February 15, 2024

Jonathan Levenfeld, West End Strategy Team; 202-704-4535

Interfaith Alliance, Congressional Freethought Caucus Call out Speaker Johnson for Hosting Christian Nationalist Chaplain on House Floor

WASHINGTON – Interfaith Alliance endorsed a letter released today by the Congressional Freethought Caucus condemning Speaker Mike Johnson’s decision to invite a Guest Chaplain with an inflammatory record of Christian nationalist and hateful rhetoric to lead prayer on the House floor.

Pastor Jack Hibbs was sponsored by Speaker Johnson to lead the House’s opening prayer on January 30, 2024. In the letter led by Congressional Freethought Caucus Co-Chairs Jared Huffman and Jamie Raskin alongside Rep. Mark Pocan, more than 20 members of the House called out Hibbs’ promotion of election fraud conspiracies, his participation in the notorious rally that preceded the January 6 insurrection, and his offensive comments that God “anointed” the Trump administration.

The pastor has also frequently demonized members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as religious minorities including Jews and Muslims.

Interfaith Alliance endorsed the congressional letter alongside a number of leading national faith-based and civic organizations including Secular Coalition for America, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bend the Arc: Jewish Action.

You can find the full press release from the Congressional Freethought caucus here, and a copy of the congressional letter here.

Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance, said the following:

“Platforming a Christian nationalist with a track record of hate in the halls of Congress is not only an insult to our democracy, but shamefully gives license to others who wield their faith as a weapon to discriminate.

“Our elected leaders are charged with protecting the rights and safety of all of their constituents. Pastor Hibbs has demonized Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans and LGBT Americans and should not have been invited to pray in Congress, which is meant for all Americans. Speaker Johnson should apologize and explain his actions.

“As Christian nationalism continues to infiltrate Congress and legislative bodies across the country, Interfaith Alliance reaffirms our commitment to stand against this dangerous ideology, and to fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights for all.”