Doug Wilson, Al Mohler discuss Christian nationalism at conservative conference

Theologian Albert Mohler, left, and Pastor Douglas Wilson, right, shake hands during a discussion Tuesday at the fourth annual National Conservatism Conference (NatCon 4) in Washington, D.C., on July 9, 2024.
Theologian Albert Mohler, left, and Pastor Douglas Wilson, right, shake hands during a discussion Tuesday at the fourth annual National Conservatism Conference (NatCon 4) in Washington, D.C., on July 9, 2024. | Screengrab/X/Megan Basham

Theologian Albert Mohler and Pastor Douglas Wilson engaged in a discussion this week at the fourth annual National Conservatism Conference (NatCon 4) in Washington, D.C., about the proper role of Christianity in the government.

During a Tuesday panel titled "The Crisis of Meaning and Morality in the West," the two theologians appeared to find common ground in their belief that Christians should be committed to "maximizing" the Christian underpinnings of the State in the Western world and especially the United States.

Wilson has pastored Christ Church (CREC) in Moscow, Idaho, for more than 30 years, and recently penned Mere Christendom: The Case for Bringing Christianity Back into Modern Culture. Mohler has been president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, since 1993.

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Highlights of their back-and-forth, which was moderated by Edmund Burke Foundation President Yoram Hazony, circulated Tuesday on social media.

Megan Basham, an evangelical Daily Wire reporter and author of the upcoming book Shepherds for Sale: How Evangelical Leaders Traded the Truth for a Leftist Agenda, also participated as a speaker at the NatCon 4 conference and tweeted out the more notable portions of the discussion between Wilson and Mohler.

Basham, who noted she was offering a "quick paraphrase" of their exchange, tweeted that both Wilson and Mohler maintained that there "is no clear articulation from well-known Christian leaders of what we’re supposed to be doing" in the political realm.

Mohler reportedly observed that during the years of the Reagan Revolution, Christians "were responding to an awakening political crisis, but there was a confidence then that they could win political fights."

"Today, they realize it will take a much more comprehensive, sustained effort," he added.

Wilson agreed and noted that influential 20th century Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer taught the importance of having "a moral undergirding to that political energy."

"Christians needed theological substance to their political thinking," Wilson said, adding that such is sorely lacking today.

Regarding the political role Christianity ought to play, Mohler said he would like those in the State to "maximize the Christian commitments of the State, of the civilization."

"And I would call that acknowledgement," he continued. "In other words, I'm not claiming that everyone in the State, every citizen, is going to be a confessing Christian. I'm going to say that does not mean they are not obligated to the acknowledgment of the Christian structure of this civilization and its commitments."

"There’s a lot of people who think their walk with Jesus means to be disengaged from the wider world, and that’s not consistent with New Testament Christianity," Mohler added.

At one point, Hazony asked Wilson and Mohler if people of other faiths such as Judaism and Hinduism would flourish in the sort of Christian state that some Christian nationalists envision.

"I would say briefly that Jews in this ideal republic that I would envision, or that we'd hammer out, Jews would be more welcome than they currently are here," Wilson replied.

Echoing Wilson, Mohler said that in his theological tribe, it "would be seen as a matter of absolute divine responsibility to be fully respectful of the Jewish people, fully protective, and to have the Jewish people fully integrated in the entire project."

Mohler also claimed that many conservative Roman Catholics, Protestants and Jews "basically already live in the same world and acknowledge that and have a mutual dependence and appreciation."

In response to whether Muslims, Hindus or other religions would fit into his idea of a Christian nation, Mohler said, "I don't think a nation can survive without theological commitments."

"That does not mean it cannot allow others to be a part of the community — and even invite others, in a certain sense, into the community — but it does mean that there has to be the explicit acknowledgement that this is a nation with specific theological accountability and theological commitments," he said. "Those coming should respect that, must respect that, and understand that. And so, the kind of modern secularists' dream is, I believe, a constitutional nightmare."

Wilson said that he agreed with Mohler's assessment of the situation.

The panel also touched on the mandated display of the Ten Commandments in Louisiana public schools, which Mohler commended as "a good thing."

Last month, Louisiana passed a law requiring a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in "large, easily readable font" in every classroom and in every K-12 public school and college classroom in the state. Other states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Utah are considering similar legislation.

"It cannot be a bad thing to acknowledge the moral law of God," Mohler said. "That doesn’t mean everything said about it is smart. Louisiana may need better spokespeople, but bravo Louisiana."

Wilson, who has played a prominent role for decades in establishing classical Christian schools in the U.S., said he was "more concerned about kids being in public schools than the Ten Commandments."

"Some flag will fly over public schools — it will either represent God’s law or it will represent that which is against God’s law," he said.

During his NatCon address, Wilson pushed back against Christians who would assert that their faith must stay out of politics and the public square.

"Christian virtue was celebrated and acknowledged, but only in the private sphere, revealing a radical misunderstanding of the division between the public and private," he said. "We cannot erect a firewall between the eggs and the omelet."

"If there is no God above the lunatic state, then the lunatic state is God," he also said.

During an interview with Tucker Carlson earlier this year, Wilson defended Christian nationalism and asserted that the problems facing the U.S. transcend politics and require a spiritual solution.

"Basically, we're in such a mess that there is no political solution, alright? We're beyond hope. There is no political solution. The next election, however happy it might make us for 10 minutes, is not going to fix everything," he told Carlson at the time.

The three-day NatCon 4 conference also featured speeches from prominent figures such as Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.; Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio; former GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy; and Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, who is the son of the Shah.

In his NatCon address on Tuesday, Hawley also touched on Christian nationalism, juxtaposing it with the pagan nationalism and tribalism that littered antiquity and emerged again in recent centuries.

“The nationalism of Rome led to blood-thirst and conquest; the old pagan tribalisms led to ethnic hatred," Hawley said. "The empires of the East crushed the individual, and the blood-and-soil nativism of Europe in the last two centuries led to savagery and genocide."

"By contrast, Augustine’s Christian nationalism has been the boast of the West. It has been our moral center and supplied our most cherished ideals. Just think: Those stern Puritans, disciples of Augustine, gave us limited government and liberty of conscience and popular sovereignty," he continued.

"Because of our Christian heritage, we protect the liberty of all to worship according to conscience. Because of our Christian tradition, we welcome people of all races and ethnic backgrounds to join a nation constituted by common loves."

"Some will say now that I am calling America a Christian nation; so I am," Hawley also said. "And some will say that I am advocating Christian nationalism; and so I do."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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