Progressive people of faith and Democrats need to take some time studying Ayn Rand to fully understand the political significance of all the conservative leaders lining up to praise her.

The GOP has a huge problem if its conservative religious base finds out what Rand really believed and how influential she is within senior GOP circles.

Amy Sullivan published a piece in Time magazine highlighting this disconnect. There is a great piece in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Jen Butler, executive director of Faith in Public Life (FPL), did a piece pointing out the problem U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan has trying to reconcile Catholic social teaching and Rand. Faithful America just put up a Rand vs. Bible website.

But perhaps the strongest statement put out was by conservative Christian icon Chuck Colson.

Colson is one of the lions of the Christian right and the founder of Prison Fellowship, which, all politics aside, is the best thing coming from the Christian right and a powerful ministry to a segment of society even progressives often ignore.

But Colson condemned the strong support of Rand in Republican and conservative circles and urged his followers not only to stay away from the new film of Rand’s book, “Atlas Shrugged,” but to “stay away from anyone who intends to watch the film.”

Colson said Rand and her followers were precisely the types of “cranks” and “crypto-cultists” that his friend Bill Buckley had fought to purge from conservative ranks.

He said the “real problem with Rand is the world view her novels and other writings sought to inculcate in her readers … it’s hard to imagine a world view more antithetical to Christianity.”

So what is Colson talking about?

A week before his statement, American Values Network released a memo with a large number of Rand quotes where she says she is out to destroy the church and Judeo-Christian morality.

She argued that people had to choose between following her teachings or those of Christianity and other religious traditions. Rand said religion was “evil,” called the message of John 3:16 “monstrous,” argued that the weak are beyond love and undeserving of it, that loving your neighbor was immoral and impossible, and that she was out to undermine the idea that charity was a moral duty and virtue. And that is just a sampling.

So what was the GOP response to this attack on Judeo-Christian and family values, not to mention on Christ himself?

·  “Ayn Rand, you’ve got to love Ayn Rand. She’s great.” – Glenn Beck

·  “Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism… It’s that kind of thinking, that kind of writing that is sorely needed right now.” – U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)

· “I am a fan of Ayn Rand, and I’ve read all her novels.” – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

· “The brilliant writer and novelist, Ayn Rand.” – Rush Limbaugh

·  Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) said “Atlas Shrugged” is his “foundational book.”

Despite Colson’s warnings, Fox News spent weeks promoting Rand’s new movie and encouraging viewers to go see it – advice most every member of the GOP leadership took to heart!

It’s hard to reconcile leaders of “God’s Own Party” praising someone who is about as anti-Christ as one can get.

Eric Sapp is executive director of The American Values Network. This column first appeared on his blog and is adapted with permission.

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