I’m thinking about House Speaker and Christian nationalist Mike Johnson because I just came from what I’ll just call a high-level meeting with several members of Congress and people from other secular organizations where we talked about ways to confront his concept of “the so-called separation of church and state.” Because he doesn’t really see one.
In his month as Speaker, Johnson has not had much opportunity to mix church and state. He has mostly been finding out where the rest rooms are near the Speaker’s office and keeping the government from shutting down right before Thanksgiving, which he could only do by getting Democratic votes to keep it open. This meant punting the spending bills for all the federal agencies until January and February when he will have the opportunity to leave his imprint on them, so we want to be ready.
Last spring Congressman Johnson was involved in a discussion about immigration during a Judiciary Committee hearing and it revealed a lot about his mindset. Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) brought up the many instructions in the Bible to help immigrants and accused Republicans, particularly evangelical Republicans, of ducking God’s admonition found in Leviticus to “welcome the foreigner” and love him “as yourself.” (Cicilline has since retired from Congress.)
Johnson responded, “You have to see to whom the order is given. That order is not given to civil authorities and the government. That order is given to individuals. We do reach out to the sojourner, but it is not the job of the federal government to do it.” So interestingly, if the Bible doesn’t spell it out that the government should get involved (with helping immigrants), then you don’t. That’s good information for when he does want to involve the government in other areas based on his biblical view of the world, which he will.
In that meeting we also talked about ways to let more people know about the threat that Christian nationalists like Johnson pose as they become more mainstream in America. We have some good ideas. Thanks to everyone who helped us add four members of Congress to the Congressional Freethought Caucus this year; they make a difference. Here is the list of members and here is the Action Alert you can use to ask your representative to join.
If you missed our Giving Tuesday appeal you can use the donation link at the bottom here. Donations large and small keep us going. $15 would pay for two trips to Capitol Hill on the subway! And back! Don’t think I wouldn’t appreciate it.