What Speaker Johnson Doesn’t Get About Religion and Politics

Daylin Leach
4 min readNov 7, 2023

I’m going to say something not everybody will agree with, and no, not my usual thing about the concept of table manners being a Deep State plot to keep me from getting invited to dinner parties. Although that is true. What I’m going to say is even crazier than that. I miss Rick Perry.

For those too young to remember, or those who had their mind scrubbed “Eternal-Sunshine-of-the-Spotless-Mind” style specifically to forget Rick Perry, he was the multi-term governor of Texas who ran for President twice.

The first time he seemingly ran on a “Can you believe a person this dumb could be president” platform and his second race was about how wearing glasses can make even the dumbest person look like he can read books with small print. Neither run was particularly successful.

Come to think of it, I don’t actually miss Rick Perry at all.

But he does still serve as a useful example of a point I want to make about the juxtaposition (try reading THAT word Glasses Man!) between religion and politics. This point should be obvious to anyone who wears glasses for reasons not having to do with winning the Iowa Caucuses. But recent comments by our new Speaker of House MAGA Mike Johnson make me fear that maybe we aren’t doing a particularly bang-up job of teaching civics in our schools.

When Perry was running his first race in 2012, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell legalizing same-sex marriage had not yet been handed down. Rick was at a town hall taking questions, trying to remember what federal agencies he promised to shut down, what federal agencies there are, what the words “federal” and “agency” meant, etc, when someone confronted him with one of his policy positions:

A young person in the audience asked: “Governor Perry, I am a gay man, and you support a federal ban on same-sex marriage…”

Before the man could finish, Perry interrupted, seeming to be somewhat offended. “Hey now. That’s my faith”.

The import of Perry’s statement appeared to be “how dare you question my faith?” And herein lies the lesson. This lesson is on the huge pile of lessons that Perry never learned. Your faith should have absolutely nothing to do with your policy positions.

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Daylin Leach

Long-time state House and Senate member, author of PA’s Medical Marijuana law, also creator of “shit-gibbon!” Comedian, professor, father of 2 awesome children!