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The Budget As A Moral Document
July 01, 2011
Paul Ryan is in charge of the Republican plan for the budget. And he loves the writer Ayn Rand. She’s best known for her book “Atlas Shrugged,” in which she celebrates the power of the individual and what she called “rational selfishness.” Her philosophy hasn’t gone over well with some liberal religious groups, who say the plan's large cuts to federal programs overlook the idea of the common good. Two guests weigh in on the ethical struggle beneath the surface of the budget battle.
Pictured: A statue of the mythological Greek god, Atlas, in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. In "Atlas Shrugged," Rand describes the figure as "the giant who holds the weight of the world on his shoulders."
Onkar Ghate, senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, author of "Failing America's Faithful"

Theodore Bikel on Judaism, Yiddish and Playing Tevye

Begins at 22 min 28 sec

He's played characters in dozens of films, from a riverboat officer in "The African Queen" to a dialect coach in "My Fair Lady." But he will always be best known for one role: as Tevye from "Fiddler on the Roof." Bikel has performed Tevye on stage more than any other actor – more than 2,000 times. Last year he spoke to Nadine Epstein, the editor of Moment Magazine, about his career, his love of Yiddish and his deep commitment to Judaism.
Theodore Bikel, actor, folk singer and musician

Dispatches From a Spiritual Seeker: The Fringe

Begins at 40 min 45 sec

Every month since January, Andrew Bowen has immersed himself in a new religion with the help of a mentor. In June he tried something totally different: he went without a spiritual guide and tackled what he calls “The Fringe,” or any faith outside the mainstream. The month took a toll, especially on his wife.
Pictured: Bowen sits by the Lumber River near his home in North Carolina.

Andrew Bowen, creator of Project Conversion

Compassion in the First Person: Praying for Strangers

Begins at 45 min 30 sec

In 2008, River Jordan made an unusual New Year’s resolution – to pray for a stranger every day for the next year. She spotted strangers in the supermarket, at the bus stop or in a restaurant and sent them a blessing. At first, she kept the prayers to herself. But soon she discovered these small interactions could affect people in meaningful ways. This part three in our compassion series.
River Jordan, author of "Praying for Strangers"