Speaker of the House Mike Johnson Hates Nearly All of Us

Liquor laws in Louisiana are a clusterfuck. Because of a state supreme court decision decades ago, they are subject to the whims of a community vote whenever someone can get it on the ballot. So a town can allow alcohol sales in, say, restaurants for a while and then, whenever some opportunistic Christian dickflea gets enough people itching, they can vote to overturn the law and go back to being a dry town or county. Or, you know, parish, as they call counties in the state because Catholicism. 

The decent-sized, if generally shitty, town of Minden in the generally shitty Webster Parish was dry in 2003. Minden is 30 miles from Shreveport, which is a decent-sized, if generally shitty, city. The economy of Minden was not doing great 20 years ago, so a group of business owners, with the support of the Chamber of Commerce, wanted to have another vote on allowing alcohol sales in restaurants, hoping that it would attract some chains to town or at least provide a new tax revenue stream. Minden had been dry since a vote in 1974, but after a contentious city council meeting in August 2003, it was decided that the restaurant alcohol sales law would be decided in a special election just a couple of months later. 

The people against allowing alcohol sales were straight out of a 1980s movie about tight-ass evangelicals refusing to allow anyone to have fun. Their warnings were like the lyrics of The Music Man song "Ya Got Trouble." According to one local columnist, "They expanded from simply claiming this was a back-door way to bring about bars and package sales to more extreme connections. They alleged this was an 'end-around' to bring sexually oriented businesses, such as strip clubs to Minden. They also pointed out it could be an attempt to bring legalized gambling into Minden." Churches went into overdrive, with prayer services just to try to get their invisible sky wizard to intervene. They even had round-the-clock prayers just before the election date. 

The anti-fun forces, led by five plaintiffs, tried to sue to stop the election, but they filed their lawsuit too late for it to be heard. Their lawyer was a Shreveport attorney who was making a name for himself as a supporter of nutzoid right-wing Christian causes. And since you read the title of this piece, you already know that it was Mike Johnson, who is now Speaker of the House and second in line to the presidency. That's right. Two decades ago, he was trying to stop alcohol sales in a town.

The voting occurred that November and over half the registered voters went out to the polls. That's how much this meant in an off-year election. And, Lord have mercy, they voted 57-43% in favor of alcohol sales in restaurants in Minden. Johnson's clients considered another lawsuit to question the elections results, but they decided against it, and Minden restaurants and now bars and, yes, casinos can serve alcohol. The nearest strip joint is still about 15 miles away, in the next parish over.

For years, Mike Johnson represented the shittiest fucking people in trying to halt others from having rights or enjoying life in a way that harmed no one. As a dick lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom (motto: "'Freedom' should probably be in quotation marks in our name"), Johnson was on the fucked up side of issue after issue in our bullshit culture war. He fought the city of New Orleans to stop it from offering domestic partnership benefits in the pre-Obergefell days. The law had been in place since 1999, and they sued in 2003 in a case they lost in 2005. He opposed the Obama abortion pill mandate, he sued in favor of various school prayer cases, and more. When it comes to abortion and LGBTQ rights, Johnson is the hardest of the hardcore opposing both. And when he was a state representative, in the panicked days before the Obergefell same-sex marriage decision in 2015, Johnson sponsored legislation that would allow businesses to refuse to serve same-sex couples and, going back to his earlier case, would allow a business to deny benefits to same-sex couples because of "religious" reasons.

And perhaps it's here that we need to pause for a moment and say that Mike Johnson loves God. His version of God, I mean, since, you know, God is made up. But he fuckin' loves God as intensely and loudly as a newly-out Omaha lesbian loves pussy. He leans Christian dominionist, which is as weird and insidious as it sounds. He says that the United States is a "biblical republic," whatever the fuck that means. He told Sean Hannity, "Someone asked me today in the media, they said people are curious, what does Mike Johnson think about any issue under the sun? I said, Well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That's my worldview, that's what I believe." I wonder if that includes all the rules in Leviticus, but I don't want to ask about beard-shaving regimen.

In his speech before being sworn in as Speaker of the House, he said, "I want to tell all my colleagues here what I told the Republicans in that room last night. I don’t believe there are any coincidences in a manner like this. I believe that scripture, the Bible is very clear that God is the one that raises up those in authority. He raised up each of you, all of us, and I believe that God has ordained and allowed each one of us to be brought here for this specific moment in this time."

I know they don't give a shit what heathens like me think, but that shit sounds creepy as fuck. You're telling me that your imaginary invisible sky wizard contorted all time and space and made everything in the universe move in such a way that you could become the leader of one house of the American Congress. That's fucking insane because, see, first, you believe in an invisible sky wizard, and, even worse, you have no problem telling me what your invisible sky wizard is doing and saying, and, even worser, you demand that I follow what your invisible sky wizard says. You can say that there are lots of people who believe in your invisible sky wizard, but that doesn't make it less creepy. In fact, it makes it way creepier. 

While Johnson talks a lot about "consensus" and shit, he sure has spent his career, including trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election, approaching every issue with the clear-eyed resolution of someone who just loves to make shit worse for everyone except those who also hate nearly all of us. It won't be some god who ruins the nation. It'll be a very weird man.

(Quick note about Minden, Louisiana: It sucks as a town. But, man, there are awesome soul food joints there.)