According to The Hill, House Chaplain Patrick Conroy has been forced from his position by House Speaker Paul Ryan, and some are saying his ousting was precipitated by a prayer for fairness in treatment of the poor.
Conroy’s own resignation announcement stated that it was done at Ryan’s request.
“As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives,” the April 15 letter to Ryan, obtained by The Hill, states.
Through his office, Conroy, who has served as chaplain since 2011, declined to comment on Thursday. His resignation is effective May 24.
House Democrats believe Ryan pushed Conroy out “because Republicans thought he was aligned with Democrats,” and House chaplains are not to have partisan alliance.
A Democratic lawmaker said that the Speaker took issue with a prayer on the House floor that could have been perceived as being critical of the GOP tax-cut bill.
On Nov. 6 — the first day of the markup on the GOP's tax bill — Conroy in a prayer urged lawmakers to ensure the legislation did not exacerbate the nation's gaping class disparities.
"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 at the time. "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."
A Democratic aide indicated that in addition to the prayer, Conroy’s invitation to a Muslim was problematic for some lawmakers:
“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.