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New House Speaker Johnson invokes Bible, sparking debate among liberals and conservatives

By Jake Beardslee · October 27, 2023

In brief…

  • New House Speaker Mike Johnson has made public appeals to God and Christianity after his election.
  • Conservatives on social media have praised Johnson's open religiosity.
  • Some liberals have criticized Johnson's rhetoric as unconstitutional and inappropriate.
  • Johnson's faith-based language has provoked polarized reactions on social media.
Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson's public invocations of God and the Bible have received both praise from conservatives and criticism from some liberals who see it as inappropriate and unconstitutional.  Mike Johnson, House of Representatives/Wikimedia

Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson’s public invocations of God and the Bible have received polarized reactions on social media this week. The Louisiana Republican made multiple appeals to his Christian faith after finally being chosen as Speaker on Wednesday following weeks of intraparty debates.

Speaking to Congress after his election, Johnson said “I believe that Scripture and the Bible is very clear that God is the one that raises up those in authority. He raised up each of you, all of us. And I believe God has ordained and allowed each one of us to be brought here for this specific moment and this time. This is my belief.” He later added, “I believe that each one of us has a huge responsibility today to use the gifts that God has given us to serve the extraordinary people of this great country and they deserve it.”

Images circulated on social media platform X of Johnson bowing his head in prayer with fellow Republican lawmakers. This prompted praise from conservatives, like digital strategist Greg Price who remarked in a post on X, “You don’t see too many politicians these days that talk about faith like this.” The Blaze’s Steve Deace said on X, “This is a very good start,” while influential Christian leader Bob Vander Plaats stated, “It’s exciting to hear the new Speaker of the House discuss his faith openly.”

However, some on the left criticized Johnson’s faith-based rhetoric. Syracuse Law lecturer David Cay Johnson posted on the platform formerly known as Twitter, “@HouseGOP members praying on the House floor offends both our Constitution and the New Testament, which denounces public displays of devotion. The blasphemy of the new Speaker, who says God ordained him, is just as disgusting.” Psychologist Lucia Grosaru also questioned the role of religious principles in policymaking, asking, “What if some politician somewhere would start proposing we all go by Apollo’s principles? It’s the same for any other religion that made it to this day.”