(OPINION) In an October prayer call hosted by a Christian-nationalist MAGA pastor, Rep. Mike Johnson was troubled that America’s wickedness was inviting God’s wrath.

Talking to Pastor Jim Garlow on a broadcast of the World Prayer Network, Johnson spoke ominously of America facing a “civilizational moment.”

He said, “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?”


The segment was filmed Oct. 3, just weeks before Johnson’s unexpected rise to become speaker of the House. Garlow pressed the clean-cut Louisiana congressman to say “more about this ‘time of judgment’ for America.” Johnson replied:

“The culture is so dark and depraved that it almost seems irredeemable.” He cited, as supposed evidence, the decline of national church attendance and the rise of LGBTQ youth — the fact, Johnson lamented, that “one-in-four high school students identifies as something other than straight.”

Discussing the risk of divine retribution, Johnson invoked Sodom, the Old Testament city destroyed by God for its wickedness with a rain of burning sulfur. Johnson is a polished orator, but in a closing prayer with Garlow he grew tearful. Johnson intoned, “We repent for our sins individually and collectively. And we ask that You not give us the judgment that we clearly deserve.”

Remarkably, this was not the first time Johnson brought up his fear of biblical retribution on a broadcast with Garlow. During a WPN appearance last December, Johnson likewise declared that he’d been “burdened” by the need for America to “recognize there’s so much to repent for.”

The future speaker elaborated, “We’re violating His commands. We’re inventing new ways to do evil.” He added, “We have to ask ourselves: How long can His mercy and His grace be held back?”

The prayer calls underscore the new House speaker’s alarming alignment with Christian nationalism — the extremist movement that holds America is not a secular democracy but was founded as a Christian nation and should be governed to uphold a fundamentalist morality.

They also provide fresh evidence of Johnson’s apocalyptic worldview, in which he sees America as existing in “disastrous, calamitous” times and “hanging by a thread.”

It raises questions about whether the Republican, who’s now second in line for the presidency, is leveraging his power not just to avoid a government shutdown, but to appease an angry deity — and avoid a more permanent Heavenly Shutdown.

Pastor Jim Garlow is not a household name, but he’s a national figure. A Christian nationalist based out of the San Diego area, Garlow is viewed as an “apostle” within the New Apostolic Reformation, a strain of Charismatic Christianity that holds that gifts of the spirit — including prophecy — are not biblical bygones, but alive in our time.

NAR differentiates itself from other strains of evangelical Christianity in its obsession with earthly power. NAR leaders embrace “dominionism,” the concept that Christians are supposed to rise and rule over “the nations,” in order to bring the globe into a biblical alignment, in preparation for the second coming of Jesus.

To Garlow, this transformation is to be achieved through the “Seven Mountains Mandate” — with Christians ascending to the tops of seven cultural mountains (also referred to as “spheres of influence”): religion, family, education, media, entertainment, business, and government. “We’re the ones called the disciple the nation,” Garlow has said, teaching on the concept, “and we disciple the nations through those seven spheres of influence.” (CONTINUE)