House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said that he fears “America may be beyond redemption” because “1 in 4 high school students identifies as something other than straight.”
“Let’s face it, we live in a depraved culture. I didn’t want to believe it at first, but I fear God may allow our nation to enter into a time of judgment for our collective sins,” Johnson wrote in a fundraising email for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives.
According to the NRCC website, the organization “supports the election of Republicans to the House through direct financial contributions to candidates and Republican Party organizations; technical and research assistance to Republican candidates and Party organizations; voter registration, education and turnout programs; and other Party-building activities.”
That means the money Johnson raises through the email will go both to protect vulnerable GOP incumbents and to try to pick up Democratic-held seats.
Johnson has a long history of anti-LGBTQ+ statements and activism.
As an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, Johnson wrote in an op-ed published in 2004 in the Shreveport Times: “Homosexual relationships are inherently unnatural and, the studies clearly show, are ultimately harmful and costly for everyone. Society cannot give its stamp of approval to such a dangerous lifestyle.” He claimed that failure to maintain opposite-sex marriage as “the exclusive form of family relationship endorsed by the government … will de-emphasize the importance of traditional marriage to society, weaken it, and place our entire democratic system in jeopardy by eroding its foundation.”
In an op-ed in the same paper the previous year, Johnson supported criminalizing same-sex sexual acts.
What’s more, he opposed banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender, writing in a 2005 op-ed, “This is a free country, but we don’t give special protections for every person’s bizarre choices.”
Before he was elected to Congress, Johnson worked as a lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ+ organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group. The ADF is against same-sex marriage, wants to criminalize same-sex relations, and is behind a spate of anti-transgender bills that have been introduced in state legislatures across the country.
As a lawyer for the ADF, Johnson worked with a group called Exodus, which provided so-called conversion therapy, scientifically discredited programs that their practitioners claim can make LGBTQ+ people straight, according to CNN.
The ADF and Exodus co-sponsored an event in 2008 called the Day of Truth to counterprogram the Day of Silence, for which LGBTQ+ people and their allies “take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ+ people in schools,” according to the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, the event’s organizer. The Day of Truth was designed to support students who publicly oppose LGBTQ+ rights.
According to CNN, Johnson said of the event: “I mean, our race, the size of our feet, the color of our eyes, these are things we’re born with and we cannot change. What these adult advocacy groups like the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network are promoting is a type of behavior. Homosexual behavior is something you do, it’s not something that you are.”
In the fundraising email sent on Sunday, Johnson said: “I’ve been thinking about the state of our country, and I cannot conclude anything other than America is hanging on by a thread. … America needs to recognize that we have much to repent for if we want to avoid the judgment we so clearly deserve, but that starts with returning America to God’s good graces once again. Will you do me a favor and answer this one question for me, Patriot? Does American need more God?”