Mike Johnson’s stepmom calls out his “crazy” religious beliefs

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson Photo: Shutterstock

In a recent interview, Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) own stepmother called out his extremist Christian beliefs and blasted the House speaker for using religion to justify his indifference to environmental issues.

“It speaks to those religious beliefs,” Janis Gabriel told The Guardian. “‘Don’t take care of the environment because we have a finite amount of time here and God will take care of you.’ It’s crazy.”

In contrast, Johnson’s father, Patrick, a former firefighter, was passionate about the environment. When Johnson was 12, Patrick was almost killed by an industrial explosion. Johnson has called his father’s survival an “actual miracle” that inspired his “very deep faith.”

But according to Gabriel, Johnson’s commitment to his father (who died in 2016) was quite lacking. She said as a state representative, Johnson ignored her and Patrick’s pleas to help stop the U.S. government from holding an open burn of toxic and carcinogenic munitions in their community.

“His father and I went to him and said: ‘Mike, you need to get involved in this, this is really important. Your family really lives at ground zero,’” Gabriel explained. “We basically begged him to say something, to someone, somewhere.”

“He just wasn’t interested. He had other things to do. He was never interested in environmental things.” She added that he “basically shut us down” and it “blew my mind that he wouldn’t give five minutes of his time to the effort.”

A staunch creationist, Johnson has long said that climate change is not driven by human activities. It is this philosophy, Gabriel posited, that drives his indifference to environmental issues. After all, if you believe the apocalypse is imminent and ultimately determined by God, there is no point in fighting it.

Meanwhile, Johnson represents the state of Louisiana, which has recently endured drought, extreme heat, and wildfires driven by climate change. The heat has taken many lives in the state, including that of 34-year-old Ted Boykin, who died of heat stroke in July in a trailer home with no air conditioning.

His sister, Sandy Boykin Hays, blames her elected officials for her brother’s death. “He was let down by the system,” said Boykin-Hays. “And to them [in Washington], I’m sure they wouldn’t believe, even if it [climate change] was staring them in the face, because they’re rich. They have money. They don’t have to worry about air conditioning or where your next meal is coming from.”

In addition to refusing to fight climate change, Johnson’s religion has fueled his virulent anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs. He has long campaigned against same-sex marriage, claiming it would lead to “pedophiles” seeking legal protections for having sex with kids and people trying to marry their pets. He has also said, “Homosexual relationships are inherently unnatural… ultimately harmful and costly for everyone.”

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