Faith, Politics

The Firing of #Chaplain Reverend Patrick J. #Conroy

Chaplain – Who is a Chaplain of the United States Senate – According to Wikipedia –  The Chaplain of the United States Senate opens each session of the United States Senate with a prayer, and provides and coordinates religious programs and pastoral care support for Senators, their staffs, and their families. The Chaplain is appointed by a majority vote of the members of the Senate on a resolution nominating an individual for the position. The three most recent nominations have been submitted based on a bipartisan search committee although that procedure is not required.

Chaplains are elected as individuals and not as representatives of any religious community, body, or organization. As of 2017, all Senate Chaplains have belonged to various denominations of Christianity, though there are no restrictions against members of any religion or faith group. Guest Chaplains, recommended by Senators to deliver the session’s opening prayer in place of the Senate Chaplain, have represented “all the world’s major religious faiths.”   The current House Chaplain is Fr. Patrick J. Conroy, S.J., the first Jesuit priest to hold the position.   Conroy was sworn in May 25, 2011.   Conroy was asked to resign by House Speaker Paul Ryan, with an effective resignation date of May 24, 2018 becoming the first House chaplain removed in the history of Congress.

The Chaplain also provides pastoral care for members of Congress, their staffs, and their families, and provides or oversees religious programs such as Bible study, reflection groups, and the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast.   The Chaplain also often presides over religious ceremonies such as funerals and memorial services for current or past members and participates, offering delivering the invocation or benediction, at many official U.S. ceremonies, including White House events.    In a January 2011 post on “On Watch in Washington”, the Chaplain of the Senate as well as the Chaplain of the House were included as part of “Obama’s Spiritual Cabinet”.

Minister – A personal attendant and helper, not a menial; a public functionary in the service of the state or of God, one engaged in the service of others – who were ministers in the Bible – Christ (as high priest in heavenly sanctuary) Joseph, Abishag, Joshua, Elisha, the attendant of the synagogue, the disciples, Paul.

The Story

Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s abrupt decision to dismiss the House chaplain Rev. Patrick J. Conroy much like stabbing him in the back,  triggered an uproar on Friday under the guise of religion, pitting Republican against Republican and offering Democrats a political opportunity in a year already moving their way.

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C) – said on Thursday –

“I’m looking for somebody who has a little age, that has adult children, that kind of can connect with the bulk of the body here, Republicans and Democrats who are going through, back home the wife, the family … that has some counseling experience … because what’s needed in the body here is people who can sit down with different members, male, female, Democrat, Republican, and just talk about what it is kind of to be up here,” Walker, a Southern Baptist minister and chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told reporters Thursday.

“Padre, you just got to stay out of politics,” he recalled the speaker saying

Comment:  What does the Bible say about politics? –

At the House Republican meeting, Mr. Ryan told lawmakers that complaints about Father Conroy’s pastoral care — not politics or prayer — led to his decision, according to several who attended. The speaker’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, said simply that he had “made the decision he believes to be in the best interest of the House.”

Comment:  Shouldn’t one with “pastoral” training, education, most importantly he who has a relationship with the Lord be able to (if) guided by the Holy Spirit make a decision as to whether a Chaplain is “not” following the Holy Spirit in his prayers and/or decision-making?

The controversy exposed long-simmering tensions between Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians over who should be lawmakers’ religious counselor.

Comment: Who are the two groups and what is the history between Roman Catholics and Evangelical Christians?

And a public clash between Southern Evangelical Republicans and Northern Catholics could play to the advantage of Democrats, who are pressing hard to bring working-class Catholic regions in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin back into the Democratic fold.

Comment:  What is the difference between Evangelical and Catholics – The Catholic faith has a distinctly traditional church-centered history. The Evangelical faith is based on Protestant theology, and members of the different Evangelical movements have a variety of options in how they worship God. These lead to differences in traditions, practices and views of salvation.  Both Catholics and Evangelicals accept God as their primary authority. For Catholics, the church is the primary extension of God’s authority because Jesus founded the Christian church through St. Peter. For Catholics, the Bible supports what the church teaches. For Evangelicals, the Bible is the primary extension of God’s authority because it affirms God’s wishes and is the “Word of God.”  Both Catholics and Evangelicals accept God as their primary authority. For Catholics, the church is the primary extension of God’s authority because Jesus founded the Christian church through St. Peter. For Catholics, the Bible supports what the church teaches. For Evangelicals, the Bible is the primary extension of God’s authority because it affirms God’s wishes and is the “Word of God.”

The controversy was heightened when Representative Mark Walker, Republican of North Carolina and a Baptist minister, said Thursday in an interview with the Hill newspaper that he hoped the next chaplain of the House might come from a nondenominational church tradition who could relate to members with wives and children.

Comment: Sounds like Mark Walker has control issues or is there another motive?

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), one of the leaders of the committee searching for a replacement for the ousted House chaplain, said the next spiritual leader of the House should be someone with a family who can better relate to and counsel lawmakers with spouses and children.

Declaration of IndependenceWHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

Comment:  Jesus did not have a spouse or children

The controversy exposed long-simmering tensions between Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians over who should be lawmakers’ religious counselor. And a public clash between Southern Evangelical Republicans and Northern Catholics could play to the advantage of Democrats.

Comment: Who are Southern Evangelical Republicans and Northern Catholics and Jesuits?

Evangelicalism  – Evangelical Christianity, or Evangelical Protestantism is a worldwide, transdenominational movement within Protestant Christianity, maintaining that the essence of the gospel consists in the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s atonement.

Jesuits –  represent a society or an order that has been instituted by Pope Paul III to spread Christianity by all means possible.  They hold the same core beliefs as Catholics do. In fact, they are considered rather more liberal than Catholics. However, this is just stereotyping, and no more as Jesuits remain a part of the catholic religious order.

Catholics – Another big difference is that evangelicals believe that it’s in the Bible that God speaks to us to tell us about himself and how he wants us to live.  Catholics believe that he also speaks through the teachings of the Catholic church and the Pope.  But Jesus said that only the Bible is the word of God, not the additional teachings of religious leaders  (Mark 7:1-13).

In the interview, Father Conroy expounded on matters like sexual harassment and a possible spiritual crisis in Congress. He said he was asked during his job interview whether he had ever molested a child. And while he said he had never been asked to counsel a victim of sexual harassment or assault, he had handled cases of workplace abuse during his tenure in the House.

“Think about it: Who are the people who run for office?” he was quoted as saying. “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 who maybe they don’t think they have to listen to.”

The chaplain of the House said on Thursday that he was blindsided when Speaker Paul D. Ryan asked him to resign two weeks ago, a request that he complied with but was never given a reason for.

“This will have ramifications,” Mr. Jones said Friday afternoon. “This is bigger than Father Conroy and the House of Representatives. This is about religion in America.”

Comment:  Much like Cain and Abel you know the story –  Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd. When it was time to offer sacrifices to God, Cain brought fruit from the ground and Abel brought the fat portions from some of the firstborn. God favored Abel’s sacrifice, but He didn’t extend that same grace to Cain. This rejection made Cain angry and God admonished Cain to do the right thing and his sacrifice would be accepted. Cain was also warned that if he refused to do the right thing—sin was ready to consume him. Albeit Conroy and Ryan are not brothers – Ryan has presented a picture of anger and murdering his brother Conroy in the House.

Politics – Romans 13:1 – 7 

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. …

Source: Wikipedia,   The Hill; The New York Times; Elizabeth Dias

What are your thoughts on this controversial topic?

 

 

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