Debates over how far to go in restricting abortion will likely extend all the way up to the Republican presidential primary, with likely candidates already working hard for Christian Right support.Donald Trump, who says he will announce next month whether he will run for president, called the Family Research Council’s Perkins last week to chat for the first time, even though the thrice-married Trump isn’t exactly known as a “family values” Republican.“Trump knows to get to square one in the Republican primary process he has to show people that he’s pro-life,” says Perkins. “Whether he can get to square number two is another question.”That’s the question posed by a provocative media campaign that claims that some prominent conservative leaders cannot serve two masters: Jesus and the controversial author of « Atlas Shrugged, » Ayn Rand.
The American Values Network, a group of political activists and pastors, sparked a debate when it recently released a video challenging some conservative and Republican leaders’ professed admiration for Rand, an atheist who saw selfishness as a virtue and celebrated unfettered capitalism.Eric Sapp, AVN’s executive director, said the Republican Party cannot portray itself as a defender of Christian values and then defend the worldview of « the patron saint of selfishness » who scorned religion and compassion.Sapp singled out Republican leaders such as Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh after all of them expressed admiration for Rand.Ryan, architect of the GOP’s propsed budget and Medicare plan, once said that Rand’s philosophy was “sorely needed right now,” and that she did a great job of explaining “the morality of capitalism.”
Rand died in 1982, but she remains polarizing. The great recession has triggered new interest in her novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” The book depicts a bleak future where the U.S. government has seized control of private industry and discouraged innovation.The book may have been rooted in Rand’s childhood trauma. She was born in Russia in 1905, and saw the Communist Party come to power in a violent revolution. Her family was left destitute after party officials seized her father’s business.She immigrated to the United States where she eventually became a screenwriter. She ultimately made her mark through her novels. Critics say Rand’s characters were stilted mouthpieces for her philosophy of Objectivism, which insists that individuals should be driven by “rational self-interest.” Still, « Atlas Shrugged » is now considered one of the most influential books of the 20th century.Rand’s philosophy didn’t say much good about religion. In a 1964 Playboy interview posted on the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights site, she said that religious faith is “a negation of human reason” and charity wasn’t a virtue.