Conscience

Who can blame Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for forcing out the House chaplain after the Rev. Pat Conroy prayed something as odious as suggesting that lawmakers, in voting on a tax cut bill, make sure “there are not winner and losers under the new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans”?

Conroy, a Jesuit priest, obviously forgot where he was: He was in the U.S. House of Representatives, opening a session with a prayer. Those prayers are supposed to be suggestions like:

“Hug a lobbyist today.”

“Deny all inappropriate behavior today.”

Things like that.

Suggesting that a tax cut bill be fair to all Americans, not just the wealthy?

You can see why Ryan’s aide told Conroy something like, “maybe it’s time we had a chaplain that wasn’t a Catholic.”

Darn those Catholics, anyway, prattling on about fairness when they should know, especially when praying to Congress, that fairness starts and ends with the powerful. What does Conroy think he’s doing? Emulating the Pope?

Well, as it turns out, after the priest went public, Ryan – who is afraid of his own shadow, especially when it’s big, bulky and has orange hair – rehired Conroy. And he plans to meet with Conroy “so that we can move forward for the good of the whole House,” according to the Associated Press.

Well, sure, as long as the “good” ends up in the hands of the powerful and the chaff gets distributed to those less fortunate.

We say this: Good for the Rev. Pat Conroy. It’s about time religious folks spoke up. Perhaps what this Jesuit did will spark some bouts of conscience among other religious leaders, at least those not busy hobnobbing with Paul Ryan and his ilk.

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