I have noted in numerous post how Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives claims to be a "devout Catholic" even as the reverse Robin Hood agenda he has pushed for years is diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church's social gospel which makes helping the poor, the hungry, the homeless and the sick a priority. Ryan's policies, indeed, seek to kick those very categories of people into the gutter while lavishing tax cuts on the obscenely wealthy. Ryan's hypocrisy is on a par with that of evangelicals who want to police the sex lives of others yet support a morally bankrupt and confessed sexual predator that occupies the White House. Now, with the firing of House chaplain, Jesuit priest, for lamenting the misplaced priorities of the Republican majority has put Ryan's hypocrisy on glaring display (while also raising the issue of the impropriety of having congressional chaplains in the first place). A column in Esquire looks at Ryan's behavior. Here are highlights:
Right around 1817, after his term as president and having retired to the family homestead at Montpelier in Virginia, James Madison, who never stopped thinking about things, jotted down some further thoughts on one of his favorite subjects—the danger of mixing religious faith and secular, godless politics. He was pretty clear about where he stood. He was opposed even to the idea of congressional chaplains:
The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment . . . . The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority] shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority.
[R]ecent events have added a third reason for not having congressional chaplains. Because, one day, a zombie-eyed granny starver might become Speaker of the House and fire a chaplain for The New York Times: as regards the theological basis for sacred tax cuts. From
Though Father Conroy said he did not know whether politics were behind his departure, he pointed to a prayer he had given on the House floor in November, when Congress was debating tax overhaul legislation.
“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,” he prayed. “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.”
About a week later, Father Conroy said, he heard from the speaker’s office. “A staffer came down and said, We are upset with this prayer; you are getting too political,” he said. . . . . “That is what I have tried to do for seven years,” Father Conroy said. “It doesn’t sound political to me.” “If you are hospital chaplain, you are going to pray about health,” he added. “If you are a chaplain of Congress, you are going to pray about what Congress is doing.”
Fr. Conroy is a Jesuit. 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.
However, as this incident makes clear, and even though he has announced that he will blight our lives no more next year, Paul Ryan plans to “run through the tape” in his tireless search for ways to be a public jerk. Mr. Madison says, “I told you so.”