Who Is Speaker Mike Johnson?

Congressman Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, Speaker of the House of Representatives

After three weeks, four candidates, two floor voting sessions, and constant chaos, the U.S. House of Representatives finally has a Speaker. And it looks to me like the embarrassing, circus-like ruckus, if that is what it took, was worth it to get to this man. Although Mike Johnson is not a household name, he appears to be the right person at the right time to deal with the mess Washington has become. Let’s take a look at just who he is.

Born January 30, 1972, in Shreveport, Louisiana, the 51-year-old James Michael Johnson was the result of an unplanned birth to a teenage couple who were later divorced. Mike’s father is a disabled firefighter who was critically burned in the line of duty. Johnson graduated from Louisiana State University Law Center and eventually became the senior legal counsel for what is now the Alliance Defending Freedom. In this capacity, he worked to oppose laws that sought to legalized same-sex consensual relationships and defended marriage as between one man and one woman. In 2015, Johnson founded Freedom Guard, a nonprofit legal ministry designed to represent Christian clients in lawsuits. While with this organization, he represented the Ark Encounter theme park that was denied tax breaks for requiring its employees to affirm creationist beliefs. He summarizes his legal career as “defending religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and biblical values, including the defense of traditional marriage, and other ideals like these when they’ve been under assault.”

In 2015, when a Louisiana House of Representatives seat was vacated, Johnson ran unopposed to fill the seat. Less than a year later, Johnson announced his candidacy for the 4th U.S. Congressional District seat held by John Fleming who was running for Senate. Johnson won the election handily. He is now in his fourth term, winning it unopposed. Louisiana’s 4th District obviously loves its congressman.

Congressman Johnson’s congressional career includes Vice Chairman of the Republican Conference, Associate Republican Whip, Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, member of the Judiciary Committee, and member of the Armed Services Committee. He is an adamant fiscal and social conservative with a solid voting record for cutting the budget and taxes. He was among the 147 Republicans who voted to delay the 2020 election results until further investigation, and voted against establishing a commission to investigate the January 6, 2021, Capitol incident. Johnson has worked closely with Christian groups including Answers in Genesis, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Focus on the Family. This year, he became chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution and Limited Government.

On October 24, after the third candidate for Speaker, Tom Emmer, withdrew, House Republicans made Johnson their fourth nominee. He was endorsed by Donald Trump. Johnson had, hours before, distributed a comprehensive and ambitious plan to get back to the basics of governing with a timetable for the next 14 months of congressional action. Absent from the plan was any mention of investigations, impeachment, immigration, or any other highly-charged issue. The next day, the House voted 220-209, strictly along party lines, to elect Johnson as the 56th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was sworn in that same day after giving a very powerful and patriotic acceptance speech, invoking God, the Bible, and his personal Christian beliefs numerous times.

Mike and his wife, Kelly, were married in 1999 in a “covenant marriage” with stricter rules regarding divorce. Kelly has a Master’s Degree in Education and was a school teacher before founding Onward Christian Counseling Services as a licensed pastoral counselor in marriage and family matters. Mike and Kelly are members of the Cypress Baptist Church in Benton, Louisiana. They formerly co-hosted a podcast, Truth Be Told, where they discussed public affairs and other issues from a Christian perspective. The Johnsons have four children. Hannah, 22, is a law student at Louisiana State University. Abigail, 21, is a student at Louisiana Tech University and plans to begin law school in 2024. Jack, 18, is a high school student involved in multiple sports. Will, 13, in junior high school, is a skilled artist and baseball player.

In this dark and dismal time for our nation and the world when competent leadership is extremely scarce, it gives me reason for hope that God has raised up a faithful Christ-follower to be one of the most influential leaders in Washington and the third in line for the presidency. We must keep him in our prayers, though. He will be persecuted. Newsweek has already run the headline, “Mike Johnson’s Ties to Christian Nationalism Revealed.” I close with a caution. We Christians must keep in mind that this man will not always do and say everything like we want. He has a commendable resume as a man of great faith. But he is a sinner as we all are and capable of disappointing us from time to time. Pray for our country, pray for our leaders, and pray for Mike Johnson.

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4 thoughts on “Who Is Speaker Mike Johnson?

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  1. Thrilled with this Speaker, and as you said, know we must pray for his safety and the opposition to him because he is a believer. Can the nonbelievers please allow that some of us are finally getting a voice!

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