A New Speaker and Concerns about MAGA Extremism and the Separation of Church and State: A Message from Rep. Huffman

October 27, 2023


The good news is that after an unprecedented 22 days without a Speaker of the House, Congress is open again. House Republicans finally resolved their internal chaos and dysfunction and selected Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana to be the new Speaker. It is shameful and inexcusable that more than three weeks of Congress’ time was wasted on this intra-party drama, but at least it’s over.

As we try to get Congress back to work, many of my constituents are rightfully interested in knowing more about Speaker Johnson, a little-known member of Congress who now not only leads the House of Representatives but is second in line to the Presidency. I know Speaker Johnson to be smart and affable, and I certainly hope he will be a better leader than his predecessor Kevin McCarthy. But I must also candidly share my concerns about what his sudden ascendancy to the Speakership could mean for our country.

Speaker Johnson is an avid Christian Nationalist with little experience in leading, but a long track record of MAGA extremism. For those who care about governing and democracy, and certainly anyone who values the secular character of our government, it’s important to understand that the new Speaker – and the House Republican conference that chose him as their standard-bearer – reflects the most extreme political agenda we’ve ever seen from a majority party in Congress. Speaker Johnson’s record includes:

On top of all of this, Speaker Johnson embodies one of the most serious threats to democracy of our time: an outright rejection of the separation of church and state and documented ties to extreme Christian Nationalism. His utter disdain for the establishment clause of the First Amendment and the right to actual freedom of religion reveals he’s more interested bending public policy to reflect his personal religious views, which is a slippery slope to theocracy and governing under one imposed religion, instead of respecting the secular democracy our Founders envisioned.  

I’m surprised and concerned that every single House Republican voted for Speaker Johnson, notwithstanding all of the above. It tells us that House Republicans are doubling down on an extreme MAGA agenda and unfortunately, we can expect more dysfunction and chaos ahead. My fellow Democrats and I will remain focused on the issues that impact folks across the country, including lowering costs, growing the middle class, enacting bold climate action, and protecting our democracy.   


Jared Huffman 
Member of Congress