Editorial: Whence America’s “Soul” ?

Believe it or not, I am not writing this post as a political blog, but squarely one within the framework of spiritual formation.

A recent statement by a leader in the Tea Party movement sent chills through me.  He wrote, “At its essence, the story of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ reflects the ethos of the Tea Party.”

Oh, I surely hope not!  Anyone remotely familiar with the writing of Ayn Rand knows that she outrightly rejected the altruistic notions contained in religion and certain philosophies, preferring instead an individualistic ethos which amounts to a kind of social “survival of the fittest.”

Ayn Rand would never have gone for this line in the Declaration of Independence: “all men are created equal.”  And she would not have approved the statement engraved on the Statue of Liberty:  “give me your tired, your poor….”

If the quotation from the Tea Party leader is simply the misguided association of a political movement with a certain author, then we may be able to chalk it up to, “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”  And maybe the error can be corrected before it becomes normative.

But if the person who made the statement is correct, then what we see in the current presidential race is not so much another political campaign as it is a battle for the “soul” of America—a “soul” which has always embraced compassion and concern for the downtrodden.

If the philosophy of Ayn Rand finds its way into any movement which finally sets the tone for life in this country, it will be at the expense of historic American values, and it will be in opposition to religious ethics in general and Christianity in particular.   Jesus did not come into the world to establish the ethos Ayn Rand espoused.


About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Editorial: Whence America’s “Soul” ?

  1. Leslie Foos says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Steve!

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