House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has once again taken a vocal stand in defense of his Christian faith after a Democrat strategist said that what Mr. Johnson believes is a “bigger threat” to the United States than the Al-Qaeda terror group.
Democrat strategist James Carville made the comments during comedian Bill Maher’s show “Real Time With Bill Maher” on Dec. 1.
“Mike Johnson and what he believes is one of the greatest threats we have today to the United States,” Mr. Carville said.
“I promise you, I know these people,” Mr. Carville continued, prompting Mr. Maher to ask him to clarify that he’s referring to Christian nationalism rather than Christianity in general.
“You’re talking about Christian nationalists?” Mr. Maher said.
Nodding in the affirmative, Mr. Carville said, “Absolutely. This is a bigger threat than Al-Qaeda to this country.”
The Democrat strategists’ remarks drew a response from Mr. Johnson, who took to X on Sunday to post his response.
“It’s twisted and shameful that a leading Democrat strategist says millions of Christians in America are a greater threat than foreign terrorists who murdered more than 3,000 Americans,” Mr. Johnson wrote. “The Democratic Party should condemn this. But they won’t.”
Mr. Johnson’s Faith in Focus
While there’s no canonical manifesto of Christian nationalism or a single definition, it’s generally considered the belief that the American nation is defined by Christian values and the government should adopt policies—like on issues of abortion or same-sex marriage—that align with this worldview.
Progressives have argued that Christian nationalism is antidemocratic. Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, called it the “single biggest threat to religious freedom” in America.
While Mr. Johnson has never identified himself as a Christian nationalist, he’s been vocal about his Christian faith and the fact that its values guide his thinking and actions, including as a congressional representative.
He’s made remarks—such as that he thinks God “raises up those in authority” to leadership positions—that have drawn criticism from secularists and others.
Mr. Johnson’s rise to the role of House Speaker at the end of October put his Christian beliefs into focus and prompted critical op-eds from publications like The Washington Post (titled “Mike Johnson is a pro-gun Christian nationalist. Yes, be afraid”) and The New York Times (titled “The Embodiment of White Christian Nationalism in a Tailored Suit”).
Despite criticism, Mr. Johnson has repeatedly defended his faith and insisted that its values are beneficial to the country.
Speaker Defends ‘Judeo-Christian Tradition’
In his first international speech after being elected as House Speaker, Mr. Johnson laid out several key concepts for his vision for the future of America, which includes drawing on Christian traditions and values.
Mr. Johnson made the remarks in a virtual speech on Oct. 30 to the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship’s inaugural conference in London.
Citing “unprecedented times,” Mr. Johnson laid out a number of key questions that need to be answered if an “optimistic vision” and “better story” for the world is to come to fruition.
These include how to restore good governance and faith in institutions, how to strengthen the social fabric and refocus on the family, how to provide cheap and reliable energy, and how to persuade people that finding the answers to these questions “are the keys to greater human flourishing across the globe.”
Mr. Johnson said that, today, a lack of a “necessary” common narrative and moral framework that can bind people together is behind the many problems facing the world, including tensions flaring in various hot spots like the Middle East, Taiwan, and Ukraine.
He referred to the current turning point in history as a “civilizational moment” that, if approached the wrong way, could lead civilization to collapse.
“We will lose our critical connection to our foundational principles if we answer this question the wrong way,” he said.
“If we answer it the right way, it will lead to a renewal, rather than a replacement or the ultimate decline of our civilization,” he continued.
In his remarks, he stressed the validity of drawing on the “Judeo-Christian tradition” that he said has helped guide the “extraordinary heritage” of Western civilization.
“I believe God brings leaders together to address certain challenges,” he told the audience, adding that now is the time to “begin the challenging work of pushing back on the failed visions that currently plague the West.”
Some of the problems gripping America and vexing Western civilization include bad governance on the part of political leaders, a lack of public confidence in institutions, deep and destructive political divisions, and a “crisis of identity” in the West as a whole.