Ryan VP pick puts Catholic Bishops in a real quandary
Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate Saturday is a good news-bad news situation for Catholic Bishops. Ryan is a Catholic, staunchly pro-life, and against contraception. The bad news is that the Bishops have had serious issues with Ryan’s policies and have called his proposals “immoral.” They are less than thrilled that he is a disciple of Ayn Rand.
Most Bishops support Romney because he calls for the overturn of Roe v Wade, and he opposes the contraception rule. Romney says Obama has declared a war on religion, a theme he lifted from Catholic Bishops. The “war on religion” is all about a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires insurance companies to provide free contraception to women policy holders—if they want it. It is not forced on them.
The Bishops strongly oppose that rule and dedicated a “Fortnight for Freedom” to rally Catholics to take action against Obama’s the contraception rule.
Although a Catholic, Paul Ryan has been a long time member of the Atlas Society, a group that advocates the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Rand is a 20th-century novelist and atheist best known for her philosophy that is centered on the idea that selfishness is “virtue.” Jesus and two millenniums of Catholic theology teach the opposite that selfishness is “wrong.”
Rand described altruism as “evil,” and condemned Christianity for advocating “compassion for the poor. The Church has advocated compassion for the poor for 2,000 years. Rand viewed the feminist movement as “phony,” and called Arabs “almost totally primitive savages, hardly a Catholic position.
Ryan professed himself as a strong devotee of Rand. He credits her for inspiring him to enter politics at a young age. At a gathering honoring the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead,” Ryan said “If I have to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. I give out copies of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it.”
Catholic clergy and Bishops wrote to Ryan expressing their opinions that the philosophy of Ayn Rand is contrary to the teachings of Jesus and the Church. Ryan immediately tried to disavow his belief in Rand. The problem is that there are video tapes of Ryan saying otherwise. If it weren’t for video, Ryan might have gotten away with his make-over.
A bigger dilemma for the Bishops is the Ryan Budget. The U.S. Conference of Bishops wrote to Ryan condemning the plan for the severe cuts it makes to programs the poor rely on. Some suggested Ryan’s budget was closer to the teachings of Any Rand than Jesus.
The Bishops have been supported by Catholic Nuns and Franciscans. They have invited both Romney and Ryan to spend a day with them so they can better understand what their policies will do to the poor.
This situation presents a moral and theological dilemma for Bishops and Catholics. Do they support Romney & Ryan when their policies will do so much harm to the poor? Or do they support Obama even though they oppose the contraception rule? [More]