Listening to the media these past two weeks, one might wrongly assume that Mike Johnson, newly elected speaker of the House, is an unhinged radical. But we should know better than to trust the media’s definition of “radical.”
Frighteningly, it appears that everything ascribed to Johnson's supposed "extremism" amounts to nothing more than genuine and sincere expressions of his Christian faith. The implications of these attacks, for people of faith in America, are quite alarming. In a country that ensures freedom of religion, simply believing and following the Bible, as Speaker Mike Johnson does, is enough to get one branded a dangerous fanatic.
“MAGA and Christian nationalism: Bigger threat to America than Hamas could ever be,” wrote White House reporter Brian Karem for Salon.
Whatever he may say to try and quantify this provocative headline, Karem should be immediately removed from the White House and fired from Salon for such an offensive and outrageous claim. To compare upstanding men like Johnson to murderous Hamas terrorists less than one month after they invaded another country, slaughtered men, women, and children, and took hundreds of civilians captive is repulsive and unacceptable. And the media knows it.
Below is a quote from Salon at length:
“While the world burns, Johnson and the MAGA wing of the Republican Party… is embracing the darkest verses of the Bible, apparently pushing for apocalypse with an enthusiasm only rivaled by Saul’s slaughter of Christians before he changed his name to Paul.
I’m waiting for Mel Brooks to break out into song: “Let all those who wish to confess their evil ways and accept and embrace the true church convert now or forever burn in hell — for now begins the Inquisition!”
The House of Representatives, now run by Johnson, offers a discount version of the apocalyptic orgasm the holy rollers have dreamed of for years. They’ve renewed the Inquisition and seem determined to convert the U.S. into a theocracy run by people who will thump you with the Bible, but haven’t read much of it.
Lord, how they love to preach fire and brimstone. But the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes? Forget it. Matthew 25:40: “Whatever you did it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”? Not a chance. They’ve embraced only the Old Testament angry God and the apocalyptic parts of Revelation brought on by ergot poisoning.”
The author later suggests that Johnson is “hellbent on returning to the Middle Ages,” bloody crusades and all.
Of course, he has little evidence for any of it—other than that Johnson openly centers his worldview on the Bible. Beyond that, where does he get his proof that men like our new speaker are “pushing for apocalypse” and have only embraced an “angry” God? I, for one, have never heard Johnson say anything like that.
This raises an important point: Johnson’s accusers often have nothing substantial to accuse him of. They lob foreboding-sounding accusations of radicalism and extremism, and back them up—with what?
In one instance, Slate Magazine uncovered that Speaker Mike Johnson and his wife have a successful marriage (how dare they!), writing an entire piece about why this should concern us: “Mike Johnson launched his political career with his wife—as the faces of a radical marital strategy,” the article declared.
This so-called radical strategy boils down to the fact that the Johnsons took premarital counseling and do not believe in divorce. That’s it. And courtesy of Slate, we get an entire disquisition on why this makes Johnson “radical” and “old fashioned.”
“He has signaled, repeatedly,” the article concludes, “that as a leader of his party he will continue to prioritize conservative Christian measures. And he’ll do it with the same playbook he brought to the politics of his marriage: Be charming, in the service of making radical ideals seem wholesome, chaste, and harmless.”
Elsewhere, in a piece titled “20 Not-Fun Facts About Speaker Mike Johnson,” the media exposed that the speaker “doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state,” “once partnered with a conversion-therapy organization,” “wrote a lot of homophobic op-eds,” and “worked for the conservative legal group behind the case that ended Roe v. Wade.” All, apparently, some super scary stuff!
Aside from this, however, the media has utterly failed to prove, in any real sense, that Mike Johnson is an unhinged radical. He is—and it’s the worst charge they can bring against him—a Christian. Like Daniel's accusers, they cannot find “any occasion against” him, “except we find it against him concerning the law of his God” (Daniel 6:5). And they will do the same to us.
Sure, they promise to let us keep our religious liberty. But what does that actually mean if even the most basic application of faith is dismissed as problematic? The media say they are O.K. with Christianity—until Christianity entails, you know, following the Bible. That kind of Christianity is strictly off-limits.
These attacks on Speaker Mike Johnson highlight a growing problem in American society: our institutions are at open war with faith. Don’t be deceived into believing the opposition is solely aimed at “nationalists” or the crazy type. If you so much as believe in the Bible and hold to it as your rule of faith, you, per the media’s new definition, are a nationalist. You are the crazy type. The media is viciously, relentlessly, and “brutally” mocking you.
We must remain vigilant in questioning the portrayal of individuals in the media; we must not shy away from men like Speaker Mike Johnson simply out of fear of being called baseless, sensationalized names. Remember, in this day and age, true faith is radical. And as the author of our faith, Jesus Christ, taught: “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
For men like Johnson, those words are increasingly true.