Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) recently spoke at the North Carolina Faith & Freedom Coalition's "Salt & Light Conference" where he said historical inaccurate things about Christianity to an adoring crowd.
Rafi Schwartz, who describes himself as a "person who actually paid money to a major university to receive a degree in religious studies," said Cawthorn not only invoked "expressly Jewish figures as upholding 'Christian principles'" but also cited horrifically violent stories from the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible as models of the Christian theocracy Cawthor is striving to install in the United States.
We can concede Cawthorn's initial point that the stories do, indeed, involve the intersection of theology and politics. But otherwise, I'm not convinced Cawthorn could name a Christian principle actually on display there: King David was violent adulterer whose reign was defined by the murder of his romantic rival and a brief stint as the head of a straight-up protection racket. The Book of Esther (Do you think Cawthorn knows it's the only book in the Hebrew bible that doesn't actually mention God?) is less "political intrigue" than it is a gleeful celebration of rampant sex and horrifying mass murder. The Book of Daniel is a hodgepodge of divine punishment and apocalyptic imagery. To the extent that any of the examples offered by Cawthorn are endorsements of mixing God and governance, they do so with maximum bloodshed and anguish.
Of course, perhaps that's what Cawthorn is really going for here: conditioning his followers to accept a measure of political violence in the name of divine righteousness.
It could also come down to sheer intellectual laziness. Cawthorn after all, "dropped out of the college after a single semester of mostly D's," reports The Washington Post.
Here's a short list of Cawthorn's exemplary GOP morals:
- In August 2020, during Cawthorn's campaign for Congress, several women came forward accusing him of sexually aggressive behavior, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault." [Wikipedia]
- Cawthorn claimed he was accepted to attend the United States Naval Academy in 2014 but his plans were "derailed by an automobile accident that left him partially paralyzed. However, the Naval Academy rejected him before the accident, something Cawthorn only admitted in a lawsuit deposition.[Wikipedia]
- He claimed to have worked as a full-time staffer for Rep. Mark Meadows, which was a lie. His position was part-time. [Wikipedia]
- Cawthorn told the Christian inspirational podcast The Heal, "I had an opportunity for the Paralympics for track and field." But The Nation says Cawthorn did not have that opportunity, nor does it appear he took any meaningful steps that would have led him there."
- Cawthorn "helped incite the U.S. Capitol invasion with a Jan. 6 speech that lied about election fraud and stoked anger, then less than 24 hours later said the president's election falsehoods played a role in the riot while claiming his own, similar election lies weren't a factor. Cawthorn wasn't alone in that kind of whiplash-inducing pivot, but he was the only lawmaker calling for unity after Jan. 6 who also sold "Cry more, lib" T-shirts on his website. (He later removed the listing.)" [Charlotte Observer]
- "Cawthorn's account of the 2014 wreck — which he presented publicly in the chapel of his Christian college in Virginia three years later — was that a close friend had crashed the car in which he was a passenger, leaving him to die 'in a fiery tomb,' The Washington Post reported over the weekend. But the friend, Bradley Ledford, told the newspaper in his first public comments about the crash that he pulled Cawthorn from the wreckage. 'It hurt very badly that he would say something as false as that,' Ledford told the paper. 'That is not at all what happened. I pulled him out of the car the second that I was able to get out of the car.'" [HuffPost]
I could go on, but you get the picture.