House Speaker Mike Johnson was once the dean of a Christian law school. It never opened its doors

by | Nov 1, 2023 | Religion

WASHINGTON (AP) — Before House Speaker Mike Johnson was elected to public office, he was the dean of a small Baptist law school that didn’t exist.The establishment of the Judge Paul Pressler School of Law was supposed to be a capstone achievement for Louisiana College, which administrators boasted would “unashamedly embrace” a “biblical worldview.” Instead, it collapsed roughly a decade ago without enrolling students or opening its doors amid infighting by officials, accusations of financial impropriety and difficulty obtaining accreditation, which frightened away would-be donors.
There is no indication that Johnson engaged in wrongdoing while employed by the private college, now known as Louisiana Christian University. But as a virtually unknown player in Washington, the episode offers insight into how Johnson navigated leadership challenges that echo the chaos, feuding and hard-right politics that have come to define the Republican House majority he now leads.
The chapter is just the latest to surface since the four-term congressman’s improbable election as speaker last week following the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a reminder of his longstanding ties to the Christian right, which is now a dominant force in GOP politics.
It’s also a milestone that he does not typically mention when discussing …

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