When Rep. Mike Johnson was elected Speaker of the House earlier this week, Christian nationalist religious-right activist Rick Green was “literally in tears” because, he said, Johnson “is one of our guys.”
Johnson himself confirmed as much back in 2021 when he spoke at a WallBuilders Pro-Family Legislators conference where he heaped praise on Christian nationalist pseudo-historian David Barton, saying that Barton’s work “has had such a profound influence on me and my work and my life.”
Green and Barton produce a daily “WallBuilders Live” radio program together, and on Thursday, they were downright giddy about Johnson’s elevation to the speakership, declaring that Johnson “sounds like a WallBuilders speaker” and proclaiming that “this is literally the kind of guy that we have been praying for.”
David Barton has built an entire career out of misusing, misrepresenting, and outright falsifying history, the Bible, and current events and doing so to promote his Christian nationalist political agenda. He has been highly influential not only within Republican politics, where he has many fans among current and former GOP legislators, but also internationally. On top of that, Barton’s Christian nationalist pseudo-history is shaping both Christian and secular educational institutions across the country.
Barton, who has repeatedly misrepresented his academic credentials and personal history, had his book on Thomas Jefferson pulled by his own publisher in 2012 after it concluded that “basic truths just were not there.”
Undaunted, Barton has soldiered on, repeatedly declaring that Christians who share his far-right worldview are supposed to be choosing our elected leaders and ruling the world because everything must operate according to biblical principles.
Barton falsely insists that our Constitution and entire system of government are based on the Bible and thus asserts that everything from the minimum wage to the income tax to the teaching of evolution are unconstitutional because they supposedly violate Biblical teachings. Barton also believes that there should be literally no limits on the Second Amendment, meaning that average citizens are entitled to own tanks, fighter jets, and even nuclear weapons.
Predictably, Barton takes a far-right position on issues like abortion—going so far as to proclaim that life actually begins before conception—and on LGBTQ issues, asserting repeatedly that AIDS is God’s punishment for sin and therefore a cure will never be found.
On Thursday, Barton appeared on the “Victory News” program, where he declared that he has “been friends for years” with Johnson, whom he praised for having not only a proper “biblical worldview” but also a corresponding Christian nationalist understanding of the founding and history of the United States.
“This is a God guy, and we thank God for putting a God guy in at this time in our history,” Barton celebrated. “It’s a really good thing.”
David Barton is almost single-handedly responsible for creating the Christian nationalist myths that the far-right uses to justify its push to enact harmful public policies that weaken the separation of church and state, undermine women’s rights, and deny legal equality to LGBTQ Americans.
The fact that Rep. Mike Johnson, who is now Speaker of the House and second in line for the presidency, is an acolyte of Barton and his teachings ought to be alarming to all those who care about core American values like church-state separation and religious pluralism, not to mention teaching the truth about our founding and history