Madison Cawthorn shows that he’s a good person

Madison Cawthorn, a Republican, won his House race in North Carolina, making him the youngest person ever to enter Congress. Leftists hate Cawthorn and, lately, have been doing their best to smear him as a white supremacist. He’s come under fire most recently because he admitted that he tried to convert both Muslims and Jews to Christianity. I should be offended, but I’m not. In his case, it’s truly the thought that counts.

The Daily Beast opens its article about Cawthorn by throwing in the irrelevant fact that he, like millions before, visited Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. While there, he ruminated about the fact that he enjoyed time with his brother, even though he understood that terribly evil things had happened there. Normal people would say, “That’s a thoughtful young man.” Leftists, however, say, “white supremacist.”

But back to the latest charge against Cawthorn:

Madison Cawthorn, the North Carolina Republican who will become the youngest member of Congress in history, has admitted he tried to convert Jews and Muslims to Christianity. In an interview with Jewish Insider, the 25-year-old, who came under fire for selfies he took at Hitler’s vacation retreat in Germany, claimed he had converted “several Muslims to Christ” and several “culturally Jewish people.” “If all you are is friends with other Christians, then how are you ever going to lead somebody to Christ?” Cawthorn said. “If you’re not wanting to lead somebody to Christ, then you’re probably not really a Christian.”

[snip]

Cawthron [sic] added he has been unsuccessful in converting practicing Jews, but he has “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.”

There are a few points to make here:

1. David Harsanyi has the correct attitude: “So what?” He notes that a good Christian tries to spread the gospel and that Jews are now, as they always have been, notoriously resistant to conversion. Polite efforts at conversion are a far cry from the old European way, which, as is the case with Islam today, worked on the “convert or die” theory. A good Christian is called to spread the gospel, so Cawthorn does.

2. Religious Jews don’t usually convert. The ones who do convert, as Cawthorn acknowledged, are the irreligious Jews – that is, people who have a spiritual hole in them anyway. Andrew Klavan, one of my favorite thinkers, is a perfect example. Moreover, that Klavan didn’t turn on Jews is a testament to the lack of anti-Semitism in American Evangelical Christianity.

3. As I noted at the top of this post, I think it’s rather nice of Cawthorn to try converting people without meanness, force, or violence. Back in high school, one of my friends was a Jehovah’s Witness. He often tried to convert me. (He failed.)

Andy wasn’t making an effort to gain points with God, and he didn’t see me as the enemy. Instead, he was trying to convert me because he genuinely liked me and feared for my soul in the afterlife. I always told him I would take my chances, but I truly appreciated his concern. He was, as I said, a friend.

As for me, I tend to subscribe to the view C.S. Lewis articulated in The Last Battle, his final Narnia book. The books, of course, are an extended metaphor about Christianity. The last book describes the apocalypse in terms of a battle between the Narnians, who believe in Aslan (i.e., the Christ figure), and the Calormenes. They worship “Tash” and are modeled on medieval Muslims during the Crusades.  

In a scene after the battle, the Narnians stumble across an honorable Calormene who described having asked Aslan whether he and Tash were the same. They are not, says Aslan, for Tash is the repository of evil. But says Aslan, it’s a person’s acts, not their point of worship, that matters:

Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted.

In other words, I try to live a moral life and trust that God, in whatever form he exists, accepts that in the next life. And that someone like Cawthorn tries to give me insurance for that next life . . . well, as long as he’s not a bully about it, that’s very nice of him.

Image: Madison Cawthorn. YouTube screengrab.