Three weeks before he was elected speaker, Mike Johnson joined a prayer call where he lamented that American culture was “so dark and depraved it almost seems irredeemable,” claiming as evidence that attendance at church had reached an all-time low and that 25 percent of high school students identified as “something other than straight.” In an interview with Jim Garlow, a former pastor and political activist who was a member of President Donald J.
Trump’s faith advisory board, Mr. Johnson said that “faith in our institutions is the lowest it’s ever been” and noted that church attendance had “dropped below 50 percent.” As further evidence of America’s decline, he cited the statistic about high school students’ sexual orientation.
He appeared to be citing a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in which about a quarter of high school students in 2021 identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning or other. “We’re losing the country,” Mr.
Johnson concluded. Since Mr. Johnson was elected speaker last month, his past comments and writings on matters like homosexuality and same-sex marriage have attracted significant attention.