A deep dive analysis of new House speaker Mike Johnson’s comments on talk radio reveal the Louisiana Republican’s deeply conservative views are far outside the mainstream.
CNN reviewed more than 100 of Johnson’s interviews, speeches and public commentary covering a period of more than a decade and found that he backed prison for abortion providers, the elimination of hate crime laws, criminalizing gay sex and imposing “biblical morality” in public life.
“Speaker Johnson embraces a view that is not only outside of the mainstream but is so radical in terms of his endorsement of the Thomas position, that even the extremely conservative Supreme Court majority isn’t willing to go there,” said Norm Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and a CNN legal analyst.
“It would take the country back more than a half-century.”
Johnson fought numerous legal battles to promote religion in the public square for the Alliance Defense Fund and restore the values he says were washed away by the 1969s counterculture, and he has recently described American culture as “dark and depraved” and deserving of God’s wrathful judgment, according to reports.
“One of the primary purposes of the law in civil government is to restrain evil,” Johnson said on a radio show in 2010. “We have to acknowledge collectively that man is inherently evil and needs to be restrained.”
A year earlier, when discussing an anti-discrimination case involving a wedding photography company in New Mexico, Johnson argued that such laws should not recognize “behavior” like homosexuality.
“There are laws on the books that prohibit discrimination against people for their immutable characteristics, their race and creed and that kind of thing,” Johnson said in a 2009 radio interview. “There’s a difference — and the law has recognized a difference — between that and homosexual behavior. As something that you do, not an immutable characteristic of what you are.”
Johnson speaks often of homosexuality, which he called “inherently unnatural” and a “dangerous lifestyle.” He has supported an Arkansas law against same-sex couples adopting children, and criticized the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas — which struck down a ban on gay sex in that state
“It recognized a fundamental right, a constitutional right to, to sodomy, which had never been recognized before,” Johnson said at a forum in 2005.