Not even the House chaplain is safe

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thomas Veil, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #1
    Whoops. Got caught teaching Do Unto Others again. Didn’t he realize where he was?
     
  2. duffman9000 macrumors 68000

    duffman9000

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    #2
    Ryan asked Conroy to resign and then turns around and says the decision to resign was Conroy's? What was Conroy supposed to do? Refuse to resign?
     
  3. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #3
    I'm not sure being frank should be regarded as Partisan.
     
  4. Zenithal macrumors 604

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    #4
    Ryan ought to pray he doesn't go straight to hell.

    Because Ryan is a rat.
     
  5. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #5
    I guess if a Roman Catholic chaplain is into social justice, and also realizes it's okay for a Muslim cleric to offer a prayer from the well of the House , but he ends up leaving, by invitation --which is how it went down no matter how it gets retrofitted now-- then the House Freedom Caucus really is wagging the House these days.

    Somewhat aside from First Amendment issues, are we heading back to someplace where Catholics are openly considered not-quite-Christians by some Protestant denominations? That HFC crew has got too big for britches. Ryan's wise to depart since he can't seem to manage them for beans. It's time for a GOP Speaker with some spine and a sense that he leads the House for all Americans. Not sure that's what we're about to get though, if the Rs hold the place in November.
     
  6. Zenithal macrumors 604

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    #6
    Oh, don't start on Catholics. I spent most of last night reading some inane drivel on another forum I view where they were discussing the JFK files. That said, Ryan should have departed years ago. I sometimes wonder how people like him can supposedly go to a university, get two degrees, and be a dumbass.
     
  7. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #7
    That’s a current issue in Congress- frankness, honesty, and truth are not appreciated when expressed in opposition to their lame ideas. Asking for his resignation is the partisan act. :(
     
  8. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #8
    I hope that taxpayer money does not pay for a chaplain - surely members of Congress can observe their religion in private (or are they arguing the public sector is a better provider of religion?). I could see having chaplains for people facing immediate life and death issues, such as the military, but Congress?
     
  9. mac_in_tosh macrumors 6502

    mac_in_tosh

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    #9
    They need one too, considering all the sinners there. ;)
     
  10. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    #10
    I've never understood why they need a chaplain. This defies the separation of church from state.

    It's obviously not benefitting anyone anyway, since no member of Congress subscribes either to Hillel's "do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you," or Jesus' "do unto others what you would have them do to you."
     
  11. Arran macrumors 601

    Arran

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    #11
    What? And miss his homecoming? Not likely.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 27, 2018 ---
    Well quite. This is the first honest thing Ryan's done: End the "fake-Christian" charade.
     
  12. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #12
    I wasn't actually starting in on Catholics. I meant to point out only that there has been a time in America where Catholics and Protestants began to work better together. In the past 30 years it seems to have been moving the other way again, thanks to conservative politics surfacing in the pulpit on both sides. I regard that as secondarily (yeah, secondarily) focused on the abortion issue, since both RC and evangelical Protestants hold that concern high, but "social justice" issues are the primary area of political difference in the world of chipping away at legislative goals that can actually pass Constitutional muster.

    The RC, Jews, Muslims and some Protestants, even some evangelicals, seem in agreement that social safety nets are a fundamental part although not the whole of a living translation of "do unto others" (or "do not do unto others" as @AlliFlowers reminded).

    However, some extremely vocal evangelical "leaders" seem politically moored in alleged desire for fiscal conservatism, yet they are mired in hypocrisy by translating that as meaning just conservation of personal wealth. I find that... dare I use the word... a deplorable situation versus traditional Christian values. The whole "gospel of prosperity" is just a total nonstarter for the actual religion from which its proponents claim to have sprung it, but.. there it is and it has millions of adherents, and they vote for dudes like Donald Trump, a false god if there was ever one walking on this planet.

    In my not particularly humble opinion we all did better when religion remained as it is under the Constitution, one's perfect right to practice or not, as desired, and meanwhile politics stayed out of the pulpit and sectarians did not advocate for their religious interpretations of good government from the floor of our legislative chambers. It was in that spirit that work on civil rights were advanced in the 1960s and 70s. But we know Donald Trump's views on that since he suggests doing away with the Johnson Amendment and meanwhile indicates its enforcement will be minimized. We're going backwards if we follow this guy as a default standard.

    As far as chaplains in our House and Senate are involved: it's traditional and "it can't hurt" to have someone invoke a higher power while asking that power to imbue our legislators with a little decency towards their ordinary constituents. Worst case the dude prays to a fictional representation of the best of human nature but meanwhile the prayer reminds some half-snoozing Senator that the taxpayers butter his bread. A chaplain is there to minister to the spiritual needs of a legislative chamber, not proselytize for his sect. We're not forcibly committed to a sect, to atheism or to formal agnosticism in this country but that doesn't mean we don't have spiritual concerns and it doesn't mean they're not shared by Congress critters.
     
  13. Zenithal macrumors 604

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    #13
    Liz, I believe you've misread my post. I was poking fun at silly people I saw arguing that the extension to JFK's files was due to a conspiracy theory of the Kennedy family in cahoots with the Catholic Church, including the Pope. Though, I do agree with your post. This is not a Christian country. This is not an English only country. People are and should be free to practice their religion and speak whatever language they prefer. Though it is wise to learn English as it is nearing a universal language. What happened on the senate floor was a nice gesture, the reaction to it by Ryan is not.

    Though, in good faith, I can only say there's a select group of people in Congress who I believe are true to their faith, and not using it as a means to get ahead and go against all the teachers. Congress critters indeed.

    I can speak at length on the stupidity of some people and safety nets. Both for those who want them and those who oppose them. Nothing is ever perfect. Except a good Riesling.
     
  14. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    #14
    I've now decided the only honest thing to do is for Congress to select a Russian Orthodox priest.

    Right?
     
  15. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040

    Mac'nCheese

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    #15
    Or have a White House scientist instead of a Chaplain. I nominate NDT.
     
  16. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    #16
    Don't be silly. That would not only make sense, but NDT would tell them how he really feels.
     
  17. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #17
    Here's what a couple Washington Post commenters thought. The GOP has this coming to them. :p

    DontLikeThePoor?TryLesbianParentChaplain.jpg
     
  18. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #18
    Well it looks like this House chaplain is safe after all.

    Congressional chaplain can stay in job: House Speaker

     
  19. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #19
  20. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #20
    Tradition... while not ignoring the establishment clause, legitimacy of the position depends mostly on the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."​

    And believe me, if some Democrat got up and tried to move a "sense of the House" resolution that it was way past time for the body to eliminate its chaplaincy, the entire GOP caucus would rise as one to call the dude out of order.

    That the majority of the 115th iteration of the Republican side of the House considers the chaplain's position one that belongs in the hands of a Christian goes without saying.

    If the sense of the House motion proposed by a Democrat were instead to stipulate that the post should revolve among clerics of major religions, it would still be rejected.

    But... the next member to rise with a sense of the House proposal after that would be a Republican seeing handwriting on the wall and so then moving to kill the postion.

    Go figure. It's 115th Congress rules: 1. My way or highway. 2. Dog in the manger. ​

    The establishment clause of the First Amendment doesn't prohibit expression of religious piety from the floor of either house of Congress by anyone including a chaplain... it just prohibits establishment of a state religion. Ironic in a way since some say one or more of assorted sectarian reasons (rather than the "tax bill prayer" or any perceived political lean on the padre's part) were behind Ryan's original request that Fr. Conroy resign in the first place.

    The chaplain had invited a Muslim cleric to offer a prayer at opening of a House session sometime last year, which idea may have got some conservatives riled up. Some of them insist the nation's a Christian one despite the Establishment clause, just not Roman Catholic (right church, wrong pew?) and certainly not Muslim (wrong "church"). One could wonder whether the one true God --if there is just one-- must sometimes find all this at least mildly annoying. If there are more than one, we're likely all in a lot of trouble.

    Some evangelicals had apparently made noise about how it was time for a chaplain "with a family" which some Dems took as anti-Roman Catholic and/or a bid to install a seriously political chaplain, since the evangelicals have embraced the idea that politics belongs in the pulpit for decades now anyway... but LOL not just any politics.

     
  21. AsherN macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I favour a Rabbi. Either Orthodox, or a Reform lesbian Rabbi with adopted multi racial children.
     
  22. VulchR, May 5, 2018
    Last edited: May 7, 2018

    VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #22
    To my legally untrained eye, having a religious figure paid for by the taxpayer to what? – influence the members of Congress? – sounds to me like establishing religion. Also, note that 1A refers to 'establishing religion', not 'establishing a religion'. Not having the taxpayer fund a religious person for Congress does not preclude anybody from observing their religion. The money would be better spent is so many other ways. Also, the Supreme Court ruled that freedom of religion also entails freedom from religion.
     
  23. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #23
    No argument from me but to bounce the chaplaincy itself is not going to happen at the hands of a Republican Congress.

    Some of those dudes might not have liked the warning shots that Conroy was firing across the bow with the tax bill prayer and prior to that his invitation to a Muslim cleric to open one of the House sessions last year. But, they're not going to be the ones to take a chaplain off the floor of the House of Representatives. And if the Dems tried to do it there'd be hell to pay.

    So, we're probably stuck with a couple of chaplains for awhile yet. It comes down to tradition. I could not say it any better than this Bloomberg piece from today does.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/arti...plain-is-rooted-in-tradition-not-constitution

    From the intro:

    The real reason we still have a House chaplain is that we’ve always had one. The Continental Congress overcame some internal dissension to pick a chaplain. And the first Congress established under the Constitution continued the tradition.

    James Madison, drafter of the First Amendment, father of the Constitution and a lifelong advocate for religious liberty, served on the committee that approved the appointment. In later years, he would say that he had never really agreed to the chaplaincy. After retiring from the presidency, he even wrote an undated document arguing that the chaplaincy was unconstitutional and inconsistent with religious freedom.

    But the truth is that, when he had the chance, Madison didn’t want to expend political capital in what would probably have been a losing fight against the chaplaincy. Had he argued unsuccessfully at the time that the chaplaincy violated the First Amendment, he might have created a precedent for Congress openly flouting the amendment. So he kept his mouth shut until years later.​

    From the wrap:

    Speaker Paul Ryan’s failed attempt to get rid of Catholic House chaplain Patrick Conroy is a case in point. Had Ryan respected tradition and let the chaplain stay in office, there would have been no public speculation about whether he was being removed to placate evangelicals who wanted a Protestant sympathetic to their point of view.

    The lesson is that, even constitutionally, it can sometimes be best to let sleeping dogs lie. When fundamental rights are in question, the court should brook no compromise in protecting them. But where a provision, like the establishment clause, has evolved in the direction of promoting social inclusion, we should remember that the worthy goal should not be obscured by an insistence on absolutism or perfect logical coherence.

    With any luck, it will be many decades before we hear any news about the House chaplaincy again.​
     

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