The Rev. Patrick Conroy wrote in an April 15 letter to Ryan obtained by NBC News: “As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives.”
“The position is one which I did not seek nor strive to assume, but I have seen it as a blessing and I have considered it one of the great privileges of my life,” Conroy said.
Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., called the move “just outrageous.”
“As someone who is a personal friend of Father Pat’s, as a lot of Democrats and Republicans are, I find it outrageous that he would be fired,” Crowley told NBC News. “He would be the first chaplain of the House of Representatives in the history of the United States” who was ousted.
There has been some suggestion that the decision to remove Conroy was a political decision rather than a religious or even a practical one:
Conroy has been blunt in some of his remarks, including a prayer about the GOP tax bill that he offered on the House floor on Nov. 6, 2017, before the legislation was passed and signed into law by President Donald Trump.
“As legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, 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,” Conroy said.
“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,” he added.
Another House member said there may have been another reason:
“Some of the more conservative evangelical Republicans didn’t like that the Father had invited a Muslim person to give the opening prayer,” the source said.
Lawmakers and members of both political parties are furious about this decision, which ought to tell Ryan something. But let’s face it, actually listening to the concerns of the American people has never been his strong suit.
It’s telling of this GOP-led Congress, though, that a popular chaplain may have may pushed out of his role because he was echoing Jesus’ call to care for the poor or allowing a member of another faith (though not atheists) to deliver the opening prayer before a legislative session.
So much for inclusion and helping the least of these.
(Screenshot via YouTube)