ABC News this week unearthed – its own word – an eight-year-old news piece from a German outlet that told the story of Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana who assumed the gavel in November after the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, escorting his then-teenage daughter to a "purity ball."
Randy Wilson, now the Family Research Council's director of men's ministries, was a leader in the purity ball movement years ago. He says coverage of Johnson (pictured below) and his daughter is now making the rounds because of media's disdain for the Christian faith that Johnson represents – and because they know he won't change.
"They can't control him. Imagine if we had a nation of faithful men like Mike Johnson. It would be a different place here. We wouldn't be battling all the fights that are on every front here, particularly the family as it's being broken apart piece by piece. The culture can only pull down and bring down the family and good men like Speaker Johnson," Wilson said on Washington Watch Thursday.
The German news segment showed Johnson and his family preparing for and attending a purity ball, which ABC described as a "controversial formal dance event." Wilson was a leader in helping bring about purity balls years ago.
Celebrating the father and daughter together
"We launched the father-daughter purity ball to highlight and celebrate the father and the daughter in the ways the culture cannot do," Wilson said.
ABC accurately reports, he told show host Jody Hice, that a typical event includes fathers and daughters in formal attire for a night of dinner and dancing that includes the daughter signing a pledge to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. However, ABC also reports that daughters pledge to "abstain from dating."
NewsNation picked up the story and interviewed Linda Klein, author of the book "Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free."
"We are talking about not a mainstream conservative Christian, but an extremist, really, even among purity culture advocates. Purity balls are extreme," Klein told show host Dan Abrams."
The media's fixation on Johnson's faith was immediate upon his rise to number three in line for the presidency. Wilson explained that purity balls initially were focused more on fathers than daughters.
"We had a covenant that was signed by our fathers that would say they will live as a faithful man, a man of integrity in one marriage under accountability, and that would be the great protection for his family, particularly his daughter," said Wilson.
"As time went along and others started these purity balls in their hometowns as well, we kind of got sidetracked by that purity movement because they were then calling for the daughters to come to pledge that they would be virgins till marriage. The media jumped on that and that's what this became all about."
Redefining the message
Wilson recommended purity balls take a step back, redefine themselves, and make their missions clear.
"We need to set the record straight and do what we need to lead as we should as fathers in our homes because our children are dependent on us to stand firm and teach the Word of God," he urged. "Proverbs is just rife with all types of leading and guiding and directing for the fathers to teach and train their children as they grow up."
Doing so, Wilson argues, would return America to a strong culture "not driven by the whims" of sexualization but led by "men of integrity like Mike Johnson."
And according to Wilson, that's why the Left is so afraid of Johnson: "Because he is a man of integrity."