Religion
Mike Johnson

Speaker Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has not shied away from sharing his far-right, evangelical Christian faith during his nearly eight years in Congress.

Earlier this week, Religious News Service reported members of the Congressional Forethought Caucus sent a letter to Johnson on Thursday, February 15, expressing their concerns "about Jack Hibbs — the extreme right Christian nationalist Johnson chose to lead the House's opening prayer on January 30."

Last weekend, Politico reports, the Speaker used his presentation during a Republican retreat as an opportunity to focus "on declining church membership and the nation’s shrinking religious identity, according to" two people who were in the room.

Johnson's speech "took on a surprisingly religious tone," according to the report, as, "Rather than outlining a specific plan to hold and grow the majority, these people said, Johnson effectively delivered a sermon."

Furthermore, Politico notes, "The speaker contended that when one doesn’t have God in their life, the government or 'state' will become their guide, referring back to Bible verses, both people said. They added that the approach fell flat among some in the room."

Calling Johnson's presentation "horrible," one person present told the news outlet, "I'm not in church."

They added, "I think what he was trying to do, but failed on the execution of it, was try to bring us together. The sermon was so long he couldn't bring it back to make the point."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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Evangelical 'Christians' Parrot Trump's False And Vindictive Rhetoric

Barney Bornhoft

Donald Trump

Despite facing four indictments, one demographic's support for Donald Trump has increased over the last eight years — right-wing evangelical Christians.

According to NBC News, "In 2016, Trump garnered just 22 percent of Iowa’s evangelical vote, according to caucus entrance polling. In the latest NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll, 51 percent of likely Iowa evangelical caucusgoers said that they are backing Trump for the GOP’s 2024 nomination."

In a Wednesday, January 10 report, NBC News' Dan Gallo, Vaughn Hillyard, and Jake Traylor note that many evangelical ministers are displaying their staunch support for Trump through the form of prayer.

"The invocations have become their own political call to action, sometimes punctuated with applause lines and partisan language, invoking the same falsehoods and vindictiveness that Trump himself spreads," they write.

Gallo, Hillyard and Traylor note:

Celebrity pastors, such as Paula White and Kenneth Copeland, who preach the 'prosperity gospel,' have long stood by Trump’s side, giving him early credibility in their corner of Christianity. Now, the pastors taking the political stage across the country are most often local pastors with more immediate followings — further proof that Trump’s reach goes well beyond the television megachurches and into local congregations that were once more skeptical of a somewhat vulgar New York real estate tycoon and casino owner.

Reverend Joel Tenney of Coralville, Iowa, told "several hundred supporters" at a December rally, “We have witnessed a sitting president weaponize the entire legal system to try and steal an election and imprison his leading opponent, Donald Trump, despite committing no crime. We have witnessed a sitting president weaponize the entire legal system to try and steal an election and imprison his leading opponent, Donald Trump, despite committing no crime."

The Iowa pastor, praying that God "would help us to re-elect President Donald Trump," said the 2024 presidential election "'is part of a spiritual battle' with 'demonic forces at play.'"

According to NBC, Iowa Pastor Barney Bornhoft "prayed at the beginning of an Ankeny, Iowa, rally in December for 'a hedge of protection' around Trump, while offering something of a midprayer commentary: 'I don’t believe we have any idea the pressure that he’s under,' calling the cases against the former president 'ridiculous.'"

Bornhoft told the news outlet, on one hand, "it is awkward for a minister to take the same podium as Trump, but added: 'Part of who he is on stage kept us out of war years ago, kept us with a border that was closed.'"

He added, "There’s been a lot of presidents behind the scenes who curse, who do a lot of different things. I hate to say it this way, but the office at times requires it."

Tenney emphasized to his audience, "When Donald Trump becomes the 47th President of the United States, there will be retribution against all those who have promoted evil in this country."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.