Ryan’s controversial firing of house chaplain just keeps getting worse constant heartburn and burping

The unforced error of Paul Ryan’s firing of House chaplain Father Pat Conroy just keeps getting worse. It was bad enough when it seemed to be about the fact that he gave a prayer before the House took up their tax scam that suggested that they approach it while thinking about the poor. Here’s that prayer: 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.

Yes, definitely fighting words there. But now Democrats are pointing to a brief but candid interview Conroy gave to the National Journal back in January, in which he talked about the recent sexual scandals, the ‘War on Christmas,’ and spirituality on the Hill.


Now, maybe he was fired because he said this: I’ve never seen any evidence of a war on Christmas; I’m sorry. What the heck is the ‘War on Christmas’ other than a cheap line at a political rally? Honestly. Christmas does not need defending. More fighting words, if you are a Republican. But he also talked about the reality that the institution does not handle itself well. Asked Have you been approached by members or staffers with a sexual scandal? What was your approach in dealing with it? he answered honestly. Not sexual. Workplace abuse, though. … I called the office that takes such things and I called the speaker’s office and I said, “I got this complaint from a chief of staff for one of the members and I don’t know for the sake of the House … what do you do with this?” They said they’d get back to me if there was anything further they thought I could do. But I still don’t know what the answer is to that. When I interviewed for this position, I told [then-Speaker John Boehner], “If somebody comes to me with something, do you want me to go to the D.C. police, the Capitol Police, or do you want me to come to you?” He says, “No, you come to me.” All right. What do I do after I’ve done that? Do I follow up? Which is what I asked him, because they were asking me why I didn’t follow up more with child abuse when I reported somebody. Because you don’t follow up with an archbishop. You don’t follow up with the speaker. … I’m waiting for the day when an adult comes in and tells me that when they were a page they were abused. I’m waiting for that day. […]

If the House doesn’t police itself, I don’t know who does. … Think about it: Who are the people that run for office? Are they all highly skilled in every endeavor? No! They’re not. Many of them, I can tell you, don’t know how to say hello in the hallway, let alone work with office people that maybe they don’t think they have to listen to.

So you can have neither honesty, nor transparency, nor an expression of religious or Christian values if you want to be Paul Ryan’s chaplain. Any way you look at this, it’s a disaster for Ryan both politically and for his efforts to appear human.