Madison Cawthorn, the youngest person elected to serve in Congress since 1965, opened up about his Christian faith during a recent interview.
After winning his election battle against Democrat Moe Davis, a retired Air Force colonel, Cawthorn said via Instagram the “first thing” he did with his family and friends was “bow our heads to give glory to God.” During an interview with Jewish Insider, the 25-year-old politician said he has “a very, very, very strong faith.”
He later told JI his Christianity serves as “the basis of all of my experience and everything I’ve learned,” adding, “The Lord and the Bible and the value systems I’ve gotten through Judeo-Christian values, it affects every single decision I make.”
Raised Baptist, Cawthorn, who now identifies as nondenominational, told the outlet he has read “just about every single religious work there is,” including the Quran and the Torah. In reading the former, the North Carolina native said he learned it’s a “very easy switch to make” for a Muslim person to become Christian, because those who practice Islam “already believe that [Jesus] was somewhat divine, and so all you have to do is just be like, ‘He wasn’t just a good man, he was a god, and now if you can submit to that, then you believe in Christ.'”
He went on to claim he has converted “several Muslims to Christ because of that.”
Cawthorn admitted it has been a bit more difficult for him to successfully convince people practicing Judaism to come to faith in Jesus. JI asked him if he’s tried converting a Jewish person before, and he said: “I have, unsuccessfully. I have switched a lot of, uh, you know, I guess, culturally Jewish people. But being a practicing Jew, like, people who are religious about it, they are very difficult. I’ve had a hard time connecting with them in that way.”
Some on the left and in the media have accused Cawthorn of anti-Semitism.
For example, Cawthorn drew the ire of some in August, when a 2017 Instagram post of his resurfaced. The photo showed Cawthorn visiting Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s German chalet known as the “Eagle’s Nest.” In the caption of the post, Cawthorn described Hitler as “the Fuhrer” and said visiting the landmark had been on his “bucket list for awhile,” adding the trip “did not disappoint.” He also described Hitler as “a supreme evil” in the post.
JI suggested Cawthorn’s post “appeared to glorify Adolf Hitler.” Later in the report, the outlet pulled a quote out of context from a January 2019 sermon he delivered at a church in Highlands, North Carolina.
During his message, Cawthorn told the congregation: “If you have Jewish blood running through your veins today, this might not mean as much to you, but for someone like me, who’s a Gentile, this means a lot.”
The JI report suggested the sermon quote and his comment about having “a hard time” sharing the Gospel with Jewish people were of a “similar sentiment.” That, however, is not at all what Cawthorn was talking about during his sermon.
If you listen to Cawthorn’s message (beginning specifically at about 27 minutes in), he was talking about the story of Jesus healing the demon-possessed man in Mark 5:1-20. Cawthorn was, in particular, referencing the final verse of that passage, when, after being healed, the man “went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.”
“If you break that word ‘decapolis’ down, ‘deca’ means 10 and ‘polis’ is the word the Greeks would use for city or cities,” he said. “So it says that this man went to the concentration, the influx of 10 cities and began to proclaim everything that Jesus had done. And now, if you have Jewish blood running through your veins today, this might not mean as much to you, but for someone like me, who’s a Gentile, this means a lot.”
Cawthorn went on to describe the man’s demon possession, noting he had been “held down” by what many believe to be around 6,000 demons “clawing at him and screaming that you’re worthless, that you can’t accomplish anything” until Jesus delivered him from such a curse.
Thanks to Jesus’ miracle, Cawthorn explained, that man became the first missionary to carry the Gospel message to Gentile people. That is the context of Cawthorn’s quote — not that the New Testament means less to Jewish people or that it’s difficult for him to connect with those who practice Judaism.
“Our ancestors came to know Christ because this man was the first missionary to people like us,” Cawthorn added. “This man was important.”
Cawthorn also told JI that his family is made up of “a bunch of true frickin’ believers” in Jesus.
“It’s Christians that are, like, fun to be around, too,” he continued. “It’s not like guys who are like, ‘Oh, that’s a sin,’ ‘Oh, you’re awful,’ ‘Oh, X Y and Z.’ It’s people who just meet you where you are. If you want to cuss and drink, that’s your prerogative. I cuss and drink. I probably shouldn’t, but, you know.”