Mike Johnson, newly elected as Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and a Bible believer, has been compared to a mass shooter, on a liberal late night TV show.
Johnson, a lifelong Christian, says anyone wishing to know his worldview can find it all by looking in the Bible. He's anti-abortion, and anti-homosexuality, and his sudden and unexpected rise to power has caused consternation among many on the left of American politics.
Liberal comedian Bill Maher said during a discussion on late night TV,
"When you're this much of a religious fanatic, there is no room for real democracy. That's not what you believe in."
Johnson was the only candidate to receive enough votes to lead the America's lower house, after a fierce three-week battle sparked by a small group of hardliners within his own party, who ousted the previous Speaker Kevin McCarthy because they felt he'd compromised too far with the opposition.
His election, and the end of a debacle, which left the US government unable to function for 22 days, coincided with America's latest mass shooting incident in Lewiston, Maine. Police were involved in a 48 hour manhunt, after a gunman ran rampage at a bowling alley and a bar, killing 18 people and injuring several more.
Robert Card, was later found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
His family had lived in the area for generations, and once donated money for the building of a local church. Card, who was 40, was reported to have had a history of mental illness and allegedly heard voices urging him to shoot people.
During a panel discussion, Maher said, "I was reading about this horrible shooting in Maine. And, you know, we don't know much about the guy yet, but apparently he heard voices and I thought ‘Is he that different than Mike Johnson?’"
"I mean, degree? Yes. But it's thinner than you'd think?"
Maher, an outspoken atheist, has hosted his 'Real Time' show on HBO for twenty years. He took aim at Johnson's faith, calling him, "Super, duper, uber Christian. I mean super Christ-y."
"Republicans have really found their sweet spot: Loves Jesus, hates democracy."
In 2020, Johnson was among those who supported the idea that the result of the Presidential election, which Donald Trump lost, had been rigged. This claim, backed by Trump and many of his loyal supporters, has been confirmed as false.
During his first television interview, with right-leaning Fox News, Johnson responded to criticism of his past comments condemning gay marriage, which was legalised in the United States in 2015, saying: "I respect the rule of law but I also genuinely love all people regardless of their lifestyle choices."