates or parties leads to religious litmus tests for the faithful. “Support this candidate and this platform or you’re a heretic.”
The biggest concern is that if organizations such as churches and other faith communities get into the endorsement business, then they can use their IRS tax-exempt status to collect donations for a particular candidate—a loophole that could make religious institutions into partisan fundraising juggernauts instead of places of spiritual nourishing.
The Johnson Amendment, passed in 1954 and sponsored by then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, is designed to prevent this muddling of church and state.
It ensures that faith communities “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office."
Yet the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, helped introduce legislation in 2021 designed to repeal the Johnson Amendment.
He wants churches to intervene in electoral politics, so long as those churches support his interpretation of the faith.
The new speaker and his fellow white Christian nationalist allies do not see a danger in churches getting explicitly involved in endorsing or speaking out against individual candidates.
That’s because they do not fundamentally see much a of a line between the church and the state, and whatever line there is they don’t mind blurring as long as it supports their political agenda.
In an interview Johnson stated, “Over the last 60 or 70 years our generation has been convinced that there is a separation of church and state . . . most people think that is part of the Constitution, but it’s not.”
Mike Johnson maintains an approach to faith and politics that more closely resembles a theocracy established through minority rule rather than a multi-racial, participatory democracy that reflects the interests of the people.
Johnson is perhaps the most openly and wanton white Christian nationalist to hold the very powerful position of Speaker of the House.