Gross. That is how one Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Fellow described the revival of nationalism.
“The effort to dress up nationalism, to find a new label of National Conservatism, to make it respectable and give it intellectual depth, is gross,” Paul D. Miller wrote for Providence. Miller is a professor at Georgetown and a Research Fellow with the Southern Baptist Convention’s ERLC.
Miller blames the rise of nationalism on, well, you guessed it, Orange Man Bad.
“Five years ago, none of this stuff would have been taken seriously, but now we have books and conferences devoted to the subject,” Miller wrote. “Just because there is a nationalist and populist wave sweeping the globe doesn’t mean we have to start justifying it, sympathetically explaining it, or offering defenses for it.”
This is the level of rhetoric and scholarship of ERLC Research Fellows.
It borders on the high level of scholarship when this guy claimed the idea of a Christian America is un-Christian and un-American.
The ERLC is going to ERLC. It is at war with conservatism and promoting anti-American scholars and political pro-open borders propaganda shows who and what they are. (Oh, by the way, did the ERLC shut down this embarrassing program? Websites still contain ERLC Fellow as part of writer’s biographies.)
“Historically, every effort to make national identity the source of our identity and flourishing ends poorly. Theologically, I think it is a kind of idolatry,” Miller wrote.
Idolatry. That’s the typical charge from these ERLC types for anyone who loves his country. Of course, Miller misses the entire point of what National Conservatism claims.
It ignores the entirety of the nationalist argument—that supranational political organizations are dangerous and the a state a better source of protection so its people can thrive. The lesson of colonialism, imperialism, communism and every great polyglot empire was that some people were oppressed by the more powerful states. So, self-determination allows people to chart their own course.
“There are a lot of sources of human flourishing, and most of them revolve around family, church, local communities, friendships, education, physical health, the life of the mind, acts of service, practices of prayer and meditation, and more,” Miller wrote.
And states defend the local opportunities. This is our post-Westphalian legacy. Because of states, we can choose our religion, and not have it dictated by a supranational bishop sitting in Rome. It is the state that defends these local options from the eschatological promises of supranational globalists and imperialists.
The last century saw two World Wars and a Cold War fought between the forces of individual sovereignty and totalitarian powers. Recognizing the benefits of national life and nourishing national power improves the safeguards of liberty.
It is through the strength of our nation that all those examples of flourishing are possible–and possible in our uniquely American ways.
Yoram Hazony and his National Conservatism Conference are good things for political discourse. It is too bad the ERLC Fellow decides to showcase ERLC values and call the very sinews of our liberty—something gross.
ERLC priorities are not the priorities of the Southern Baptist people.