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Poll: Most Americans Oppose Speaker Mike Johnson’s Christian Nationalist Views

Voters are split on Johnson’s favorability rating, mainly because most don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, left, conclude a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting of the House Republican Conference on November 2, 2023.

A new poll suggests that most American voters are decidedly opposed to House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-Louisiana) far right Christian nationalist viewpoints.

Johnson was voted into the speakership on October 25 after more than three weeks of the House of Representatives having no speaker at all. He was the third person Republicans nominated for the role, after Reps. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) were unsuccessful at securing the support required from their GOP colleagues to take on the role.

Two days after Johnson became speaker, Data for Progress ran a two-day poll in which they asked American voters to describe their feelings on Johnson. A majority (56 percent) said they haven’t heard enough about him to formulate an opinion, while 21 percent said they had a favorable view and 23 percent said they had an unfavorable view.

But while most voters said they didn’t know much about Johnson, the poll also found that, by large margins, voters disagree with a number of his viewpoints.

Johnson, for example, has said that states should be allowed to imprison doctors or sentence them to “hard labor” if they perform abortions, and that abortion should be banned in all U.S. states — an opinion that 66 percent of Americans disagree with, the Data for Progress poll found. Johnson also wanted to repeal the provision in the Affordable Care Act that protects people with pre-existing conditions from discrimination by insurance companies, which the poll found 58 percent of Americans disagree with. The poll also found that 88 percent of Americans are opposed to cutting Social Security and Medicare, a measure that Johnson has repeatedly called for.

American voters also reject Johnson’s anti-LGBTQ viewpoints, the Data for Progress poll found. Johnson, for example, once pushed to allow states to imprison LGBTQ people for having consentual sex; only 12 percent of voters supported the idea, while 78 percent were opposed, the poll showed. Johnson also opposes same-sex marriage, once calling the recognition of such unions a “dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic” — but only 30 percent of Americans believe that same-sex marriage should be banned, according to the Data for Progress poll.

The poll’s publication comes as various news media are delving deeper into the new speaker’s Christian nationalist viewpoints. CNN’s KFile, for example, recently reported on Johnson’s anti-LGBTQ views, including his past comments disparaging the notion of gay identity and his support for conversion therapy, which has been likened to torture of LGBTQ people.

In the 2000s, when Johnson worked for Exodus International, a now-disbanded organization that has since disavowed its goal of “converting” gay people, he was recorded as saying that LGBTQ identities were not worthy of recognition.

“Our race, the size of our feet, the color of our eyes, these are things we’re born with and we cannot change. … Homosexual behavior is something you do, it’s not something that you are,” Johnson said on the recording, according to the KFile’s report.

CNN also discovered recordings in which Johnson pushed the unfounded claim that “homosexual behavior” led to the fall of the Roman Empire — implying in his comments that the same could somehow happen to the U.S.

Johnson said in a Fox News interview late last month that his viewpoints are based on the Bible.

“Someone asked me today in the media, they said, ‘It’s curious, people are curious: What does Mike Johnson think about any issue under the sun?'” Johnson recounted in the interview with Sean Hannity, shortly after he became speaker. “I said, ‘Well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That’s my worldview.”

Predictably, prayer was the only solution Johnson offered to victims of gun violence in Maine last week. Johnson — who is regarded highly by the National Rifle Association — has previously cited feminism and no-fault divorce as the reason for mass shootings in the U.S.

Princeton historian Kevin Kruse condemned Johnson’s Christian nationalist viewpoints in a recent Substack post.

“Johnson does a very familiar routine,” Kruse wrote, “cherry-picking a few select quotations from the Founders to imply that they basically wanted a theocratic government, and ignoring the many other quotations from them making clear that these Enlightenment figures absolutely did not want that.”

Kruse then implored readers to actually “look at what the Constitution actually says.”

“The only mentions of religion in there are measures that keep religion and government at arm’s length from each other — no religious tests for office holders, no establishment of a national religion, no interference with individuals’ rights to worship or not as they saw fit,” Kruse said. “That is what the Founders actually wanted.”

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