Madison Cawthorn, the newly elected congressman from North Carolina who was criticized for selfies he took at Hitler’s vacation retreat in Germany, is a zealous Christian. And the 25-year-old firebrand conservative and part-time preacher is trying to convert Jews and Muslims.
In an interview with Jewish Insider published Monday, Cawthorn said he has read through “just about every single religious work there is,” the Torah and the Quran included — in part to become better at proselytizing.
“The thing I found when I was actually reading through the Quran is that Christianity — that is a very easy switch to make to lead a Muslim to Christ,” Cawthorn said.
“They believe Jesus is a real person,” he said. “They believe he was a prophet, though. And so when you’re trying to lead an atheist to Christ, or, say, kind of a traditional Jewish person, you kind of have to make people really — you have to sell Jesus a lot, because, one, they don’t really believe that, you know — some very devout Jews just think he’s kind of a good guy. That’s great. But, you know, the Muslims, they already believe that he 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.”
Asked if he had ever tried to convert any Jews to Christianity, Cawthorn responded: “I have, unsuccessfully.”
Cawthorn claims he has succeeded in proselytizing “a lot of, uh, you know, I guess, culturally Jewish people,” but not religious ones.
“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,” he said.
Jewish Insider pointed out that Cawthorn hinted at that dynamic in a sermon he gave last year, in his side career as a preacher.
“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,” he said about a chapter from the New Testament’s Gospel of Mark.
Asked if he plans to separate church and state in his thinking as a congressman, he said, “I always think of that question as just so silly.”
“[Religion] is the basis of all of my experience and everything I’ve learned, everything that I believe in, how I’ve formed all of my worldview,” he said. “My family is a bunch of true frickin’ believers.”