In his first day as the brand new Speaker of the US Home of Representatives, Mike Johnson (R-LA) wasted no time in utilizing sweeping spiritual rhetoric to enlarge this political second. Whereas addressing his colleagues he shared how, I dont consider there are any coincidences. I consider that scripture, the Bible, could be very clear that God is the one which raises up these in authority, he raised up every of you, all of us. And I consider that God has ordained and allowed us to be introduced right here to this particular second and time.
Whereas what Speaker Johnson believes God ordained him to do will change into clear within the coming weeks and months, his prior work, phrases, and writing give a number of clues. Though he has by no means known as himself a Christian Nationalist nor publicly embraced the time period as different Home Reps have performed, every instance factors to the robust embrace of the ethos of Christian nationalisma cultural framework that advocates for a specific expression of Christianity to be fused with American civic life, with the federal government vigorously selling and preserving this model of Christianity because the principal and undisputed cultural framework.
Speaker Johnson has explicitly embraced the concept the U.S. was based upon specific Christian rules, in 2016 claiming, You realize, we dont reside in a democracy . . . Its a constitutional republic. And the founders set that up as a result of they adopted the biblical admonition on what a civil society is meant to appear like.
In the identical interview, he reiterated his perception that the separation of church and state isn’t a constitutional precept. During the last 60 or 70 years our technology has been satisfied that there’s a separation of church and state . . . most individuals assume that’s a part of the Structure, however its not. And in 2022, he acknowledged The founders needed to guard the church from an encroaching state, not the opposite manner round. Johnson, and people he has famously represented, insist the US is a nation with Judeo-Christian roots at which secular forces are chipping away.
Having studied Christian nationalism for over a decade, we discover it’s persistently made up of a number of totally different parts. Once we say Speaker Johnson is a Christian nationalist, we imply he offers a near-perfect instance for every factor.
Traditionalist Social Preparations
First, Christian nationalism strongly favors traditionalist social relationships and hierarchies. This excellent society revolves round patriarchy, heterosexual marriage, and pronatalism. Consequently, sure residents and household preparations ought to have quick access to numerous civil rights and liberties, whereas others needs to be denied entry.
As an legal professional working for the Alliance Protection Fund, now often known as Alliance Defending Freedom (based by leaders with related Christian nationalist commitments, like James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, and Invoice Vibrant), Speaker Johnson opposed the decriminalization of gay exercise via Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 and in 2004 proposed banning same-sex marriage.
He argued how each will de-emphasize the significance of conventional marriage to society, weaken it, and place our whole democratic system in jeopardy by eroding its basis, and that specialists challenge that gay marriage is the darkish harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that would doom even the strongest republic.
Mike Johnson has sponsored a number of payments geared toward a nationwide ban on abortion, which he as soon as publicly blamed for varsity shootings. He additionally as soon as structured opposition to Roe v. Wade when it comes to how itin his viewlimited the variety of able-bodied staff within the financial system, which basically weakens the governments skill to fund numerous social packages.
Like a automotive engineered to run on gasoline, Johnson sees our nationand any nation for that matteronly operating correctly on the social preparations elevated within the conservative Anglo Protestant custom. Johnsons politics are people who formally privilege gender traditionalism and heterosexuality because the nationwide excellent.
Authoritarian Social Management
Second, Christian nationalism adheres to a need for robust leaders who via the specter of violence, or precise violence, defend the popular social preparations and hierarchies. This contains setting apart the outcomes of free and honest elections to make sure a selected chief stays in energy. People who embrace Christian nationalism usually tend to assist anti-democratic techniques and approve of political violence if an election doesn’t return favorable outcomes.
Mike Johnson was a central determine in making an attempt to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election, becoming a member of 146 different Republicans in Congress. Repeating debunked claims about rigged Dominion voting machines, Johnson went as far as to creator an amicus temporary for a case the place Texas moved to have swing-state outcomes thrown out. His constant efforts to disclaim and overturn the 2020 election earned him the nickname MAGA Mike from fellow lawmakers.
Speaker Johnson exemplifies this facet of Christian nationalism disregarding the values of democracy to as a substitute embrace any means via which political energy stays in the appropriate fingers. And this consolation with setting apart democratic beliefs aligns with one other factor of Christian nationalism.
Third, Christian nationalism is characterised by robust ethno-racial boundaries round nationwide id, civic participation, and social belonging. In truth, students usually name the ideology white Christian nationalism for this very motive. The perfect American is usually understood to be a natural-born Anglo Protestant. It’s this group who created the U.S., and it’s this group who ought to stay central to its cultural id and political management.
Speaker Johnson has supported laws that may sooth the conscience and defend the authority of such People, resembling legal guidelines that restrict educating on race-related subjects inside public colleges, like Floridas Dont Say Homosexual regulation. Johnson has additionally superior laws that may improve the burden on undocumented immigrants searching for asylum.
Throughout the Christian nationalist imaginative and prescient, our analysis exhibits, ethnic range isn’t our nationwide energy, however a hindrance. And so there should be boundaries round who will get to take pleasure in these advantages and take part within the civil sphere. People who embrace Christian nationalism can concurrently declare Christian beliefs of caring for these much less lucky whereas objecting to the nation serving numerous populations in want of refuge.
Populism and Conspiratorial pondering
A last factor of Christian nationalism is a populist impulse that creates area for People to embrace emotions of victimizationthat sure elites try to persecute themwhich lends itself to adopting extra conspiratorial pondering that features perception in anti-vaccine myths, QAnon, and antisemitic tropes.
Along with repeatedly elevating Trumps conspiracy theories in regards to the 2020 election, Johnson has additionally usually repeated the Nice Alternative Principle, that Democrats are bringing in immigrants to interchange pure born residents and safe Democratic votes. That is the core of rightwing populist pondering, defending actual People from elites and outsiders corrupting our tradition and politics. It’s also the core of Christian nationalism.
It’s important to acknowledge the affect of Christian nationalism on Mike Johnsons imaginative and prescient for the U.S.. Christian nationalism isnt a political slur. Its a time period that precisely describes an ideology that’s antithetical to a secure, multiracial, and liberal democracyan ideology clearly guiding the now-ranking Republican within the U.S. Home of Representatives.