I am fairly certain that when Paul Ryan first decided to publicly share his admiration of Ayn Rand, he could not have imagined it would lead to him speed-walking to his SUV to avoid a young Catholic trying to give him a Bible and telling him to pay more attention to the Gospel of Luke. But that’s what happened Friday morning in downtown Washington after Ryan spoke to the surprisingly smallish crowd gathered for Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Conference.
These days, when people question a politician’s “morality,” they usually mean his or her personal behavior and choices. But an interesting thing is happening right now around the GOP budget proposal. A broad coalition of religious voices is criticizing the morality of the choices reflected in budget cuts and tax policy. And they’ve specifically targeted Ryan and his praise for Rand, the philosopher who once said she “promote[d] the ethic of selfishness.
Rep. Paul Ryan spoke this morning at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference; afterwards James Salt of Catholics United caught up with the Congressman to offer him a Bible on behalf of Faithful America, which is running a campaign encouraging Ryan to put down Ayn Rand and pick up the Bible. James also asked Ryan a pointed question about Ryan’s radical federal budget plan, which reflects Ayn Rand’s love of greed and contempt for the weak by giving huge tax breaks to millionaires while making deep and harmful cuts to programs that protect seniors, struggling families and the middle class:
“Why did you choose to model your budget off the extreme ideology of Ayn Rand rather than values of basic economic justice in the Bible?”
Ryan’s claims just don’t hold water. As Rand herself pointed out many times, her worldview is entirely at odds with Christianity and all other faiths that teach concern for others.
Since Ryan clearly needs to brush up on his theology, we here at Faithful America (FPL’s online action arm) are asking Ryan to put down Ayn Rand and pick up the Bible. For every 1,000 petition signatures we collect we’ll hand-deliver one Bible to Ryan’s DC office and maybe toss in a Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church for good measure.
Ryan is entitled to his own political philosophy and theology, but he’s not entitled to pass off Randian, cruel budget cuts as examples of Christian charity without somebody calling him on the contradiction.
It’s too early to tell who will take Beck’s place in FOX’s lineup, but thanks to the work of Faithful America, Jewish Funds for Justice, Sojourners, Media Matters, Color of Change and the entire Stop Beck effort, I doubt we’ll see another host who quite like Beck anytime soon.