In his remarks after being elected House Speaker, Mike Johnson said, “I believe that Scripture, the Bible, is very clear: that God is the one who raises up those in authority. He raised up each of you. All of us.” He then referenced certain historical realities that re-affirmed the intimate relationship between our history and the understanding that our identity as a country has not been and should not be separated from our closeness to Almighty God. He recounted how the motto “In God We Trust” was placed in the House chamber as a rebuke of communism, which is associated with atheism, and highlighted the Declaration of Independence’s use of “Creator.” He also noted the presence of Moses on the wall of the House chamber. Later, on the Capitol steps he cited Romans 5: 3-4 in the Holy Bible that says “Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope.’” As an interpretive afterthought, he added. “What we need in this country is more hope.”
If we take these comments seriously, we see that Speaker Johnson has a vision of governance that is motivated by four goals that will point the way to more creative governance, towards a governance with greater integrity than we have had for a long time, and a governance that solves problems rather than multiplies our problems. First there must be a kind of spiritual renaissance whereby the country acknowledges again its closeness as a socio-political economic entity to Almighty God himself. Second, we must acknowledge that even though the Soviet Union collapsed, our opposition to atheistic communism must continue unabated. Communist ideals as announced by Karl Marx and appearing in various updated disguises must continue to be both shunned and fought. Third, we must understand that morality did not begin and end with our laws but follows from the reality that the world we live in and the very idea of there being different countries comes from God. If we look at the story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible we see that the globalist ideals of the tower builders were pure folly, and that the world was purposely divided into different language groups, people groups, tribes, and nations.
Further, our legal system as was recognized by William Blackstone the father of modern law, did not originate with our Constitution, but originated in natural law which was revealed by Biblical values going back to ancient Biblical covenants including the Ten Commandments and many of the 613 commandments given to the world by God through His servant Moses.
Fourth, with great and godly sensitivity, Speaker Johnson quoted Romans to remind the press and the population that government does not exist to project burdens and fear. It does not exist to oppress and depress the population with taxes and invasive rules that crush the spirit and add to the many stresses of everyday life. Rather, integrity, satisfaction in independent living by the sweat of one’s brow, and the favored effects of loving relatedness with our families, neighbors (far and near), and fellow citizens takes perseverance, but that relentless commitment is well worth it. The fruit of that commitment is hope. Government should be a cooperative partner with the citizenry in inducing that hope, and not the creator of an obstacle course to hope. Ever-increasing governmental rules over our day-to-day activities leads to a collectivity that diminishes hope.
Too often, our laws are passed with the false imprimatur that those laws or the administrative rulings of government are opening doors of opportunity or opening paths to a safer environment or safer day-by-day living in our institutions. Inherent hypocrisies are swept under the rug. The impacts of money biases of our legislators are not discussed as laws are passed often on confidential assumptions that have been influenced by lobbyists and other “favors owed.”
Self-interest of those in power will always be implicated in governmental decisions, but it is a question of degree. A government and society which is intrinsically God-oriented, receives His love as a reward and His punishments for wrongdoing. Thus, announcing his love for God, as Johnson does, means that he is committed to seeking righteous policies and laws and that he will resist pandering to special interests and to ideologies that heap contempt on the moral foundations of the USA. God rejects wasteful spending of other peoples’ money (remember how the Pharaohs spent egregious sums to build those pyramids!!) and this restraint thus also gives hope. Hope is allied to wisdom and wisdom comes from the ethical and spiritual principles of the Bible.
But instead of seeing Johnson’s Christian faith as calling the populace to moral renewal, the critics are quick to label his Christian identity as “Christian nationalism.” With that so-called nationalism, there is an attempt to connote a dimension of force, of a power play that threatens the liberty and even peacefulness of our country. A recent article negatively depicted Johnson’s views by stating, “The political ideology that seeks to merge American and Christian identities is deeply embedded in American society…. The most violent expressions, such as what we saw at the January 6 insurrection, get most of the attention. But the more subtle ones—like state legislative efforts to promote the teaching of the Bible in public schools or to require the posting of “In God We Trust” in public schools and other public places—are also dangerous in that they perpetuate the false narrative that to be a true American one must be Christian—and often a certain type of Christian.” We can see how the writers juxtapose the false idea of Jan. 6 as a violent Christian expression with the idea of exclusivity and the suppression of freedom of religion in our country by Christians. Thus, Johnson is depicted as dangerous to the peace and tranquility of the republic rather than as a voice of integrity and hope, which he is.
By considering the words he said shortly after he was elected Speaker, we have seen that his words are non-threatening, non-militaristic and bespeak a determination to focus upon increased integrity in the halls of government. Our laws should reflect the cause of righteousness which resists the siren songs of the lobbyists and the troublemakers who wish to saturate our culture with radical ideologies, wasteful and excessive spending, and extensions of governmental power over a freedom-loving people. These wholesome and eternal values are the ones he seeks to move forward by being “a Christian.” He is not a spokesman of an arbitrary and un-Constitutional power grab by faithful Christians. He wants our land to become a more righteous place and the government to demonstrate greater integrity and consistency with our founding values. He does not stand for a power grab by Christians, but instead, as a Christian, would resist and overpower power grabs by the left.
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