Do Bible thumpers and Ayn Randians belong together?

I joined Thom Hartmann on The Big Picture, his television program, to talk with him about The Soul of Atlas: Ayn Rand, Christianity, a Quest for Common Ground. He open the segment with these words:

Ayn Rand hated altruism, religion, and pretty much everything you associate with Christianity. So what’s an evangelical Christian doing championing Objectivism – a philosophy invented by the godmother of libertarianism herself? Objectivism is all about celebrating – money – greed – and the individual will – the very opposite of what Jesus was talking about when he said “it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

While I would enjoyed discussing the heart of the common ground between Ayn Rand’s idea of each individual pursuing the highest and best occupation for himself and the Christian’s occupation with God, we didn’t really get to that in our conversation. To be honest, I was somewhat caught off guard, derailed by a controversial phrase before I could suggest that Christians believe it is in their self-interest to pursue God with our whole heart and mind.

Instead, we talked about the meaning of “promote the general welfare” in the Constitution of the United States. The preamble reads…

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That phrase in the middle caught me, and he jumped on the opportunity. He suggested that “promoting the general welfare” stands against and opposed to the idea of limited government. I think (we didn’t have time, so I don’t know for sure) that he would say, in some ways, the government SHOULD be the benefactor of the people.

What is the rightful role of the government today? How important is the Constitution in answering that question?

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