Do you want a creationist for Speaker of the House?

After chewing up 3 nominees in the last few weeks, the Republicans have thrown up a fourth ugly slug: Mike Johnson, a far right goober from Louisiana. Nothing good comes out of Louisiana politics, but I also know something else about him. He’s a creationist. He writes for Answers in Genesis. Several years ago, he wrote a hilarious letter to the Lexington Herald-Leader, complaining about Dan Phelps, friend of the blog.

It’s always ironic when a self-professed man of science allows his emotions and ideology to cloud his reason. But that’s exactly what Daniel Phelps has done in his most recent rant against the Ark Encounter theme park.

You know what’s really ironic? When a theocrat and openly anti-science loon tells a professional scientist that his mind is clouded by emotions and ideology.

Phelps’ Aug. 17 column made a number of unfounded allegations against the Ark Encounter, its investors, and even supportive state officials. Phelps’ diatribe reveals quite clearly his own political agenda and his utter contempt for religion and people of faith.

That’s not Phelps’ political agenda at all. On the other hand, you can see Johnson’s agenda on display in his organization’s Model Bylaws for Christian Churches. He’s a Christian Nationalist. I think it’s safe to say he has utter contempt for secularism.

Unlike Ark Encounter proponents, Phelps shows no tolerance for points of view different than his own, and rabid hostility towards those who disagree.

Oh yeah? Doesn’t the Ark Encounter require a “Statement of Faith” as well as a “Salvation Testimony” and a “Creation Statement Belief?” They sure do. Who has a rabid hostility to different points of view?

He is willing to sacrifice hundreds of millions of dollars in new economic development and thousands of jobs for Kentucky. If his proposition were followed, the commonwealth would be legally liable for blatantly unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. Phelps’ preference — that religious groups should be denied equal access to tax incentive programs and also forced to hire people who openly disagree with their main beliefs — is not only unfair, it is clearly unlawful.

Hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs? I didn’t know conservative Christians could indulge in mind-altering substance, because no, the numbers show that Ken Ham and AiG lied about the potential economic benefits, and their promises remain unfulfilled.

His discriminatory ideas have been repeatedly invalidated by the Supreme Court, lower courts and federal and state statutes. Phelps may be a trained geologist, but a constitutional law expert he is not.

Mike Johnson claims to be a constitutional law expert, so that burn doesn’t even sting.

Johnson might end up getting the votes he needs. He’s anti-abortion, anti-LGBT, anti-Ukraine, and a good buddy of Donald Trump. The people who will vote for him probably think the creationism is a bonus.

I would hope no Democrats to vote for this creepy authoritarian, but the media, as usual, think that supporting a repulsive idiot is the answer. I approve of Roy Edroso’s response to that bullshit.

The Republicans finally got their act together enough to elect this asshole.


  1. Matt G says

    How are they able to function in polite society when they engage in that much hypocrisy and openly and proudly display such a profound lack of self-awareness? Wait, I answered my own question.

  2. raven says

    The House Speaker candidates are getting worse, not better.

    Instead of corrupt, far right wingnut extremists, you now have Mike Johnson.

    Johnson is a corrupt, far rightwingnut extremist and a xian nationalist who hates the USA and democracy.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    PZ, PZ, PZ… haven’t you been paying attention to the very serious people on the polite, socially acceptable left have been opining? Creationism and the so-called “threat” of Christian nationalism is a red herring! It’s all a scam invented by the 1% to trick the poor, benighted workers into giving them tax cuts! It’s a “cultural war distraction” and “identpol.” They don’t REALLY want to create a despotic anti-science regime that replaces reason with superstition, just like they really didn’t want to ban abortion… I mean, ban books… damn it… I mean… ban drag performances…

    Anyway, repeat after me: “Material conditions. Material conditions…”

    Besides, religion and magical thinking is hip and cool on the left now! Can’t scare off the proles with all that crazy “religion is the opiate of the masses” stuff.

  4. whywhywhy says

    If the Dems could get certain assurances regarding the budget and funding bills, could they trust Johnson (or any other Republican) to deliver on the promises?

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 4

    Oh hell no! The current Republican plan is to entirely neuter the federal government so it can’t interfere with the fascist shit that the Red States are trying to pull.

  6. says

    @4: No. Any Republican who wants to be Speaker would consider Democratic support a taint, not a benefit; and he’d have to either run away from the Democrats and refuse to accept their support, or do everything he could to trash and shaft the Democrats at every turn, both before and after being formally elected Speaker.

  7. says

    OMG, Mike Johnson is even worse than I thought. I had him pegged as anti-LGBTQ, but didn’t know about his Christian Nationalist stance.

    And, of course he loves that great big orange bag of sin, Donald Trump.

  8. Doc Bill says

    @6 Akira

    “so it can’t interfere with the fascist shit that the Red States are trying to pull.”

    Ain’t that the truth! Case in point, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee (the grifter doesn’t fall far from the con man) getting the legislature to pass a law shielding “travel expenses” from public scrutiny on the grounds of “security.” In fact, Governor Grifter spent $20, 000 on travel and partying in Paris and charged it to the State, then covered up the payment. Google “lectern scam Arkansas” The grift is documented, now, and the Huckster in Chief is running scared. But, the good old boys will cover it up and harass the journalists as per standard operations.

  9. says

    In the grocery store today I saw a huge container labeled ‘cheese balls’. My first thought was: Describes Congress! These Rtwingnut and Xtian terrorist repugnantcants are clowns, But, they are CLOWNS WITH FLAME THROWERS.

  10. christoph says

    @shermanj, #11: I’d pay money to see all the Republicans in Congress pile out of one of those little tiny clown cars.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    He got elected…and the openly gay congresswoman Angie Craig taunted him right away.
    He seems elevated beyond his competence. I look forward to hilarious gaffes and screwups.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    I am reminded of a German newspaper headline from when Trump got elected: ” BITTE NICHT DER HORROR-CLOWN!”

  13. says

    @16, “He seems elevated beyond his competence.”

    So, the Peter Principle in action, then? I wonder what sort of deals he had to make with the FreeDumb caucus to get their votes.

  14. crimsonsage says

    They knew we were all getting a kick out of them tripping over their own dicks, so they had to ruin it by getting their shit togeather; always gotta ruin a good time.

    On a side note it is of some comfort to me that they seem to be making idealistic loons their actual leaders. Like I fully expect they will cause maximal misery and pain on our way down, but there is no chance of real ultimate success with them being this divorced from reality. I just worry there won’t be a social force that wins.

  15. says

    Perhaps less “beyond his competence” and more “in accord with his ability to be bought”. RawStory:

    Johnson, who won the speakership Wednesday with 220 votes from the entire GOP caucus three weeks after the ouster of former Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), reported no assets on his latest annual report filed on Aug. 11. He also reported no assets on his 2021 report as well.

    Johnson reported three liabilities with Citizens National Bank on his most recent financial disclosure, which covers calendar year 2022: a mortgage valued at between $250,001 and $500,000; a personal loan between $15,001 and $50,000; and a home equity line of credit between $15,001 and $50,000.

  16. Akira MacKenzie says

    Watch, the Bible-fucker Answers in Genesis has for a webmaster is manically updating Johnson’s bio to crow about his title.

  17. says

    We may not want him but we got him anyways.

    And I fear that we are now assured of a government shut-down come the November deadline.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    Let the disease run its course*. There will probably be a government shutdown.
    And the Democrats should not help them. Let them own their incompetence.

    In the short run, there will be a huge cost to society.
    In the long run, many voters that are currently sitting on the fence will see them for what they are. And that will to a big extent defang them and limit their power to cause future harm.

    *Quoth the wife in Family Guy; “just let it run its course, like the time he thought he was a dominant male cat”
    (shows Peter meaowing and getting in a fight with an alley cat).

  19. Akira MacKenzie says

    Let them own their incompetence.

    You’re bold to assume that the American people will hold them accountable for said incompetence. must less understand what the world “incompetence” means. The Democrats will take the blame, the corporate media will see to that narrative. “Biden and the Democrats could have gotten a budget deal if they just would capitulate with the GOP.”

  20. says

    Unfortunately, “letting the disease run its course” would mean, among other things, Republicans at all levels doing whatever they can to undermine voting rights and democratic institutions so all those people who see them for what they are won’t have any rights or power to vote them out.

  21. larpar says

    “Do you want a creationist for Speaker of the House?” Because that’s how you get a creationist for Speaker of the House.

  22. nomdeplume says

    None of the commentary I’ve seen since this a-hole got elected mention his religion/creationism (which in most civilised countries would be enoughh to disqualify him) but do list all his other revolting policies and ideas.

    Whatever happened to America I ask rhetorically.

  23. stuffin says

    Read all the quotes from M. Johnson that PZ posted, they were all bluster with no facts. A solid Republican no doubt.

  24. gijoel says

    The politicians in the “Stop Leopards eating people’s faces” party should help the “Leopards eating people’s faces ” party and end this political chaos.

  25. birgerjohansson says

    I look forward to him making embarrassing mistakes that keep reminding voters what a dumpster fire this is.

  26. birgerjohansson says

    …consider Liz Truss and the other morons in Tory Britain
    When your adversaries have no A Team of actual smart people from which to recruit -all such having been purged-
    the result is a chain of scandals and fuckups that just goes on until the election.

  27. billseymour says

    birgerjohansson @36:  the problem is that there’s still a bit over a whole year until the next general election, and a minimum of another couple of months before anything actually changes.  That’s about five quarters for Akira MacKenzie’s dystopia @28 to play out.

  28. StevoR says

    New Speaker? Wonder how long this one will last? From what I’ve heard of him here hopefully not long.. But then who?

  29. StevoR says

    @ Dennis K : “Has there ever not been a creationist as Speaker of the House?”

    Pretty sure most of the Democratic party speakers haven’t been eg Pelosi..

  30. John Morales says

    StevoR @39, whence your tentative surety?

    Nancy Pelosi addressed a gathering of presidents of Christian colleges this week in Washington, where she thanked the evangelical community for its leadership on immigration and refugee policy reform. To this end, the speaker of the House quoted a favorite bit of biblical wisdom in her opening statement: “To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.”

    OK, actually, she said, it might not technically be from the Bible. “I can’t find it in the Bible, but I quote it all the time,” Pelosi said as she introduced the quote. “I keep reading and reading the Bible—I know it’s there someplace. It’s supposed to be in Isaiah. I heard a bishop say, ‘To minister to the needs of God’s creation … ’ ”


  31. HidariMak says

    Three of Trump’s top lawyers in his attempt to overturn the election, plus Trump’s former chief of staff who helped organize the effort, have all turned state witness for the prosecution. The newest speaker of the house may very well find himself indicted, considering his part in the effort. Campaign ads will be airing during a steady stream of news on the latest jury decisions, witness statements, appeals, and Trump’s fire sale of some of his properties. Such is the corner which the MAGA acolytes and Republican cowards have eagerly painted themselves into.

  32. birgerjohansson says

    New mass shooting just hours after the new guy becomes the chairman.
    I guess he is a “gun rights” fundamentalist along with everything else. We can look forward to “thoughts and prayers”.
    He should definitely be grilled over why gun owner’s rights are considered more important than other people’s right to be alive.

    -Since the Repubs blame mental health problems for the mass shootings he should also be confronted with the refusal of Republican politicians across the country to invest more public money into mental health care.

  33. John Morales says

    “New mass shooting just hours after the new guy becomes the chairman.
    I guess he is a “gun rights” fundamentalist along with everything else.”

    So weak, that is.


  34. StevoR says

    @41. John Morales : REgarding pelosi, she is a (liberal -in USA sense) Catholic but one who has gone against her religious leaders doctrines on LGBTQIUA issues (her wikipage : ) and she’s also said things like this :

    Which, okay, not without issues (“science = answers to our prayers, umm, well..) but still broadly pro-science. Also never herad of anything about her supporting or believing in literal creationism as oppposed to metaphorical Catholic gunk.

    As for others, well, there’s a list of Speakers here :

    with the wiki-basics. Creationism, in my view is actually a pretty recent thing and enforcing it on schools and teaching literalism as a culture war issue, a modern regressive thing. I’d therefore rule out even most of the old school(ed) Christians who held the position earlier since I don’t think their beliefs really match that and nor do most (almost all with a few possible Repug exceptions) modern Democratic ones.

  35. John Morales says

    Also never herad of anything about her supporting or believing in literal creationism as oppposed to metaphorical Catholic gunk.

    Um, I quoted her: “To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.”

    How much more literal could she possibly be?

    As for others, well, there’s a list of Speakers here :

    Um, you were pretty sure about Pelosi.

    But fine, I now know whence your pretty certitude. Basically, your interpretation of what constitutes being a creationist — apparently, quoting things about being created by God and tending to God’s creation doesn’t qualify in your estimation.

    Creationism, in my view is actually a pretty recent thing

    If you call the days of Charles Darwin recent, and the centuries before that recent, then I suppose so. In your view, of course.

  36. StevoR says

    ^ FWIW : ‘Pablum’ or ‘pap’ woud probly be a better word than ‘gunk” regarding Pelosi’s religious beliefs. So I guess that kinda makes her a different sort of pap-ist? ;-)

    I don’t think Pelosi’s particularly brilliant here when it comes to religion vs science but I definitely don’t get the impression Pelosi is a creationist or religious zealot or anything like that. I could be wrong but I’ve seen nothing to indicate otherwise.

    I guess it also depends on what sort of “Creationism” we are talking about here :

    The term creationism most often refers to belief in special creation; the claim that the universe and lifeforms were created as they exist today by divine action, and that the only true explanations are those which are compatible with a Christian fundamentalist literal interpretation of the creation myth found in the Bible’s Genesis creation narrative.[7] Since the 1970s, the most common form of this has been Young Earth creationism which posits special creation of the universe and lifeforms within the last 10,000 years on the basis of flood geology, and promotes pseudoscientific creation science. From the 18th century onward, Old Earth creationism accepted geological time harmonized with Genesis through gap or day-age theory, while supporting anti-evolution. Modern old-Earth creationists support progressive creationism and continue to reject evolutionary explanations.[8] Following political controversy, creation science was reformulated as intelligent design and neo-creationism.

    Source :

    Bold added for emphasis and the sense of “Creationist” that I am thinking of here.

    I guess you could technically argue that Pelosi and most even all of the previous Speakers are “creationists” in some general sense – but I was thinking more the modern Politico- Religious Regressive YEC (Yeck by name and nature!) variety.

    FWIW. Frederick Muhlenberg was both the First (3rd?) Speaker & a Lujtheran Pastor and yet also was the first signer of the Bill of Rights which o’course stressed religious freedom of worship and expression for all.

    .- Jonathan Dayton the 4th & 5th Speaker “was arrested in 1807 for alleged treason in connection with Aaron Burr’s conspiracy to establish an independent country in the Southwestern United States and parts of Mexico. “ (wikipage) So precedent to be potentially followed there. (Cough Moscow Mitch cough!)

    . Newt Gingrich of course was Speaker (#104-5) yet contrasting with Muhlenberg –

    “.. stated that he believes that Americans of Muslim backgrounds who believe in Sharia law should be deported, and that visiting websites that promote the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or Al-Qaeda should be a felony.[247] Some observers have questioned whether these views violate the free speech and free exercise of religion clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    Source :

    So, yeah, the USA has definitely gone backwards in quality of Speakers there.

    As for the current new incumbent, well, articles like this :

    are the opposite of encouraging. I hope Mike Johnson’s time in the job is a short as possible and does as little harm as possible coz what an absolute douchebag he appears to be!

  37. StevoR says

    @46. John Morales :

    Um, I quoted her (Pelosi – ed:) “To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.”

    How much more literal could she possibly be?

    Er, very? I took that as metaphorical and a call to environmentalism.

    Pelosi didn’t say anything about “creationism” there she merely used the word “creation” to refer to the world (even Cosmos) that we live in & urge people to look after it. I don’t see any “creationism”” let alone YEC-ism there just a commion XN word useage when speaking to people of that faith and it reminds me of Katherine Heyhoe – see :

    (Semi -paywalled.)

    In 2005, Katharine Hayhoe, a Canadian climate scientist and evangelical Christian, moved from South Bend, Indiana, to Lubbock, Texas, a flat expanse of arid grassland that sits at the edge of the Permian Basin, and is one of the largest oil and gas fields in the world. Her husband had been offered a position as a linguistics professor at Texas Tech and a job as a pastor at a small local church. The opportunity was too enticing to decline, so Hayhoe tagged along as the academic plus-one, securing a position as a research professor of geosciences at Texas Tech. One day, a colleague asked Hayhoe to give a guest lecture in his geology class on the carbon cycle—the way carbon travels between water, Earth, and the atmosphere. Soon after, she stood in the dark pit of a windowless lecture hall, before some hundred students, and described how volcanoes, erosion, and the shifting of tectonic plates affect carbon. In the last few minutes, Hayhoe addressed the fact that, since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Out of the darkness, a student rose to his feet. “Are you a Democrat?” he asked, in a belligerent tone. The question flummoxed her. “No, I’m Canadian,” she replied. There were no more questions, so she packed up her computer and left. It wasn’t until later that she realized the mere mention of human influence on the planet’s warming temperatures was becoming politically divisive.


    Since then, Hayhoe has given hundreds of talks as a “climate communicator,” speaking to politically diverse audiences about climate change. She records the questions she is asked afterward, using an app, and the two most frequent are: “What gives you hope?” and “How do I talk to my [blank] about climate change?” In her new book, “Saving Us,” which comes out in September, Hayhoe sets out to answer these questions. Chapter by chapter, she lays out effective strategies for communicating about the urgency of climate change across America’s political divide. She still believes that there will be an awakening to the urgency of the problem—what she calls our collective “oh, shit” moment.

    ..(snip).. On her desk sat a stack of unopened mail. The angry notes she gets are astonishing: she’s been called a “handmaiden of the beast” and received veiled threats about being shot at or beheaded. She sifted through the pile and offered me several letters to open at random. “Watch out for the big manila ones,” she said. “They are usually the craziest.” That day, she had received an invitation to become a Jehovah’s Witness and an angry screed against climate hoaxers, which read, in red ink, “Punishment of Climate Change Heretics!!”

    Climate change hasn’t always been so divisive. In the late nineties, a Gallup poll found that forty-six per cent of Democrats and forty-seven per cent of Republicans agreed that the effects of global warming had already begun. “As recently as 2008, former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich, a Republican, and current House speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, cozied up on a love seat in front of the U.S. Capitol to film a commercial about climate change,” Hayhoe writes in her book. In the past decade, though, as the scope of the crisis became clear, Democrats began pressing for policies to cut U.S. reliance on fossil fuels, and Republicans were reluctant to commit. Energy companies stepped into the stalemate and began aggressively lobbying politicians, and injecting doubt into the public discourse, to stop such policies from taking effect. “Industry swung into motion to activate the political system in their favor,” Hayhoe said.

    .. (snip).. Hayhoe is the climate ambassador to the World Evangelical Alliance, and much of her work involves helping fellow-Christians mobilize their churches. There is a long history within evangelicalism of advocating “creation care,” the belief that God charged humanity with caring for the earth. The Evangelical Environmental Network, which Hayhoe advises, argues that evangelicals should follow a “Biblical mandate to care for creation,” and Cal DeWitt, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has long advocated that pastors call their congregations to “earth stewardship.” But Hayhoe believes that emphasizing the care of plants and animals is less effective than highlighting the potential dangers for our fellow human beings. “It’s not about saving the planet—it’s about saving us,” she said.

    I guess most folks here have heard of Heyhoe before but in case not. ^

    Basically, your interpretation of what constitutes being a creationist — apparently, quoting things about being created by God and tending to God’s creation doesn’t qualify in your estimation. -JM

    No, it doesn’t qualifty for me. I think that definition of the word is wa-aaay too broad. See my #47 above.

    If you call the days of Charles Darwin recent, and the centuries before that recent, then I suppose so. In your view, of course. – JM

    Recent is a very relative word. It is also pretty vague. In a very technical sense it apparently means 1950 geology~wise but yeah, nah. Recently as in recent modern history~ish here.. I guess recent can be anything from a few million years in case of craters and planetary surfaces etc a few minutes or hours ago.. anyhow.