Congress Religion

Paul Ryan Fired the House Chaplain For Praying About Taxes

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Although he has spent most of his time in Congress trying to starve and kill the poor, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) likes to cite his Catholic faith when he feigns concern for the poor.

But we all know Paul Ryan is a fake poverty warrior and he may have a fake Catholic, too.

Speaker Ryan has reportedly fired Father Patrick Conroy, only the second Catholic priest to ever hold the position of House Chaplain and the first chaplain to ever be fired, because he prayed for equal opportunity for all Americans.

According to Conroy's resignation letter, Ryan scolded him for saying this:

“May all members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle. May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”

That's a generously vague and noncontroversial thing to say, but Paul Ryan apparently took it as an affront to his tax cuts for the rich.

Now, this is ugly enough, but it could get uglier.

Evangelicals in the House are now all but saying the next House Chaplain should not be Catholic.

"I'm looking for somebody who has a little age, that has adult children, that kind of can connect with the bulk of the body here, Republicans and Democrats who are going through, back home the wife, the family ... that has some counseling experience ... because what's needed in the body here is people who can sit down with different members, male, female, Democrat, Republican, and just talk about what it is kind of to be up here," Walker, a Southern Baptist minister and chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told reporters Thursday.

A lot of people are going to be dismissive of this because who cares about the House Chaplain, right? But I think this is bigger than that.

You can't go five minutes without a Republican lecturing someone about free speech and religious liberty, but they've fired a Catholic priest and might replace him with someone more radical for purely political reasons.

The only religion Republicans are interested in defending is radical conservative Christianity. Everything else is bullshit.

  • Victor the Crab

    Where’s Scopedog’s Fuck Ryan meme when it’s truly needed the most here?

  • Christopher Foxx

    That’s a generously vague and noncontroversial thing to say, but Paul Ryan apparently took it as an affront to his tax cuts for the rich.

    Why shouldn’t he take it as an affront? That’s exactly what it is.

    Calling for fair and equal treatment for all is very much calling for something Ryan’s tax plan is very much not.

    The problem is that Ryan believes that, of the two, the prayer is the offensive thing.

  • muselet

    After noting that Patrick Conroy is a Jesuit—and noting Conroy’s faux-quizzical response to Paul Ryan’s claim the prayer in question was too political—Charlie Pierce had this to say:

    Ryan can’t seem to learn the fundamental lesson that you do not fck with The Society. When he was employed as a millstone on the 2012 Republican presidential ticket, Ryan got crossways with the Jesuits at Georgetown, to his hilarious disadvantage. Since then, he’s been running his Concerned Conservative Catholic rap on any sucker who’ll listen, although his primary Scriptural sources still seem to come from the First Epistle of Paul to the Bagmen.


    As for Mark Walker, his I’m-not-sayin’-I’m-just-sayin’ line is anti-Catholic bigotry gussied up with a heaping helping of furrowed-brow concern for the spiritual needs of his colleagues with wives and children.

    Lovely people. Simply lovely.


  • Draxiar

    There’s nothing about the modern Republican Party that is Christ-like. In fact it’s staggeringly un-Christ-like. They love them some Jesus except all that peace, love, and neighbor helping stuff…that’s for wussies.

  • Badgerite

    Representative Spineless strikes again.

  • Aynwrong

    Paul Ryan and his entire party claim that one’s religious values is an acceptable reason to pass legislation that would deny Gay people the right to marry, women the right to an abortion and transgendered people the right to use a public bathroom but a Catholic priest can be fired for gently chiding tax policy.

    The Republican party is bathing in it’s own hypocrisy.

    • Christopher Foxx

      But he didn’t chide tax policy. He prayed that their efforts would be fair to all. If that’s causing a problem, it’s because of the policy, not the prayer.

      Ryan’s response is typical of modern “conservatives”: When a Republican does something wrong and another person points it out, the “crime” isn’t the wrong thing the Republican did. It’s that someone drew attention to it.