Two weeks ago, Republicans celebrated Mike Johnson’s election as Speaker of the House. MAGA Republicans welcomed him as a fellow election denier, climate denier, gender denier, and denial denier. Mild mannered and virtually unknown, he was also acceptable to Republican moderates.
The GOP’s evangelical wing was ecstatic, lauding Johnson for his deeply religious faith. A self-described “Bible-believing Christian”, Johnson says to understand his world view you need only to “pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it.” Today, Republicans are wondering if an excess of Christianity is worse than MEGA-MAGA.
Shortly after his election, Johnson met with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise.
Scalise: Mike, I want your help in cutting $14 billion from the Democrats’ plan to expand IRS audits and tax collections.
Johnson: Steve, in every situation, I ask myself, ‘What would Jesus do?” Jesus was never anti-tax. When asked if one should pay taxes to the Romans, Jesus replied, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:18-21). And when tax collectors asked St. Peter if Jesus paid his taxes. Peter answered, “Of course.” (Matthew 17: 24). Jesus disliked financial chiselers. He threw the money changers out of the Temple, (Matthew 21:12). Clearly Jesus would not try to impede legitimate taxation. Neither will I.
Shocked, Scalise asked a Louisiana oil man, Johnson’s largest donor, to talk some sense to Johnson.
Donor: Mike, nobody loves Jesus more than me. But Jesus never had to run for office. He had no experience in fund raising. Not me, but some of my donor friends dislike both IRS audits and paying more tax. I hope you will consider this.
Johnson: I have. According to Jesus, we would be doing those donors a big favor by raising their taxes.
Donor: How is that?
Johnson: Jesus advised the rich: “Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.”(Luke 6:24) “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25) “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:13) “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Matthew 19:21)
I know that you, like all our donors, would choose Heaven’s eternal bliss over a few million dollars in tax savings. That is why I want to raise the marginal tax on all income above $1 million a year to 75%.
The Donor immediately called Louisiana Senator John Kennedy and told him “Johnson is into this Jesus thing, and guess what, Johnson’s Jesus is a radical socialist who wants to tax millionaires at 75%. You have to stop Johnson.”
Kennedy: Mike, I am a Christian and believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. But Jesus lived long ago. He may not fit with today’s Republican play book. Economic growth demands that we reward the makers, not the takers. Trickle Down works only when the Tricklers have plenty to trickle. That is why we must cut taxes. To offset such tax cuts, we must curtail wasteful government subsidies to the Takers — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other safety net programs. Do you agree?
Johnson: I disagree. I ask “What would Jesus do?” I answer He would increase safety-net programs, not cut them. Jesus cared about the poor: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20) “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5). Moreover, Jesus identified with the poor: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
Alarmed, Kennedy called Rep. Jim Jordan.
Kennedy: Jim, we’re headed toward a train wreck unless you muzzle Mike Johnson.
Jordan: What is the problem?
Kennedy: You and I are devout Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. However, taken out of context, some of Jesus’ statements can be, er, misleading. Johnson misunderstands some of Our Savior’s sayings. Johnson believes that Jesus wants to tax the rich and waste it on every crazy progressive subsidy. Jim, beat some sense into him.
Jordan: Mike, As I have tweeted Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. But today we are at war, and you are talking treason. Democrats, lame-stream media, and deep state conspirators stole the 2020 election. They are evil. We must annihilate them before they steal the 2024 election.
Johnson: There is a better way. Jesus told us: “Do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek.” (Matthew 5:39) “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
Jordan then decided to employ the ultimate weapon–a call from Trump.
Trump: Mike, are you a wacko nut job? A low IQ idiot? What’s this “Turn the other cheek” nonsense? The New Testament is FAKE NEWS. Jesus is a LOSER. Only a blockhead gets crucified. I like people who don’t get crucified. Mike, you are a disaster, a TOTAL DISGRACE. If you want to keep your job and avoid a primary defeat, forget about Jesus. Ask what would DONALD TRUMP do?
Johnson: Are you telling me to lie, cheat, and bully? Be greedy, ignorant, narcissistic, bigoted, fraudulent, spiteful, malicious, adulterous, and reckless?
Johnson: Jesus would not do that. Neither will I. But I will forgive you because Jesus taught: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”(Matthew 6:14) “Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)