Connect with us

News

New GOP Speaker: Separation of Church and State Is Only a ‘Shield for People of Faith’

Published

on

Experts are digging into the background of the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, a little-known backbencher who has never headed a congressional committee but rose to become the third most-powerful elected official in the U.S. government Wednesday after two other Republicans failed to garner enough votes to win the gavel.

MSNBC’s Sarah Posner calls Johnson “the most unabashedly Christian nationalist speaker in history.” His Christian nationalism, previously known to few, is coming to light, especially when he told members of Congress in his first remarks after being elected Speaker that “Scripture is very clear” that they were “ordained” by God.

In a September, 2022 episode of his weekly podcast with his wife, “Truth Be Told With Mike and Kelly Johnson,” now-speaker Johnson claimed there is no wall to separate church and state, but rather, the Constitution erects a wall to protect religious people from the state.

The First Amendment, Johnson said, was “intended to create a shield for people of faith.”

READ MORE: Special Counsel Wants Trump Gag Order Reinstated Over Alleged Witness Intimidation

“But the sad irony is that over the last 60, 70, 80 years, radical progressives and leftists and atheist organizations have twisted the meaning of it,” Johnson continued. “And now they regard the First Amendment as a weapon to be wielded against the people of faith when it was supposed to be their shield.”

“See, the majority of the founders, having personally witnessed the abuses of the Church of England, were determined to prevent the official establishment of any single national denomination of religion. However, they very deliberately listed religious liberty the free exercise of religion of course, as the first freedom protected by the Bill of Rights, and here’s the key: They did that because they wanted everyone to really live out their faith as that would ensure a robust presence, moral virtue in the public square, and the free marketplace of ideas.”

Johnson also said, “If anybody tries to convince you that your biblical beliefs or your religious viewpoint needs to be separated from public affairs, you should politely remind them to review their history. And importantly, you should not back down.”

A 2021 Pew Research poll found, “even among White evangelical Protestants and highly religious Christians, fewer than half say the U.S. should abandon its adherence to the separation of church and state (34% and 31%, respectively) or declare the country a Christian nation (35% and 29%).”

Still, the claim the wall of separation exists only to protect people of faith is not new for Johnson.

In a 2016 broadcast of the “Disciple’s Voice of Hope with Alex T. Ray,” Johnson made very similar remarks.

“What’s happened, Alex over the last 60, 70 years, is that our generation has been convinced that there’s a separation of church and state. You heard that term all the time. And most people think that that’s part of the Constitution, but it’s not – remember, I’m a member of a constitutional lawyer.”

READ MORE: ‘Fascist Party at War With Americans’ Basic Freedoms’: Critics Blast GOP Election of New Speaker

“Now, what we always point out is that the phrase comes from a letter, it was a private letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, 1801. They write a letter and they say, ‘Mr. President, we’re so concerned that the government is going to come in and encroach upon our religious freedom, our freedom in the church to worship and to pray and to share the gospel, to share the truth as we understand and live in accordance with the dictates of our own conscience. Mr. President, what can you tell us? Is this a legitimate concern?’ So he writes back and he says, ‘Oh, listen, listen, my friends, my fellow countrymen, you have no concern, because we’ve given you the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights begins with religious freedom as the first and most fundamental liberty that we acknowledge that were granted by God, the right of conscience, the right to believe what you will, and to worship and pass it on your children.'”

“He says, ‘don’t worry there’s an impregnable wall of separation between church and state.’ In other words, the government is not going to encroach on the church and tell you what to believe or how to worship or take away your property or your rights or your right to get together and do and perpetuate your faith. And so he says, ‘Don’t worry, the First Amendment is like a shield to protect people of faith.’ But here’s what’s happened over the last several decades, that shield has been turned into a weapon to be used against people of faith.”

Johnson then portrays those who support the separation of church as condescending, and says, “so now they’ve convinced our generation because they say it enough, people begin to believe it and say, ‘Oh, no, there’s a difference between your religious life and real life,’ right? So they say, ‘on Sunday mornings, you guys get together, y’all go you know, go pray, you worship, you go to your little church building there. You get in your safe four walls, and you do your warm, fuzzy religious thing. You do your touchy feely, emotional, all the hand-raising and praising – you do all that stuff on Sunday. But don’t bring those ideas into the public square. Don’t bring those ideas Monday morning to the workplace at the water-cooler, don’t do that because you got to keep that separate over here,’ having heard separation of church and state.”

READ MORE: Texas Judge Fighting for ‘Right’ to Not Marry Gay Couples Cites ‘The Scriptures’

“Well, now wait a minute, the founders said religion and morality are the indispensable support to the whole Republic. Now you’re telling me I can’t even bring it in just one argument in the public policy arena? That’s crazy. It’s anathema. It’s, it’s opposite. It’s the opposite of how we were founded as a country and I’m telling you we’re losing those foundations at our peril.”

Watch Johnson from 2016 below or at this link.

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

RFK Jr. and Trump Explored Endorsement Deal in Exchange for Administration Post: Report

Published

on

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., seen by some as a spoiler whose candidacy could help Donald Trump, held talks with the ex-president after the assassination attempt, reportedly discussing an endorsement in exchange for a position in a second Trump administration.

Late Saturday evening on July 13, hours after a 20-year old man shot at Trump, apparently causing a bloody ear while killing a Trump supporter and wounding two others at a Pennsylvania rally, Trump and Kennedy spoke by phone. During that call, The Washington Post reports, the two presidential candidates agreed to meet the following week in Milwaukee, on the first day of the Republican National Convention.

Audio and video of that Saturday night call was “leaked” by Kennedy’s own son, prompting the anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist to publicly apologize to Trump, as NCRM reported last week.

In that video, Donald Trump could be heard telling Kennedy, “I would love you to do stuff and I think it’d be so good for your and so big for you. And we’re gonna win. We’re way ahead of the guy.” It was not clear in what context Trump meant “do stuff,” although he could have possibly meant endorse Trump, or hand Kennedy a post in his administration.

READ MORE: Where Kamala Harris Stands on Securing Dem Endorsements and Cash After Biden Announcement

The two candidates’ discussions on Monday, “included possible jobs that Kennedy could be given in a second Trump administration, either at the Cabinet level or posts that do not require Senate confirmation. The discussion also included the prospect of Kennedy leaving the race and endorsing Trump, the people said,” The Post reported.

“The discussions surprised Trump and his aides. But there were concerns among some Trump advisers that Kennedy — a fervent critic of vaccines — would not be appropriate in such a job and that such an agreement could be problematic, the people said. Two of these people did not rule out the campaign eventually wanting Kennedy in the fold or potentially giving him a job in the administration if Trump wins.”

They also “did not result in an agreement amid concerns in Trump’s orbit about the complications of promising a job in exchange for a political endorsement, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.”

“Whoa,” remarked Democratic strategist Lis Smith, responding to The Post’s reporting. Kennedy “offered to endorse Trump in exchange for a job…the Trump people declined b/c RFK Jr was pushing too explicitly for a quid pro quo.”

Kennedy, who is an environmental law attorney, has focused on his anti-vaxx activism in recent years. The Post reports the discussion between Kennedy and Trump included him possibly “overseeing a portfolio of health and medical issues.”

“All I will say to you is I am willing to talk to anybody from either political party who wants to talk about children’s health and how to end the chronic disease epidemic,” Kennedy also told The Post in an interview. “I have a lot of respect for President Trump for reaching out to me. Nobody from the DNC, high or low, has ever reached out to me in 18 months. Instead they have allocated millions to try to disrupt my campaign.”

READ MORE: Anti-Harris Propaganda Begins, Expert Cites Kellyanne Conway as Example

 

 

Continue Reading

News

Where Kamala Harris Stands on Securing Dem Endorsements and Cash After Biden Announcement

Published

on

Vice President Kamala Harris, now the Democratic Party’s leading presidential candidate, said Sunday she will work to “earn and win” the nomination after President Joe Biden’s historic decision to pull out of his re-election race. In under twenty-four hours she has managed to secure the almost unanimous endorsement of House and Senate Democrats, Democratic governors, and a cash haul reportedly of over $75 million.

In the weeks after Biden’s damaging debate performance, critics demanded he prove he had the mental and physical capacity at 81 to continue the race and win the election. But even after numerous speeches and interviews, the goalposts changed, and critics pointed to his poll numbers. On Sunday afternoon in a letter he announced he would not continue his campaign. Shortly thereafter, he endorsed Vice President Harris.

Some Democrats had pushed for an open convention, with many rank and file members engaging in a kind of “fantasy football,” matchups promoting their favorite candidates for the top of the ticket and their running mates.

Fox News late Monday morning reported, “Democrats thrown into chaos as they face tight deadline to replace Biden,” but there has been little chaos.

READ MORE: Anti-Harris Propaganda Begins, Expert Cites Kellyanne Conway as Example

All of the major potential candidates who might have opposed Harris have now declared they would not run against her, making her path to the nomination, while not certain, extremely likely. Delegates will still have to choose.

Most of those major top-of-the-ticket potential candidates who have now endorsed Harris are believed to be under consideration to be her vice presidential running mate (links to endorsements): Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, U.S. Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Governor Wes Moore of Maryland, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Late Monday morning Gov. Whitmer declined to be considered for the vice presidential slot, according to Crain’s Detroit reporter David Eggert.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, considered one of the top potential contenders for the nomination but not a potential running mate, quickly announced he would not oppose Harris and endorsed her: “Tough. Fearless. Tenacious. With our democracy at stake and our future on the line, no one is better to prosecute the case against Donald Trump’s dark vision and guide our country in a healthier direction than America’s Vice President.”

Harris also earned the endorsement of Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois, also considered one of the top candidates who might want the nomination.

READ MORE: ‘Wake Up People’: Trump ‘Elevating Criminals’ as MAGA Wants to ‘Wreck America’ Says Expert

Colorado Governor Jared Polis appeared to endorse Harris in a self-deprecating social media post.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (I-WV), 76, endorsed Harris on Monday, after reports suggested he had called former acting DNC chair Donna Brazile to learn the process for entering the nomination race. ABC News reported Brazile told Manchin, “I had to remind him that to put his name in nomination he has to sign a form that he’s a Democrat.”

Writer and former Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Charlotte Clymer has been tracking the Harris endorsements since Sunday. Late Monday morning she writes they include: President Joe Biden, Former Secretary of State and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, and former U.S. Secretary of State and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, along with current Cabinet Secretaries Pete Buttigieg, Miguel Cardona, Jennifer Granholm, and Gina Raimondo.

And, “at least 33 of 47 Democratic senators,” “at least 159 of 212 House Democratic members,” “at least 18 of the 26 Democratic state and territorial governors,” “all 57 state and territory party chairs,” “all DNC delegates for Louisiana, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and South Carolina,” “SEIU, American Federation of Teachers, and too many other organizations to list here.”

“I don’t think folks appreciate what we’re seeing from the Ds right now,” observes political scientist and strategist Rachel Bitcofer. “Newsom, Whitmer, Shapiro- every top tier Democrat- has put personal ambitions aside to come out and help the party coalesce around Kamala Harris.”

Political commentator Bob Cesca adds, “And they’re putting their ambitions aside for what could end up being 8 more years.”

CNN’s Haley Talbot, known for her spreadsheets, early Monday afternoon reports former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama have yet to endorse Harris. She adds the “holdout” list includes seven Democratic and one independent U.S. Senators, just 18 Democratic U.S. Representatives, and four Democratic governors.

But key among the Democratic holdouts are Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Political commentator and writer Keith Boykin at 10:05 AM Monday, citing data from ActBlue says, “Democrats have now raised $75 million since Vice President Kamala Harris announced her campaign for president yesterday.” Clymer commented, “Vice President Kamala Harris may very well raise $100M in a 24-hour period. Flat-out bonkers sum.”

ActBlue declared Sunday, “the biggest fundraising day of the 2024 cycle.”

See the social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

 

Continue Reading

News

Anti-Harris Propaganda Begins, Expert Cites Kellyanne Conway as Example

Published

on

The attacks against Vice President Kamala Harris, now the leading candidate to become the Democratic Party’s 2024 presidential nominee after President Joe Biden’s historic decision to exit his race for re-election, have begun, as one expert on authoritarianism and fascism points to former top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway’s remarks Sunday as an example of the racism and propaganda voters can expect to see.

“Pay attention to propaganda narratives that will consolidate in next days. Propagandists know you should build on existing prejudices when introducing a new hate object or theme,” writes Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history and scholar on fascism and authoritarian leaders.

“Here Conway invokes racist stereotypes already familiar to many in MAGA,” she adds, pointing to remarks Conway made (video below) just hours after President Biden’s announcement Sunday afternoon.

READ MORE: ‘Wake Up People’: Trump ‘Elevating Criminals’ as MAGA Wants to ‘Wreck America’ Says Expert

“She had disastrous staff turnover as vice president,” Conway told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “I check it on the daily. Her public schedule, gentlemen, rarely has anything on it or one or two things on it. She does not speak well. She does not work hard, and she should not be the standard bearer for the party.”

Conway was the first woman campaign manager to land a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, in the White House, and later served as Senior Counselor to the President. Her record includes coining the terms “alternative facts,” and the nonexistent “Bowling Green massacre.” Statista looked at presidential turnover from President Ronald Reagan to Trump and found Trump’s record is higher than any president in modern history, including at the cabinet level.

“Kellyanne Conway is parroting the racist stereotypes,” responded Adam Cohen, Vice Chair, Lawyers for Good Government, “[that] Black people are stupid and lazy.”

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

“Of course, she will vociferously deny it,” he added. “But too late-we already know exactly who Conway is.”

“After all, she spent years promoting Trump.”

Ben-Ghiat on Sunday night also responded to a New York Times headline, “Some Black Voters Say They Wonder if a Black Woman Can Win.” She warned: “It’s starting.”

George Conway (Kellyanne’s ex-husband) last week created an anti-Trump political action committee, the Anti-Psychopath PAC. He commented on her Fox News remarks late Sunday night: “Not everyone can express themselves as eloquently and with such exquisite turns of phrase as Donald J. Trump.”

Watch Conway’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.