FFRF condemns Speaker Johnson’s participation in conspiratorial religious event

House Speaker Mike Johnson

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is disappointed that House Speaker Mike Johnson, along with other members of Congress, will be attending a gathering of conspiratorial Christian nationalists tomorrow.

The Jan. 31 event at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., called a “National Gathering for Prayer & Repentance,” will feature a lineup of speakers similar to last year’s event, which was a hateful anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion circus. The organizers are also the same — Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Jim Garlow of Well Versed — both of whom have reportedly promoted conspiratorial theories about the 2020 election.

Last year’s event, which was attended by then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, featured a panel of “ex-gay” activists who called on God to cleanse the United States of “the sins of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, and sex confusion.” Then, multiple Christian nationalist members of Congress spoke and prayed, including Mike Johnson. As John Fae, historian and expert on American evangelicalism noted, attendees were “the MAGA faithful. . . . They believe the election was stolen, that Trump was God’s anointed.”

The event is a showcase of what happens when extremist lawmakers allow their personal religious beliefs to dictate their policy work, rather than upholding the crucial American value of ensuring a secular government. The Christian nationalism, combined with the organizers’ conspiratorial bent, is eerily reminiscent of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, as documented by FFRF.

“It is improper for anyone who has sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution to participate in an event dedicated to mixing religion and government,” points out FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The event’s deeply un-American themes and participants are now well noted and beyond dispute. There is no excuse for any lawmaker who chooses to attend now.”

Members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus recently documented the shocking and underreported extent of Speaker Johnson’s Christian nationalist history. Johnson’s involvement in this event should serve as a major wake-up call to Americans, who must demand their elected representatives defend true religious liberty by championing the fundamental American principle of secular governance.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members and several chapters across the country. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

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