FFRF constitutionally tutors N.C. Rep.-elect Cawthorn


Madison

The youngest new member of Congress needs some help understanding the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, so the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a leading state/church watchdog, has obliged with some free lessons.

FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel has sent a letter responding to a number of concerns over recent remarks by 25-year-old Madison Cawthorn, of North Carolina, including those made in his interview with the Jewish Insider publication. Cawthorn basically confirmed that he will not be able to divorce his faith from his actions as a member of Congress: “That [Christianity] 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. I always think of that question as just so silly.” He admitted to attempting to convert Jews to Christianity.

“America invented the separation of state and church,” Seidel writes to Cawthorn. “We should be proud of that fact,” noting that the wall of separation was first implemented in the American Experiment and protects freedom of conscience. Our Constitution, which draws its authority from “We the People,” not a deity, was revolutionary in being the first godless constitution, and also the first to ban religious tests for public office.

FFRF also corrected a particularly glaring gaffe Cawthorn made during his speech at the Republican National Convention. He recited the history of some other young American politicians, including “my personal favorite, James Madison, [who] was just 25 years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence.” James Madison was indeed 25 when the Declaration was signed but never signed it. He was not at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, but serving in the Virginia House of Delegates.

FFRF notes that for such a young soon-to-be member of Congress, Cawthorn has a questionable history. On social media, Cawthorn has referred to Hitler as “the Fuhrer” (while also calling Hitler a “supreme evil”), and described his visit to Hitler’s “vacation house . . . the Eagle’s Nest,” as being on his “bucket list.”

“The Founders understood something that many American Christians seem to have forgotten: There is no freedom of religion without a government that is free from religion,” Seidel writes to Cawthorn. “A secular government is required for true religious freedom to exist.”

Saying that “the separation of state and church is one of the things that truly makes America great,” FFRF ends its letter with a simple request for Cawthorn: “We hope next time you’re asked about this foundational American value and principle, you’ll defend it rather than dismiss it.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 33,000 members and several chapters across the country, including over 700 members and a chapter in North Carolina. Its purpose is to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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