Romney's in a Cult and Ryan's a Satanist? The GOP's 2012 Religion Woes
Colson lambasted followers of Ayn Rand as "cranks and crypto-cultists" and noted, too, that some "powerful committee members on Capital Hill indoctrinate their staffers with her tracts" - in a not-too-subtle reference to Congressman Paul Ryan's repeated declarations that Atlas Shrugged was required reading in his office.
But even that wasn't enough, apparently, so a searing June 2011 article, The Fountainhead of Satanism, published in the hard-right neoconservative Catholic journal First Things, posed the question - what if prominent U.S. congress members had been requiring their staffers to read Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey's book The Satanic Bible and were giving out the book as a Christmas gift? Wrote author Joe Carter,
"to be a follower of both Rand and Christ is not possible. The original Objectivist was a type of self-professed anti-Christ who hated Christianity and the self-sacrificial love of its founder. She recognized that those Christians who claimed to share her views didn't seem to understand what she was saying.
Many conservatives admire Rand because she was anti-collectivist. But that is like admiring Stalin because he opposed Nazism.
Few conservatives will fall completely under Rand's diabolic sway. But we are sustaining a climate in which not a few gullible souls believe she is worth taking seriously. Are we willing to be held responsible for pushing them to adopt an anti-Christian worldview? If so, perhaps instead of recommending Atlas Shrugged, we should simply hand out copies of The Satanic Bible. If they're going to align with a satanic cult, they might as well join the one that has the better holidays."
In the comment section attached to his article, Carter openly acknowledged that his article referred directly to Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.
A little later, in July 2011, compassionate conservatism's uber-guru Marvin Olasky tried to pin the ruckus on liberals, claiming in an article at his World magazine that,
"For nearly a decade Democrats have sought a religious wedge issue that could separate big chunks of white evangelical voters from their Republican home. Now they've found it, and are thrusting at the Social Darwinist/Ayn Rand underbelly of American conservatism."
But Olasky couldn't conceal his revulsion at Rand's inversion of the traditional Christian moral ethos, and called conservatives, including Paul Ryan by name, to account:
"I read Atlas Shrugged recently and respected its support for innovators who pour themselves into their businesses and its disdain for bureaucrats who think entrepreneurialism is easy and automatic. I also was amazed at the viciousness of Rand's view of Christianity, leading up to its conclusion, where the book's hero traces in the air the Sign of the Dollar, a replacement for the Sign of the Cross.
...this, sadly, is the book that a budget expert I admire, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., recommends-apparently without caveat-and tells his staffers to read. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is also a Rand fan...
...Ryan and others, if they want support from Christians, cannot merely react to the left's criticism with a shrug: They should show what in Rand they agree with and what they spurn. The GOP's big tent should include both libertarians and Christians, but not anti-Christians."
But that's precisely what Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan did; like Rand's Atlas, he shrugged.
When controversy surfaced over his past praise for Ayn Rand's ideas (which in 2005 Ryan credited as inspiring his decision to go into politics) Paul Ryan spoke out, denouncing Rand's atheism but little else.
Now charges of cultism are swirling around Mitt Romney and, unlike the attacks against Paul Ryan and the Randians back in 2011, they may be less than fair: