Last weekend, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson had to send an email to his supporters to ask, six times, “Does America need more God?”

That pressing question arrived in inboxes just days before Johnson not-so-humbly accepted the American Patriot Award for Christian Honor and Courage at a gala for the National Association of Christian Lawmakers (NACL). A fellow attendee and award-recipient, Andrew Wommack, once complained the gay community received too much sympathy after the Club Q mass shooting.

During his keynote speech, the Speaker said, “I’ll tell you a secret, since [the] media is not here…Thank you for not allowing the media in.” The media was, in fact, there and consequently privy to Johnson’s “spooky” revelation: that “the Lord told [him] very clearly” he was to be “a new Moses” and lead the nation through a “Red Sea moment.”

Lest you think Johnson was just waxing poetic, he doubled-down: “God began to wake [me] up in the middle of the night ‘to speak to me, [telling me] to write things down; plans, procedures, and ideas on how we could pull the [Republican] conference together.’”

NACL promptly scrubbed the clip from its Facebook, but not before the Internet got hold of it. In an interview with Newsweek, the group’s founder, Jason Rapert (the thin-skinned Christian Nationalist we sued and won a $16,000 settlement from for his habit of blocking his atheist constituents), claimed they’re “not far right… We’re in the center of God’s word, where this country has been for most of our history.” Of course, Rapert cannot be mistaken for anything but far right.

The former state legislator from Arkansas and Bible-carrying member of Gideons International calls marriage equality “a stench in the nostrils of God”; opposes medical marijuana; supports a total abortion ban even in cases of rape, incest, and medical necessity; and advocated for the installation of the Ten Commandments Monument at the Arkansas State Capitol.

As fringe as Rapert’s spiritual and sociopolitical views are, his leadership of NACL, which he has called “ALEC from a biblical worldview,” is nothing to belittle. Rolling Stone called it a “burgeoning political powerhouse.” In just over three years, the organization has managed to play a major role in the overturning of Roe v. Wade after an NACL member passed one of its model bills, the “bounty-hunter” abortion ban, in Texas. That bill has since been replicated in more than a dozen states.

 Today, NACL has legislative members in 31 states. In order to join, policymakers must sign a pledge affirming their belief that, among other things: “atheists and anti-Christian groups have recently been more strategic in pursing [sic] their godless worldview through the courts and legislation than Christians. These groups are becoming more aggressive and are trampling on the Christian liberty we have enjoyed in this country for centuries. They must be oppposed [sic].”

Earthly opposition being insufficient, NACL members also endorse “the everlasting conscious punishment of [non-Christians].”

That is the group Mike “Moses” Johnson was addressing on Tuesday, and it’s far from the first time he’s aligned himself with dominionists and other religious extremists who seek to dismantle the separation of church and state by any means necessary. Johnson has called Pastor Jim Garlow, a New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) apostle and Seven Mountains Mandate acolyte, a “profound influence [on] my life.” In turn, Pastor Garlow rejoiced in Johnson’s ascension to the speakership “and is 2nd in line for the Presidency. Praise God!!!!”

All of them — Johnson, Garlow, Rapert, et al. — seem to truly and literally believe they are on a mission from God to save the United States, a Judeo-Christian nation in the midst of an apocalyptic “battle between worldviews,” for which the only solution is for certain Christians to “take authority.”

Their worldview reads like a movie plot, and they’ve cast themselves as the lead. These are not normal beliefs of sane people. They are dangerous, doomsday delusions that threaten the very foundation of our secular democracy.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who died late last week, once wrote: “Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?”

But NACL and NAR are not merely renegotiating the separation of church and state; they’re reneging it entirely. They won’t be content with anything less than one theocracy, under their God, indivisible, with no religious liberty at all.

So, to answer the Speaker’s question: America does not need more God. It needs more lawmakers who listen to their constituents — a growing number of whom are not religious — over the disembodied voices that visit them at night.

If you agree, please contribute $15, $35, or $75 today so American Atheists can continue pursuing our “godless worldview” through the courts and legislation.

In solidarity,

Nick Fish

American Atheists is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, nonprofit educational organization that relies on the support of members like you. Contributions are tax-deductible. Our Federal Tax ID Number is 74-2466507 and our Combined Federal Campaign number is 52217.

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