Since the Drudge Report launched in 1996 and became a widely quoted news aggregate in 1998 with its explosive coverage of the President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky affair, the popular site has continued to curate headlines from a wide variety of sources. Admittedly, though, it can sometimes give readers the impression the world is ending, or at least in very bad shape.
As of Thursday morning, the black-and-white-lettered site was continuing to share sensational stories zeroing in on the faith and background of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, who received the gavel just a few short weeks ago.
There on the left column, was this:
“Speaker of the House: ‘Depraved’ America Deserves God’s Wrath …”
The story comes from the Rolling Stone magazine, and chronicles a “prayer call” that Speaker Johnson participated in with pastor Jim Garlow, who leads the Skyline Church in La Mesa, Calif. Over the years, Pastor Garlow has been a regular guest on the Focus on the Family program. He’s a devoted follower of Jesus Christ who recognizes Christians have a responsibility to unapologetically bring their faith into the public square.
During the prayer time being highlighted, then Rep. Johnson stated, “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 Rolling Stone piece goes on to share that at the conclusion of the call, Speaker Johnson prayed, “We repent for our sins individually and collectively. And we ask that You not give us the judgment that we clearly deserve.”
Of course, such a prayer sounds entirely normal to most any faithful Christian – but apparently radical to secular and even cynical ears. If you read deeper into the Stone’s piece, we learn that the Speaker and his kind “not only fetishize the practices of the Old Testament, they believe in spiritual warfare.”
It seems it was too much for the reporter that Speaker Johnson appreciated the blowing of a shofar, an ancient musical horn used in Jewish ceremonies. Why he would ridicule such respect or characterize it as something irrational is unclear. As for believing in spiritual warfare, the writer appears unaware that countless millions of Christians agree there is a invisible battle being waged between the forces of evil and the forces of good.
The writer goes on to define a “Christian nationalist” as someone who “holds America is not a secular democracy but was founded as a Christian nation and should be governed to uphold a fundamentalist morality.”
There’s an ongoing debate over definitions about it what constitutes a “Christian nationalist.” Often it’s used as a slur meant to intimidate Christians into silence. Many reporters, Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone included, seem to believe Christians who hold that people of faith should be actively involved in politics are somehow guilty of being Christian nationalists. They’re wrong. People who put the nation above God or equal to Him would fit the definition of one.
Christians who read widely and broadly quickly realize that many of the reporters and writers covering faith know very little about it. Attempts to characterize and demonize those who believe in multi-millennia old biblical doctrine as “radicals” or “right-wingers” reflect an ignorance or a hostility to both history and the very basic tenets of Christianity.
When it comes to his Christian faith, whether a critic or a fan of Speaker Johnson, the new leader of the House of Representatives deserves reporters to accurately and in context represent what he and billions of other Christians around the world believe.
Image from the House of Representatives.