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Mike Johnson: U.S. ‘Dark and Depraved’ Because So Many Teens Are LGBTQ+

Author: Trudy Ring

The Mike Johnson hits keep on coming — in early October, the soon-to-be speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives took part in a “prayer call” in which he said American culture was “dark and depraved,” partly because so many young people identify as “something other than straight.”

The call took place October 3, just hours before Rep. Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker and three weeks before Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, was elected to succeed him. It was first reported this week by Rolling Stone and has been picked up by other media outlets.

It was hosted by Jim Garlow, cofounder of the World Prayer Network and founder and CEO of Well Versed, a Christian right organization.

“The culture is so dark and depraved that it almost seems irredeemable at this point,” Johnson said on the call, which was posted on the Well Versed website the following day. Among the signs of this are that church attendance has dropped below 50 percent and that “one in four high school students identified as something other than straight,” he said, putting air quotes around “straight.” “We’re losing the country,” he added.

He said he believes God will lead the U.S. through what he considers a crisis, even though the situation merit’s God’s wrath. He also lamented the possibility that a moderate Republican — of which few remain — or a Democrat could be elected House speaker if McCarthy was removed from the position, which he was. The speaker is usually drawn from the majority party in the House, which currently is the Republican Party, but that’s not a requirement. As the House prepared to vote on whether to maintain McCarthy as speaker, Johnson told Garlow, “What we need is a supernatural intervention from the God of the universe.”

In the end, Republican Patrick McHenry of North Carolina became acting speaker after McCarthy was ousted, and various other speaker nominees failed to win sufficient support or withdrew from consideration before Johnson was elected October 25. McCarthy, like McHenry and Johnson, is a deeply conservative Republican, but some who are even farther to the right didn’t like his willingness to work with Democrats on some issues.

The speaker is key in setting the House’s agenda, and the chamber can do no business without a speaker, which is why going without one was such a problem. The speaker is also second in line for assuming the presidency — if the president dies or becomes incapacitated, the vice president assumes the office; if the vice president dies or becomes incapacitated as well, the speaker of the House is president.

Johnson’s anti-LGBTQ+ views became subject to much scrutiny after he was elected speaker — he was little known outside of Louisiana and far-right circles previously. He’s written opinion columns against marriage equality, called LGBTQ+ people “deviant,” proposed a bill in Congress modeled on Florida’s “don’t say gay” law, and much more. He was once a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund, now known as the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents many anti-LGBTQ+ clients. His wife, Kelly Johnson, runs a Christian counseling practice whose website has likened homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia — but now the website has disappeared.

He’s had little to say on LGBTQ+ issues since becoming speaker, and in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News early in November, he claimed he didn’t remember some of his previous remarks on homosexuality. “I am a rule of law guy. … I respect the rule of law, but I also genuinely love all people regardless of their lifestyle choices,” he added. But the call with Garlow shows his anti-LGBTQ+ stances aren’t that far in the past.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring

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