As you’ve likely heard by now, House Speaker Mike Johnson has said some terrible stuff about the LGBTQ+ community over the last two decades, including calling homosexuality “inherently unnatural” and a “dangerous lifestyle” and claiming that legalizing gay marriage would lead to people marrying their pets. Yet, asked about his comments during an interview with Fox News shortly after he was elected House Speaker, Johnson replied, “I don’t even remember some of them.” Did he disavow the things he has said? No, but claiming to barely even remember them appeared to be a calculated political move to suggest that it’s possible he no longer believes the hateful, seemingly extremely homophobic remarks he made in the early 2000s. But, surprise! It sounds like Johnson still holds the very same views now that he did back then, and we know this because he voiced very similar ones just last month.
The New York Times reports that on October 3—just three weeks before he was elected House Speaker—, Johnson participated in a prayer call where he declared that American society was “so dark and depraved it almost seems irredeemable” because fewer people go to church than they used to and one-quarter of high school students are “something other than straight.” (As the Times, notes, Johnson “appeared to be citing?a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?in which about a quarter of high school students in 2021 identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning or other.”) “We’re losing the country,” Johnson said. He added: “The only question is: Is God going to allow our nation to enter a time of judgment for our collective sins? Or is he going to give us one more chance to restore the foundations and return to him? We need to turn to him. We need a revival.”
Again, these are things Johnson said last month. Could he have changed his beliefs in the ensuing 6.5 weeks? Uh, sure, but probably more likely, he still thinks America is going to hell in a handbasket because only 75 percent of high school kids are straight.
According to the Times, at the conclusion of the call, Johnson—who once worked with a conversion therapy group that claimed it could turn gay people straight—“choked up” as he said a prayer. “We repent for our sins individually and collectively,” he said. “And we ask that you not give us the judgment that we clearly deserve.”