We have learned recently that United States House of Representatives Chaplain Patrick Conroy was asked to resign by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. For anyone who knows Ryan and his affection for Ayn Rand, this should not come as a surprise. Conroy’s letter stated: “As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives.” Various reports have made it very clear that Conroy was told by Ryan to either retire or be pushed out. Chaplain Conroy had served in the role since 2011, when then-Speaker John A. Boehner hired his fellow Catholic Conroy.
Ryan is a Catholic conservative who once reportedly got up and walked out of his Janesville parish when the priest discussed social justice and helping others. Conroy is a Jesuit priest. Recall also this seeming incongruity in Ryan – he is a committed follower of Ayn Rand and her views of radical individualism.
Ryan has argued the two are not fundamentally opposed and can coexist, but scholars have questioned how Rand’s “morality of capitalism” squares with Christian teachings. Rand was an atheist who also affirmed the need for spirituality, but it’s hard to reconcile God’s grand plan with Ryan’s view that capital markets free and unfettered from regulation lead to liberation of the poor.
Reportedly, what triggered this forced resignation were two events- in the first, Conroy permitted a Muslim to give opening prayer and in the second, Conroy offered up a prayer in connection with the tax bill that passed in December, challenging the House of Representatives to make sure that the outcomes of their activity would be guided so “there are not winners and losers” but that the law’s “benefits [were] balanced and shared by all Americans.”
Democratic Representative Gerald E. Connolly has stated that in discussions with Conroy, the priest told him he speculated that was the reason for his departure. While we wait for the definitive reasons for the forced resignation, one must lament that Paul Ryan is the poster child for letting the funding by PACs turn him potentially into another PAC – a phony arse Christian. The New Testament is full of stories of Jesus helping those less fortunate, balancing the needs of all, showing love and mercy for the downtrodden and marginal. Too often anymore, we are seeing the actions of those who profess their faith but have “forgotten the face of their Father.” Recommended reading: Trumpocracy – The Corruption of the American Republic