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House Chaplain Will Stay — After Sending Tough Letter To Ryan

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has accepted the un-resignation of House Chaplain Patrick Conroy, who issued the speaker a scathing letter withdrawing his previously tendered resignation.

Conroy says that he never spoke to Ryan about his resignation or termination but that his chief of staff Jonathan Burks requested that the chaplain step down. Asked why, Burks reportedly responded, “Maybe it’s time we had a chaplain that wasn’t a Catholic.” Burks also reportedly mentioned a prayer Conroy led in November 2017 ahead of the tax reform vote.

The chaplain had prayed for “balanced” tax reform that helps ameliorate income inequality. The tax bill that Republicans eventually passed added more than an estimated $1 trillion to the deficit while delivering the largest gains to wealthy people and corporations.

Conroy writes that he initially felt that he had “little choice” but to resign, but he now says that he would like to return to work unless fired “for cause.” He notes that though Ryan said Conroy’s “pastoral services” had been insufficient as the reason for his departure, the chaplain says he was never given any indication that he wasn’t living up to his duties. If he had been instructed on how he was failing or where he could improve, he says, he would have worked to correct his conduct.

In a statement, Ryan said he has accepted the letter and that Conroy will remain as chaplain. He said, “My original decision was made in what I believe to be the best interest of the institution. To be clear, that decision was based on my duty to ensure that the House has the kind of pastoral services it deserves.”

Read the full letter here:

Caroline O.@RVAwonk

is a good time to remember that more than 80% of white evangelical Christians voted for the thrice-married candidate who maybe had a love child, definitely paid off a porn star, & openly admitted he hasn’t been to church in yearshttps://shareblue.com/evangelicals-stormy-daniels-trump-midterm-elections/ 

NH Mountain Gal@NHmountaingal

At least House chaplain Fr. Conroy rescinded his resignation. Here is his pointed (and blistering) letter: pic.twitter.com/YWGrsV49tW

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Pastors Rebuke Ryan Over Firing Of Catholic Chaplain

Paul Ryan’s ostensible support for religious liberty was exposed as a façade when he forced the House chaplain to resign. Now, Christian pastors are reproaching him for trying “to silence the Word of God.”

Ryan reportedly threatened Father Patrick Conroy with firing if he didn’t step down on his own. The impetus appeared to be Conroy’s denouncement of the GOP tax bill during a daily prayer last November.

Indeed, as one senior Democratic aide told Shareblue Media, “We believe he was pushed out because he was praying for justice and fairness.”

Such an act would seem to be in direct opposition of the religious ideals Ryan touts. And two Christian pastors are taking him to task for it.

In a letter to Ryan posted at Medium, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II of Repairers of the Breach and Minister Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove of School for Conversion labeled Ryan’s forced ouster of Conroy as nothing less than a “true attack on religious liberty.”

Conroy told The New York Times Ryan admonished him after his prayer for the poor, telling him, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics.”

But Barber and Wilson-Hartgrove say it’s difficult to see “how you can read the Bible and stay out of politics.”

They quote Isaiah 10: “Woe unto you who legislate evil and rob the poor, making widows and orphans your prey.” The men also remind Ryan of Jeremiah 22, when God told him, “Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed.”

They highlight Jesus’ questions from the gospel of Matthew: “When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was thirsty, did you give me something to drink?” And the epistle of James is even clearer: “The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you.”

Indeed, Barber and Wilson-Hartgrove point to “over 2,000 verses in the Bible” demanding justice for the poor. And they note the long history of religious involvement in social justice movements.

“If preachers had stayed out of politics, we wouldn’t have had the abolition movement to end slavery and win the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. We wouldn’t have women’s suffrage, civil rights protections, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”

But today, Ryan and his Republican colleagues — who blocked an investigation into Conroy’s firing — have shunted that history to the side in favor of cruel partisanship.

“Speaker Ryan, who claims to champion religious liberty, has acted to silence the moral truth of Scripture,” the pastors declare. And if Conroy had to go, so too would “Moses and Isaiah, Deborah and Jesus, Frederick Douglass and Francis Perkins, Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King.”

But Ryan’s attempt to silence Conroy didn’t work on Barber and Wilson-Hartgrove, nor on their organizations.

“As preachers we cannot remain silent while those with political power try to silence the Word of God.”

It’s not the first time Ryan’s antagonism to the values he claims to uphold has been challenged by religious authorities. And the condemnation is well deserved, considering the dearth of compassionand empathy evident in his politics.

Perhaps in retirement, Ryan will have some time to review the Scripture that Barber and Wilson-Hartgrove put forth — since he seems to have forgotten it.