During a discussion on MSNBC, Rev. Al Sharpton — a longtime civil rights activist and host on the network — condemned representations about the Bible made by new House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican. Johnson has made these considerations particularly relevant with the openness with which he’s pursued incorporating his religious beliefs into his political approach.
During the broadcast, the show highlighted semi-recent footage of Johnson in which he complained about the numbers of young people identifying as something other than straight, describing these figures as somehow indicative of the decay of U.S. society. He grouped LGBTQ+ youth identifying themselves as such with outright mental illness.
“I think hypocrisy is the kindest word you could use,” Sharpton said. “It’s also a distortion of what he claims to be his religion. Because what happens to the part in the Bible about love your neighbor? […] They selectively misquote parts of the Bible to distort some very conservative, right-wing, archaic politics.”
Sharpton then discussed how close the federal government recently came — again — to a shutdown and the continuing refusal by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) to go along with the orderly approvals of military nominations. “What is godly or Christian-like about that?” Sharpton asked. “When he talks about church attendance, what church do they go to that tells them to put Medicaid and Medicare at risk for people that are poor, the kind of people Jesus healed? So it is a distortion and a perversion.”
Johnson also recently rebuffed the conventional idea of the separation of church and state, which is generally taken to entail keeping religious puritanism out of government, whatever the particular ideology under consideration. Johnson argued the fundamental point from the nation’s founders was more about keeping government out of religion but still allowing religion in government. He cited a purported letter from Thomas Jefferson as a supposedly primary source for the separation of church and state idea… ignoring the First Amendment.
Check out Sharpton’s commentary below: