CNN Belief Blog Highlights Christian Debate Over Ayn Rand, But Would They Hit Christian Democrats Over Social Issues?

July 1st, 2011 12:21 PM

CNN asked Wednesday if a person can follow "both Ayn Rand and Jesus," pulling quotes from both a Democrat and a fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights to answer that Christianity and Rand's philosophy oppose each other. Buried deep within the post on CNN's Belief Blog was the contrary view that Christians can adopt certain tenants of Rand's philosophy while rejecting others contrary to their faith.

The question is popular among Christians at odds with the Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), a Catholic, who is a fan of Rand and her defense of capitalism and individualism. The American Values Network (AVN) in particular has tried to make known his endorsement of Rand and pitch it side-by-side with her anti-religious beliefs.

Eric Sapp is the AVN's executive director and was quoted in the piece hitting Christian Republicans for endorsing Rand. Sapp, according to a bio in the Huffington Post, helped found a political consulting group to work with Democrats and the "progressive faith community" on voter outreach.

In the past, Sapp was also a legislative aid to none other than the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, which shows where his real political beliefs lie. CNN was content not to report this, simply saying that Sapp was the executive director of the American Values Network.

The rest of the article focused on the debate between Rand and Christianity, which does raise some poignant questions. For instance, if Rand offered a moral defense of capitalism and individualism and praised self-interest, how much of her philosophy squares with the Christian principles of charity, sacrifice, and caring for the poor?

Both Sapp and a fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights argued essentially that Christianity and Rand's philosophy of "Objectivism" are incompatible. They opined that Rand preached selfishness and egoism, while Onkar Ghate at the Ayn Rand center insisted that Christ preached a message of "altruism and collectivism."

Really, the only argument to the contrary that CNN presented was this one sentence towards the end of the piece: "Defenders of Rand say that a person can adopt elements of Rand’s philosophy and reject whatever clashes with their faith."

However, some Christians who oppose the marriage between Rand and Republicans also support the Democrat Party, which generally holds beliefs in contradiction with the Catholic Church and many Christian churches – such as support of gay marriage and abortion. Would CNN's Belief Blog be willing to address that rift in faith?

To read the entire blog post, click here.