National Conservatism’s Motivated Minority

(Image made in Midjourney)

MIAMI—National conservatism has gotten plenty of press in recent years, but defining what exactly the movement stands for is often difficult. The Edmund Burke Foundation, which has sponsored several “NatCon” conferences, recently took on that challenge. “National Conservatism: A Statement Of Principles” laid out 10 organizing themes—from promoting national independence and the rule of law to rejecting imperialism and globalism. While the authors believe that “Jews and other religious minorities are to be protected in the observance of their own traditions,” the document states that “where a Christian majority exists, public life should be rooted in Christianity and its moral vision.”

Christianity was indeed one of the driving forces at the third annual NatCon convention in Miami this month, as was the fear of losing that Christian majority. Today 65 percent of American adults identify as Christian, a 12-point drop from a decade ago. Only 47 percent of Americans belong to any religious institution. And just over a third of Americans attend a religious service once a week. Perhaps the greatest question for national conservatives is whether the movement is doomed by these trends or poised to reverse them.

R.R. Reno, co-author of the statement of principles and editor of the religious journal First Things, sees a Christ-centered conservative nationalism as the solution. He recalled in an interview with The Dispatch the sense that, during his childhood in the 1960s, “Christianity transcended partisan divides in the country.” He lamented that Christian faith went from a presumed baseline to “the forefront of various political differences.”

Keep reading with a free account
Create a free Dispatch account to keep reading JOIN ALREADY HAVE AN ACCOUNT? SIGN IN
Comments (120)
Join The Dispatch to participate in the comments.
  • This quote from American Moment President Saurabh Sharm: “If there’s anything that the last 40 years have taught us, it’s that a very, very motivated small cadre that’s committed to a particular moral vision can get what they want.” ~shudder~ Have these believers read anything at all about God's gift of free will? And how Christians are to treat nonbelievers?

  • As a member of an SBC church, I was disappointed -- but not surprised -- to see that Al Mohler attended FascistCon.

  • Anyone know what the " Catholicism and nationalism" panel was all about? I'm curious.

  • 'He lamented that Christian faith went from a presumed baseline to “the forefront of various political differences.”'

    I get this - I've felt the same way about small-l liberalism since 2015. I wonder if either of these were ever the baselines we thought they were.

  • "Please hold, I have Gilead on line 1 for you"

  • "If an atheist is present, Reno suggested, “it's probably the flag thing that's really drawing him and other people.” While Reno thinks the “extreme edge of the LGBT project” has nonreligious opponents, “typically, it's the religious people that are the forefront of actually speaking out in public.”"

    What an odd view. Many atheists adopt Christian and Jewish moral values even though they do not believe in God. In other words they might admire much of these religions without actually believing them and being members of the religions. So they recognize they are a force for good even though they do not adopt all the beliefs.

    BTW, I had never heard of this group other than here at the dispatch.

    One thing that is unclear is whether they mean nationalism as opposed to federalism or nationalism as opposed to globalism. I think they mean the latter but it is sometimes unclear.

  • The consistent drumbeat of "we were only meant to be a Christian nation with Christian values" got so loud in my ears by the early 1990's that I swore off returning to the Republican party.
    Having been raised in the Methodist Christian tradition I knew enough scripture to know that God and Jesus both wanted unforced love and devotion, not faux compliance enforced by social pressure or the government. I could never square the sneering contempt for Jewish people, Hindus, Buddhists and the non-religious with "loving your neighbor". The real freedoms written down and guaranteed in our founding Constitution would all fall apart if only one religion is sanctioned.

  • "The American Mind, agreed, adding that “it's really important not to purity spar before we've even won.”"

    Is it just me or does that statement send a shiver up the spine of anyone else? What the goal after? Is that when the national purge begins?

  • I am a Christian who belongs to a church and attends every week, and I find this entire NatCon movement distasteful and not at all Christ-centered. They don't like the far left pushing their beliefs on them but want to do the same? No thanks. There is a majority in the middle that doesn't like any of this.

  • Load More