During this time of financial crisis and talk of severe austerity measures in nearly every statehouse across the nation, the philosophy of author Ayn Rand has become a rallying cry for many leading Republicans who see her as something of a patron saint to American capitalism.
But before evangelicals fully commit to the tea party’s favorite budget measures — like eliminating Medicare and food aid for the poor — one vocal Christian group thinks they should know something about the movement’s famous figurehead.
Rand, perhaps best known for coining the philosophy of “Objectivism,” was the author of numerous best-selling novels, including “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” Part and parcel with her philosophy is a complete separation of government and the economy — an idea antithetical to progressives who see government partly as a policeman meant to protect individuals and communities from the worst abuses of power.
However, it’s not just Rand’s economic and regulatory arguments that has the non-profit advocacy group American Values Network (AVN) angsty: they want Republican evangelicals to know that Rand was also an atheist who quite literally hated Jesus. They’ve even produced a video to that effect.
“Ayn Rand encapsulates in a very powerful way this drift [away from Christian values], especially with the rise of the tea party which is in many ways very un-Christian,” AVN Executive Director Eric Sapp told Raw Story in an exclusive interview. “There’s a lot of political pressure to combine the Christian right with that new, powerful tea party movement on the right. Ayn Rand kind of puts the point why Christians need to be very, very wary of those who are trying to do so.”
While the AVN is officially a non-partisan organization that wants to see Christians at the helm of both political parties, they’ve been vocal supporters for a number of Democratic initiatives, such as health reform and the anti-nuclear START treaty. They also focus on non-political initiatives such as medical aid for impoverished populations and housing aid for veterans, and advocate for morality-based policy solutions to climate change.
“We look for opportunities to make a positive impact,” he said.
“Christians should hold both parties accountable and act as a moral anchor for our politics,” Sapp continued. “This is why the Ayn Rand issue is so powerful and so effective.”
He added that Jesus Christ told Christians they would know a fellow believer “by their fruit,” but that the Republican budget is “clearly bad fruit.” And he went even further: “The thing about Ayn Rand is, she shows that it’s not just the fruit, but the roots of the budget that are rotten.”
A lengthy source document providing references for all the Rand quotes they use in the video below was published to AVN’s website.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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