What is Christian nationalism? And, how is it different than patriotism? Join Walter Kim and Dr. Paul Miller as they discuss the roots of Christian nationalism in America and what it looks like for evangelicals to be politically engaged in a Christ-honoring way.

In Today’s Conversation podcast, NAE President Walter Kim and Dr. Paul Miller, Georgetown University professor and former veteran and White House staffer, discuss how evangelicals can be principled when it comes to politics by working for the common good of all people.

You’ll also hear Paul and Walter discuss: 

  • The virtue of patriotism and how it’s tied to gratitude;
  • The difference between Christian principles and Christian power;
  • The elements of a healthy Christian political witness; and
  • A word of hope and concern for the 2024 election.

Read a Portion of the Transcript

Walter: What’s the difference between nationalism and patriotism? And how do we foster what is best in patriotism?

Paul: Patriotism is the love of our country and our home. I think patriotism is actually a positive virtue, and everybody should be patriotic no matter what country you’re in. I think patriotism is the virtue of gratitude. We should be grateful for where we come from and our homes. C.S. Lewis in his book, “The Four Loves,” he writes about the love of the things that are familiar — or the sights, the sounds and smells of where we come from — and I think I agree with that. I think we should love, be grateful for and seek to improve where we came from, and so I hope all Christians find a patriotism for whatever country they’re in, and if they’re in America, I think that means loving and cultivating what is best about America.

Again, that’s different from nationalism, which seeks to defend one specific identity — a cultural identity — that we must follow a certain kind of tribal template. Another way to get at the distinction that you’ve asked about a couple of times of how do we as Christians engage in politics without doing the bad stuff? It comes down to this: Are we out for Christian principles or Christian power? Christian principle is defending religious freedom for all people, for non-Christians included, and for atheists, Muslims and progressives. Christian power is looking out for religious power for me, not for thee. So, if we’re going to be principled in our Christian engagement in politics, we need to work for our neighbors’ good and not just for our tribal prerogatives.

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