The more we learn about Mike Johnson, the scarier it becomes
We are learning more about new House Speaker Mike Johnson, and it’s more than a little scary. Johnson, a hard-right Republican from North Louisiana, has signed onto a nation-destroying plan to throw Constitution out the window, and start from scratch. He is also an evangelical christian who apparently wishes the USA were ruled by some sort of Christian Sharia law.
Separation of church & state a ‘misnomer’?
Most recently, Johnson remarked that separation of church and state, the fountainhead of American religious liberty, a “misnomer” (1). Johnson has been active against abortion, same-sex marriage, and rights for LGBTQ people (2, 3).
Johnson: US not a democracy
In 2016, he said, “We don’t live in a democracy” but a “biblical” republic. Johnson is a biblical literalist, which leads him to reject science. Johnson is a“young earth creationist,” which postulates that the earth is only a few thousand years old, based on a literal reading of Genesis. Oh, and humans walked alongside dinosaurs. (3)
Even worse, Johnson believes that subjective interpretation of the Bible provides the master plan for governance (3). For Johnson, Constitutional politics withers and is replaced with a battle of the faithful against the infidels.
Bestiality & incest
His wife Kelly owned a christian counseling practice, which reportedly compared homosexuality to bestiality and incest. In a sermon he preached in 2016, Johnson declared, “We’re living in a completely amoral society.” And during a podcast last year, he said that “sinister” elites were responsible for orchestrating climate change as an issue to achieve global “control.” (4)
Dedicated to preserving a Christian nation
Together, the couple ran church seminars entitled, “Answers for Our Times: Government, Culture, and Christianity.” These asked burning questions, such as, “Can our heritage as a Christian nation be preserved?” (4)
Johnson reportedly flies a flag outside his office symbolizing a vision in which Christians control all aspects of American life — education, arts and entertainment, the media, and businesses (5). The Appeal to Heaven flag is white with an evergreen tree in the middle and the phrase “An Appeal to Heaven” across the top.
‘Convention of States’ movement
A recent article in Politico outlines Johnson’s connection to the Convention of States movement (6). Over the last decade, the COSA movement has sought to remake the Constitution and force a tea party vision of the framers’ intent upon America.
COSA was created by the right-wing Citizens for Self Governance, headed by former Parler CEO and tea party founder Mark Meckler (7).
“The Convention of States Project propose to amend the U.S. Constitution using Article V, through the meeting of the states rather than Congress,” reads the CSG’s website. “The organization hopes to pass amendments in order to limit the power and scope of the federal government.” (8)
How to amend the Constitution
Two methods exist for amending the US Constitution. To date, only the first method has been used — two-thirds approval in both houses of Congress, then ratification by three-quarters of the states.
However, Article V of the Constitution provides a second path — by calling a full-blown constitutional convention. If two-thirds of the states petition Congress, it must call a constitutional convention, where multiple amendments could be proposed at the same time.
The Constitution does not specify how to select delegates from states to this convention, provides no limit on the scope of such a convention, and offers no guidance on how the convention would ratify these new amendments. (6, 9).
Once the convention developed a method to pass amendments, the slate of amendments they selected would be returned to the states for consideration. In order to become law, three-fourths of states would need to approve the slate of amendments, either through their legislatures or through statewide conventions — at least in theory.
No rules for Article V convention
So there are absolutely no rules for an Article V Convention outlined in the Constitution (9).
That means the group of people convening to rewrite our Constitution could be totally unelected and unaccountable. There is nothing that could limit the convention to a single issue, so the delegates could write amendments that revoke any of our most cherished rights – like our right to peaceful protest, our freedom of religion, or our right to privacy. There are also no rules preventing corporations from pouring money into the convention to ensure they get their way.
In other words, Article V lays the groundwork for a huge free for all. Because the relevant political unit is the “state,” rather than the population, rural (and conservative) states would have the upper hand. Each state would receive only one vote, population notwithstanding.
“In short, an Article V Convention would be a disaster,” warns nonpartisan watchdog group Common Cause (9). “It would lead to long and costly legal battles, uncertainty about how our democracy functions, and likely economic instability.”
Currently, there are four major campaigns for an Article V Convention: the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) campaign, the Convention of States (COS) campaign, the Wolf-PAC campaign, and the term limits campaign.
Each has different goals, but together, they have convinced 28 states to call for a convention. That means they have just six states to go. (9)
The Article V convention would be a gold ticket to rewrite wide swaths of the US Constitution in one fell swoop. In the process, some COS proponents hope to do away with regulatory agencies like the FDA and the CDC, virtually eliminate the federal government’s ability to borrow money, and empower state legislatures to override federal law.
“The worst case scenario is that [an Article V convention] puts all of our cherished constitutional rights and civil rights completely up for grabs,” Stephen Spaulding, vice president of Common Cause, testified at Johnson’s subcommittee hearing (9).