SENATOR JOHNSON'S RELIGIOUS CUCKOO NEST
In the aftermath of the January 6 fascist putsch, one outspoken elected official has willfully catapulted himself to the head of class of nuts in denial - Ronald Harold Johnson, the senior U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.
On February 15, in an interview on an alt-right talk show, Senator Johnson opined "this didn't look like an insurrection to me". Then on February 23, during a Congressional Hearing on the insurrection, Johnson took most of his allotted speaking time to extensively read from a fully distorted account of the event published in The Federalist, a far-right website, and written by a riot participant associated with the conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for hate groups, The Center for Security Policy. "No one appeared angry or incited to riot", Johnson said quoting the article, "Many of the marchers were families with small children; many were elderly, overweight, or just plain tired or frail - traits not typically attributed to the riot-prone". Antifa, "fake Trump protestors" and agent provocateurs were allegedly responsible for the violence, while many pro-Trump supporters "wore pro-police shirts or carried pro-police 'Back the Blue' flags."
Of course, such truth-denying pronouncements fully comply with Trump's alternative reality and alternative facts. But the roots and expressions of Johnson's madness go deeper and broader. Johnson is a devout member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and subscribes to its extreme beliefs. One look into its detailed doctrinal statement, "This We Believe", reveals a dogmatic mindset hopelessly locked in a bizarre world of exclusivity, rigidity, misogyny and downright hatred for others.
Commonplace for evangelical outfits is, of course, the firm belief that the Bible is "the true word of God"; that "every statement in the Bible is the truth"; and that "it is the infallible authority and guide for everything we believe and do". However, the WELC goes further to explicitly dismiss other sources of truth and fact: "We believe that no authority - whether it is human reason, science, or scholarship - may stand in judgment over Scripture". Accordingly, evolution is firmly rejected and the Bible alone contains "the true, factual and historical account of creation". Also rejected are universalism, pluralism, millennialism, abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, homosexuality, rationality, women pastors, and humanism:
"We reject the opinion that all religions lead to God"
"We reject the use of feminine names and pronouns for God"
"We reject all views that look upon people as basically good by nature"
"We reject the view that all prayers are acceptable to God, and we hold that the prayers of all who do not have faith in Christ are vain babbling addressed to false gods".
That last rejection impacts billions of humans, all non-Christians as well as select Christians, and dismisses their prayers as "vain babbling addressed to false gods". Not only are the prayers of "unbelievers" invalid, but so are their "good works": "Although unbelievers may do much that appears to be good and upright, those works are not good in God's sight"While we recognize the value of such work for human society, we know that unbelievers cannot do their duty to God through works of civic righteousness". Furthermore, all "unbelievers in Christ" are categorically condemned o eternal hell upon death.
Yes as disturbing and disruptive as these outrageous dogmatic beliefs are, the one that should make us all outside this cult take notice is found in the final section of "This We Believe": "We reject the teaching that Christian should look for one individual to arise in the end times as the great Antichrist. The characteristics of the Antichrist as presented in Scripture have been and are being fulfilled in the institution of the papacy (2 Thessalonians 2:4-10). We reject the opinion that the identification of the papacy with the Antichrist was merely a historical judgment valid only at the time of the Reformation."
Nearly 30% of the 117th Congress is Catholic and over 22% of Americans identify as Catholic, yet this U.S. Senator proudly belongs to a sect which openly claims the papacy to be the Antichrist and all other world religions to be heresy. Johnson has not flown over the cuckoo's nest, but remain firmly embedded in it. The sooner he is removed from public office, the better.