The evangelical left and Paul Ryan

CNN was quick to check in with progressive evangelicals on their reaction to Romney’s pick of Ryan. Here’s a taste:

The Democratic organizations, including progressive Evangelical Christian groups, have criticized Ryan’s principles and his budget proposals they say will negatively impact the poor’s safety net.

A video released by American Values Network linked Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman, to author Ayn Rand to make their point.

While Rand supported individual rights and limited government, she also largely rejected faith and religion.

The spot quotes Rand saying “I don’t approve of religion, it’s a sign of a psychological weakness.”

Ryan, a practicing Catholic, is subsequently quoted praising the writer, who passed away in 1982.

“Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality individualism and this to me is what matters most,” Ryan says in the commercial.

The narrator then asks, “What matters most to you?”

And here’s the video:


10 Replies to “The evangelical left and Paul Ryan”

  1. Are we now trying to twist what Paul Ryan was saying? I do not believe he was praising Rand’s view on religion, rather her view on capitalism.

  2. Certainly not–from all appearances, Ryan is a devout Catholic. I cannot imagine him praising Rand’s atheism! I think what critics of Ryan are saying is that Rand’s hyper-individualism feeds the worst excesses of capitalism. Even if it’s effective, even if it breeds prosperity, is the inherent selfishness of capitalism something that Christians should celebrate?

    1. I may get kicked out of this choir here, but when a member of the goverment is trying to provide economic policy for the folks they represent I support what works. My simplistic views originate from my time as a past member of a union, a member of management, and a owner operator.
      I also believe that social juctice and capitalism, while a diffect balancing act, is possible. While being a Christain and a politician is near impossible it seems for some.

  3. Although it is a good question to ask, the point of the video doesn’t at all seem to be “should Christians celebrate the inherent selfishness of capitalism?” The video is purposefully deceiving because it focuses only on Rand’s atheistic views and then shifts to a series of endorsements by Republicans. The problem is, none of the Republicans in the video are endorsing her views on atheism. They are all endorsing her views on how a capitalist economy functions. The title of the video is “Ayn Rand and the GOP vs. Jesus.” Perhaps the response video should be “Karl Marx and Barak Obama vs. Jesus”? (it would be just as preposterous). Let’s not forget that Marx, the most outstanding proponent of collectivism, was just as hostile to faith as Rand was in her individualism.

    Would they have us believe that state sponsored collectivism which is forced upon the populace is in some way morally superior to laissez-faire capitalist individualism? Are we to think that Jesus would endorse either one of them? I have to think that if Jesus were to endorse a specific economic system, it would be outside of the individualism-collectivism continuum and he certainly would not rely on the state to implement it.

    The video does, however, raise one very critical question for me. Who is John Galt? 🙂


    1. The question about Galt was tongue-in-cheek 🙂 It’s the first line of Atlas Shrugged and the question is repeated by various characters throughout the book. Galt’s character serves as the archetype of the person of ability who disengages from the economic engine because of the overwhelming burden of collectivism.

  4. David, there was an interesting article in Christianity Today a number of months ago “How Ayn Rand led me to Christ” or something like that. The author’s point was that Rand’s belief in objective truth led him away from postmodernity. Did you read it?
    Also, it seems that Rand really disliked the 10th Commandment, but Marxism (inseparable from black liberation theology) dislikes the 8th.
    I’d recommend you read Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, if you haven’t. Many times folks see the Reagan years as when politics and religion started to get mixed, but the Left actually has nearly a century of blending them, and the Right is quite amateurish at it.

    1. I think the big point here is that the politics of Jesus don’t fit on our continuum of libertarianism and totalitarianism. I can’t imagine him liking the philosophical selfishness of the Right or the brutality of the totalitarian Left. As Yoder says, our total allegiance should be to the Church.

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