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Who is Mike Johnson?

Isaac Dahan

Staff Writer

On October 25, 2023, after a total of 19 different votes, the Republican majority finally managed to elect Louisiana’s fourth representative, Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House. Serving in the House since 2017, Mike Johnson is the least experienced Speaker ever to be elected to the position of Speaker, and, at only 51, he is also the third-youngest Speaker ever to grace the seat. As a result of his recent admittance to the House and abrupt nomination to Speakership, many Americans have wondered what to think of the new third most powerful person in the country.

Before entering politics, Johnson practiced constitutional law in both private practice and as a member of the ADF, the “Alliance Defending Freedom,” where he made a name for himself advocating for the criminalization of homosexuality and so-called “sodomy.” Between 2004 and 2012, Johnson sat on the Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is known for protesting Pride Parades, Abortion Clinics, and women serving as Church officials. Johnson’s political career began in 2015 when he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives, where he served until 2017. However, in 2016, identified as a member of the Christian Right, Johnson was promptly elected to Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District seat in the House of Representatives. While serving in Congress, Johnson made headlines by contesting the 2020 elections, supporting a nationwide abortion ban, and arguing against the separation of Church and State. Because of his extremist views, he was appointed chair of the Republican Study Committee, the largest Republican caucus, in 2019, before being promoted to vice chair of the House Republican Conference from 2021 to 2023.

Johnson prides himself on his ultraconservative and uncompromising positions on outlawing abortions and taking away gay rights. He blamed school shootings in America on abortion and gay marriage, saying, "When you tell a generation of people that life has no value, no meaning, that it's expendable, then you do wind up with school shooters.” He has also correlated a link between the teaching of evolution and school shootings, insisting that the idea of “survival of the fittest” is causing young people to open fire on their classmates. Furthermore, he claims that abortion damages the economy because it reduces the number of workers in America. Johnson continues to believe that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen, using his position to fight against the result to such an extent that the New York Times has referred to him as “the most important architect of the electoral college objections.” Johnson has voted against the establishment of a national commission to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the January 6th riot of the Capitol. He also denies that humans have an impact on climate change, citing the Bible and the oil and gas lobbyists, who have donated $338,125 to him throughout his congressional career. In 2017, he voted for the American Health Care Act, which was intended to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In a continuation of something mentioned earlier, he’s been a longtime opponent of LGBT rights, working with Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jim Jordan to push for the criminalization of homosexuality and calling homosexuals “sinful,” “destructive,” a “deviant group,” and pedophiles, actively calling on his supporters to be homophobic. Again, citing the Bible and his lobbyists, he’s claimed that “homosexual marriage is the dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic." From the perspective of a constitutional lawyer, he has also opposed the rulings of both Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges, which outlawed regulation of private sexual conduct and universally legalized same-sex marriage respectively. Johnson himself introduced an act in 2022 that, comparable to the “Don’t Say Gay” law of Florida, would ban the mentioning of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools nationwide, which he justified under the banner of “stopping the sexualization of children.” Aligning with many of his views on the LGBT community, he doesn’t believe in allowing transgender youth access to gender-affirming care, sponsoring legislation to make providing such care to minors a felony.

All in all, Johnson’s election to Speaker comes as a result of the political climate in the House shifting more and more to bow to the far-right extremist that made it so difficult for the Republican majority to elect a speaker in the first place. Mike Johnson is a textbook example of a polivangelist, a politician who blurs the line between church and state to propel his religious views on others. As an extremely religious man, there is no line between politics and religion for Mike Johnson. When asked what he thought about some current issues, Johnson told the reporter just to read the Bible to find out. Right now, with everything said and done and Mike Johnson’s place as speaker solidified for God knows how long, the only question left for Americans is no longer “Who?” but “What’s next for America?” Find out in future issues of Cougar Chronicle.


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