By Jerry Newcombe, D.Min.
After Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson was voted in as the Speaker of the House, many on the left threw a fit about him. He has been described as:
• an “extremist” by Congresswoman AOC of New York City.
• a “Christian Nationalist” by a Christian professor (John Fea, Messiah College).
• a “staunch conservative on issues like abortion and government spending” by journalist Garrett Haake of NBC News and MSNBC.
And on it goes.
But the reality is that Mike Johnson stands in a long tradition of American leaders who looked to God and the Bible for guidance. If you know history, you know that great Americans like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were regular readers of the Scriptures.
Today’s secularists have so successfully cut us off from our Judeo-Christian traditions that someone like Mike Johnson is supposedly an interloper in an otherwise blissfully secular America, to paraphrase the late D. James Kennedy.
Mike Johnson, a constitutional attorney, first became known among many in the Christian community because of his legal work in the Alliance Defending Freedom (the ADF)—an organization co-founded by D. James Kennedy, James Dobson, the late Bill Bright, Marlin Maddoux, Larry Burkett, and others.
At D. James Kennedy Ministries, we have had the privilege to interview Mike Johnson on occasion. Here are some of his own words on what America is all about (or what the framers intended it to be all about).
Our God-given rights
“We are endowed by our Creator with these certain inalienable rights. [America’s founders] put that in their writings, it’s reflected in all of their documents, their personal letters, and that’s what it’s really about.”
On Religious Liberty
“My background before I got to Congress is in constitutional law. I worked for the Alliance Defending Freedom, and we defended religious freedom and the right of conscience in courts all around the country, and we’ve seen an increasing assault on that most fundamental freedom that we have. We call religious liberty our first freedom, for a reason of course, because it’s listed first. And that’s because the founders understood: your right to believe and to act upon that belief is essential to who you are as an American, but even more fundamental than that, who you are as a human being. And so it’s critically important to protect it.”
On Threats Against Religious Freedom
“And yet we’ve seen this increasing assault over the last several decades really, it’s been growing. And right now it’s just at a critical point. You have an empowered, kind of radicalized left, who is trying to steamroll over this idea of religious freedom, and they’ve had some success in recent decades. So we’re trying to roll back some of that to defend what’s left of that ground, and even take some back. And we’re gratified that we’re seeing some strides in that result.”
On a Growing Hostility to the Judeo-Christian Heritage
“Instead of seeing a tolerance for people of all ideologies and all faiths, what we’ve seen is a growing hostility, an outright hostility towards one particular faith. And that’s the Christian faith, in almost every case. The Judeo Christian heritage that we all revere, and those who live in accordance with those principles, are under assault.”
On This Present Moment
“I say all the time, it’s a great time to be alive if you have the answers. We know we’re in difficult times, but it’s never been more important to be able to give voice and a witness to the truth. We live in a postmodern era, as we know, and we live in a nation, sadly, of biblical and constitutional illiterates. It’s easy to take freedom away from a people if they don’t even know what those freedoms are. So it’s never been more important to be a bold voice.”
Called to be “Winsome Warriors”
“We’re called to be winsome warriors. We’re called to be gentle with those who disagree, we demolish their arguments, but we recognize they’re not the enemy. The enemy is the principalities, right? And I find that you can get a long way with being winsome about that. We don’t have any reason to be angry at anybody. I think [Mike] Huckabee said one time, ‘I’m a conservative, but I’m not mad at anybody about it.’ That’s kind of my philosophy. And I think that…we can approach those, even with whom we vehemently disagree, just talk with them reasonably. Reason together. We can…make some headway, and we’re beginning to see some of that even in the Congress, believe it or not.”
If Mike Johnson is an “extremist” and a “Christian Nationalist,” then so were George Washington, John Adams, and most of America’s founders. And I’ll gladly take more of that rather than less of it.
Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the executive director of Providence Forum, a division of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air contributor. He has written/co-written 33 books, including (with D. James Kennedy), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? and (with Dr. Peter Lillback), George Washington’s Sacred Fire.