News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 18, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: June 18, 2013

The Tribune-Star

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Beware those who follow Ayn Rand

What is happening to the common good today? Whether one is an evangelical, a mainline Protestant, a Roman Catholic or is from another faith tradition, I hope that you’ll read on about some concerns that I have. I would like to raise a very serious issue to you, one that is changing our secular and our faith lives. Today the social ethic of the “common good” is under attack.

While I am a minister in the Christian tradition and speak in those terms, these issues are equally important and related to other faith traditions as they are also equally under attack.

The Judeo Christian social ideas in our Bible are being challenged today as never before by the philosophy of Ayn Rand who wrote in the ’60s and ’70s, died in the ’80s, but still influences today persons such as Alan Greenspan and several of our more conservative government representatives as well as others who espouse to be her devotees. Below are just a few points of the social and religious beliefs of Ayn Rand and her disciples.

She believed greed is good.

She believed that all of a country’s wealth should be in the hands of an extremely few individuals at the top of the economy.

She believed that the old, the young, the poor and the handicapped are of no importance to the government or society and she considered them parasites.

She felt that social programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and programs for the handicapped should be abolished.

She thought that selfishness was a virtue.

She thought volunteerism was stupid.

She felt that anyone who believes that he is his brother’s keeper is a fool.

She was not only an Atheist but was openly antagonistic toward religion of any kind.

She certainly did not believe in Jesus Christ nor in the social ethic found in the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, etc.

She totally rejected the Golden Rule that is found in the Bible as well as in other faith traditions.

Now we have a self-proclaimed Ayn Rand disciple in the position of creating the GOP U.S. House budget plan, namely Paul Ryan. Not only is he a devotee of Rand, but he also requires that his staff read her writings. He is considered the intellectual leader of the Republicans in the House, the “darling” of those newly elected to “straighten out” the rest of us. His social economic beliefs are totally based on Rand’s teachings and philosophy.

So it is no surprise the Ryan/Rand budget attacks Social Security, Medicare, aid to the homeless and the handicapped, while lowering tax rates for those making $1 million or more. Just look at the top of the list above and then look at the spiritual/philosophical tenets at the bottom that are those of this Congressman’s guru.

On two occasions I have asked our own 8th District Congressman Bucshon whether he is also a Rand disciple as is his colleague. I’ve also asked if he requires his staff to read the writings of Ayn Rand.

He has not replied to any direct question about this.

I urge you to study the beliefs of Ayn Rand; do not take my word for it as to what her beliefs are and who bases their own beliefs on hers.

See how her ideas are being pushed into our increasingly secular society’s direction. Is this the kind of society we really want? One that values the haves over the haves not? One that bases economic “success” at the expense of those “have nots?” One that lifts up the kind of disdain for others that we find in the words of Ayn Rand?

I hear these kinds of things coming out of the mouths of avowed Christians and can’t help but wonder how they reconcile these philosophies with their spiritual beliefs.

— Dr. William C. Hine

Educator and

ordained minister

Terre Haute

Poor excuse for gas price hikes

How many more excuses are the oil companies going to use to gouge the public with high gas prices? They  shut down the refineries this time of year every year just to hike gas prices. The only shortage is the one they create.

Terre Haute is between two of the biggest oil refineries, and we still get hit by high gas prices. If supply is this tight when one refinery goes down, then build more refineries. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

With all these profits, oil companies can afford to build refineries.

Build, baby, build!

— Butch King

Terre Haute