Rep. Paul Ryan drew hosannas from the Rom-Paul announcement crowd in Norfolk yesterday by wheezing, "Our rights come from nature and God, not from government." Of course, the Battleship Irony in front of which Ryan said these words wouldn't have been around to secure those rights if we hadn't instituted a big government among men to build those big guns.

And Paul Ryan's philosophical godmother, avowed atheist Ayn Rand, would say God had nothing to do with it:

Ayn Rand said religion is "evil," a "sign of a psychological weakness." Ever the Nietzschean überfrau, Rand said, "I am the creator of a new code of morality... not based on faith."

Paul Ryan says that Randian morality does "a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism." As we've discussed previously, Ryan cloaks his Randian-atheist political philosophy in Catholicism, and does so shabbily and theologically wrongly.

I suppose I should be happy. For the first time ever, a major American political party will nominate two non-Christian cultists for the Presidential ticket. Mitt Romney is a Mormon who rejects the basic completeness of the Bible. Paul Ryan is a pretend Catholic who bases his politics on the atheist writings of weird demi-tyrant Ayn Rand. Conservative men of faith are twisting themselves into pretzels of religious tolerance to declare Paul Ryan a good choice. For those of us seeking to prove that atheists are Americans, too, the Ryan nomination could shout, "Mission Accomplished!"

But as I've told some right-wing correspondents who try to paint me into the tolerance corner, I don't consider tolerance a primary value. I don't tolerate deliberate philosophical dishonesty. And Catholic Paul Ryan's public piety, paired with his willingness to turn Ayn Rand's selfish atheism into public policy, is deliberate philosophical dishonesty. For the next three months millions of faithful Republicans will commit similar dishonesty, telling themselves that Paul Ryan, who embraces an atheist philosophy, who writes a budget to take from the poor and give to the rich, affirms that America is an exceptional Christian nation. Ugh.

As an atheist, I reject Paul Ryan's selfish Randian values. If I were a Christian, I'd do the same.

Related: John Nichols of The Nation says Romney has ceded the floor to Ryan, making the election a referendum on the Ryan politics that now define the Republican Party and giving us a harder right ticket than we've seen since Goldwater-Miller 1964, "when the true believers got a nominee, a platform and 39 percent of the vote." In 1964, Ayn Rand endorsed Goldwater, although she got mad when she perceived he went soft.