One aspect of the post-Christian era in the West is that ordinary Christian views held by ordinary Christian people are almost entirely unknown to a growing portion of our populations. It should not be news that Christians in public positions hold beliefs that virtually all Christians have held for thousands of years and yet, because of the monumental ignorance of the press and several successive generations cut off from their civilizational inheritance by a derelict and deformed public school system, many seem to treat these revelations with shock.
It is difficult to overstate the extent of this ignorance. Thirty-nine percent of British millennials, for example, could not identify the baby in the Christmas story (that would be Jesus). During COVID, politicians and the public from California to Canada to the Netherlands appeared genuinely outraged that Christians believed worship to be more essential than theaters or sports games. Only 16% of Americans read the Bible daily (a number that has been dropping precipitously year over year); a decade ago, only 14 percent of Canadians even read the Bible once a month, a number that has since dropped to 11 percent (I suspect it is much lower).
Thus, we are constantly being alerted by the press that Christians believing Christian things is scandalous, dangerous, and indicative of some terrifying new trend. A recent example I covered in this space was the media’s collective freakout over the “news” that U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and his family use the accountability software Covenant Eyes, which the leftist media had obviously never heard of (no surprise there). Since then, there has been more news. The Guardian reported on Johnson’s comment to Fox News that to find out what he believes “go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it – that’s my worldview.”
This would not have been surprising to literally anyone in America in 1980 – perhaps even later. (Bill Clinton waved a Bible around quite a bit when the Lewinsky scandal broke.) But to the media, it is breaking news that a Bible-believing Christian… believes in the Bible.
But there’s more. Major American outlets are announcing that “uncovered video” has “revealed” that Johnson holds other Christian views, as well. During a conversation with a pastor on a broadcast of the World Prayer Network, Johnson noted that America was turning away from God (which, although the press may believe this to be a good thing, is undeniably true). “The only question is: Is God going to allow our nation to enter a time of judgement for our collective sins?” Johnson asked. “Or is He going to give us one more chance to restore the foundations and return to Him?” Johnson also observed that the “culture is so dark and depraved that it almost seems irredeemable,” highlighting the LGBT movement’s impact on young people and the ongoing collapse of church attendance.
This, according to a series of commentators and academics, is apparently evidence that Mike Johnson is a “Christian nationalist” bent on a “takeover” of the U.S. government. The reality is that Johnson’s comments – which are utterly normative for a traditional Christian – is merely evidence that he is just that – a Christian. Anyone who believes in the Bible believes that God punishes nations for sin; that same Bible defines sin very clearly. Ask any Bible-believing pastor if he believes that post-Christian nations will be punished for national sins, and he’ll agree. Indeed, one must be aggressively uninformed about the Christian history of the United States and the West more generally to be shocked by Johnson’s comments.
The ignorance of the mainstream press about the Bible and Christianity in general is one aspect of this. The other aspect, as Micah Meadowcroft recently pointed out, is the fact that the media would like to portray ancient Christian beliefs held by the vast majority of Christians for 2,000 years as dangerous and radical – as “Christian nationalism” rather than simply Christianity.
Thus, Mike Johnson being a Christian isn’t simply an interesting fact that helps to explain his guiding worldview – he is a dangerous representative of a dangerous belief system bent on destroying America. These stories are a toxic combination of ignorance and malevolence. Expect many more of them.