by Eric Sapp
Founding partner, Eleison Group

I recently wrote on why Democrats and progressives need to take some time studying Ayn Rand to fully understand the political significance of all the GOP leaders lining up to praise her. The GOP has a huge problem if their conservative religious base finds out what Rand really believed and how influential she is within senior GOP circles.

Amy Sullivan published a piece in TIME last week highlighting this disconnect and American Values Network’s (AVN) memo on it. There is a great piece in the Louisville Courier-Journal. Rev. Jen Butler at Faith in Public Life (FPL) did a piece last week pointing out the problem Rep. Paul Ryan has trying to reconcile Catholic social teaching and Rand. And FPL affiliate, Faithful America, just put up a Rand vs. Bible website.

But perhaps the most damning of all was the statement put out by Conservative Christian icon, Chuck Colson. Chuck Colson is one of the lions of the Christian right and the head of Prison Fellowship, which, all politics aside, is the best thing coming from the Christian right and a powerful ministry to a segment of society even progressives often ignore. But Colson condemned the strong support of Rand in Republican and conservative circles and urged his followers not only to stay away from the new film of Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged, but to “stay away from anyone who intends to watch the film.” Colson goes on to say Rand and her followers were precisely the types of “cranks” and “crypto-cultists” that his friend Bill Buckley had fought to purge from conservative ranks. He says the “real problem with Rand is the world view her novels and other writings sought to inculcate in her readers… it’s hard to imagine a world view more antithetical to Christianity.”

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