Paul Ryan fired the House Chaplain. Why do we have a House Chaplain?

I’m not anti-religion and I’m not anti-religious people serving in Congress. But, I don’t understand why we taxpayers are footing the bill for an official Chaplain for the House of Representatives. I assume that he has a bit of office space somewhere and at least a minimal staff. Someone has to answer the phone and take appointments. Then, he’s going to have expenses, pension, and so forth. I assume the Senate has their version of all this, too.

This is the 21st century. I can understand a member of Congress may wish to consult with a pastor, priest, rabbi, or imam for spiritual guidance. So, why can’t these members of Congress call their home ministers on the telephone. Here in 2018, we have instant face-to-face communication. Call, Skype, or FaceTime the minister who sees you in church every Sunday when you’re home. Call or visit one of the hundreds of ministers who already live and work in the DC area.

Seriously, what do we need this guy for?

Because Christians run the country. :frowning:

It’s because of the idle lip service that Americans pay their precious constitution. Supposedly, freedom of religion is supposed to be a big deal there, and supposedly, established religion is supposed to be a big no-no in the US. But in fact established religion is flourishing in the United States, and Americans’ freedom of religion is tortured until it says it knows Jesus as its personal savior. That’s why there’s a House Chaplain.

He has to give the benediction to open Senate sessions…otherwise nothing would get done even sooner. :smiley:

OP maybe Ryan thought like you. He just woke up one day and said why do we need a chaplain? and canned him.
Seriously though the Fed’s have a bunch of things that are not needed that we tax payers are footing the bill for. Government waste is not new. I am more disturbed by Carsons expensive furniture.

Serious question:
Why is “tradition” apparently not a sufficient reason for you?

If there is a GOOD reason to change a tradition, then by all means do so. Otherwise, you should think twice before making any changes.

But people sneakily using taxpayers’ money to buy overpriced furniture is a thing that is widely seen as quite bad. Having an official chaplain does sort of seem rather more deeply questionable if it represents a favoured position for some clergyman of one particular religion.

Why should “tradition” be sufficient reason to keep a dubious practice?

Why? Why should “tradition” go unchallenged?

I am waiting on the price tag for that giant parade that’s being planned. Seriously? People in Flint, MI need water. Arkansas is full of roads that need work. There’s no excuse for blatant mis-use of funds.

Unfortunately Ryan just fired this particular chaplain; he didn’t abolish the office or anything.

A lot of people are saying that Ryan sacked Rev. Conroy because the good father was using his sermons to take potshots at Republican policies. Which means that of course the Democrats support this particular Catholic priest, and are opposed to his removal.

Another wrinkle is that Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) has suggested it would be better to have a chaplain who has had children (so he could “connect” with lawmakers, most of whom have children). This is apparently causing something of a rift between Catholics ('cause the Catholic Church is not generally down with priests fathering children) and Evangelicals (whose pastors are normally married men with families).

In other words, shockingly enough, mixing religion with politics is politically and religiously divisive. No one knew this entanglement of church and state could be so complicated!

Oh, wait, we’ve known that for a couple of centuries.

James Madison:

[sup]1[/sup]The U.S. Senate has had one Catholic chaplain, in the 1830s, out of over 60 men appointed to the office. The House of Representatives has had two Catholic chaplains (out of over 50 men to hold the office), both since 2000. Note that the Catholic Church is the largest single religious denomination in the United States. And neither house of Congress has ever had, for example, a rabbi as Chaplain of the U.S. Senate or Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives. (There have been “guest chaplains” who have displayed rather more diversity.)

Rather than engage in some sort of religious affirmative action about how many Catholics to appoint; and how many “mainline Protestants”; and how many Evangelicals–and what about Jews and Hindus and Muslims, anyway? Or Mormons? Are they not Americans, too?–we would be better off heeding some additional words of James Madison:

Our elected representatives should seek whatever “spiritual guidance”–or not–as each individual one of them sees fit, as is the right of every single American. Who your pastor is (or rabbi, or imam) and whether or not you even have a pastor (or rabbi, or imam) is not something that can be put to a majority vote. That doesn’t work any better in the House of Representatives than it would in the country as a whole.

This is very interesting. Speaking out against unmarried clergymen is a dog whistle attack on Catholics. If that’s a sign of a bigger trend it will be a major factor in conservative circles.

One of the biggest shifts in modern conservatism was back in the eighties when religious conservatives decided to put their conservatism ahead of their religion. This meant that conservative Protestants, Catholics, and Jews could overlook their religious differences and join together on advancing their common political agenda.

But if the religious coalition breaks down into tribalism and each religious group starts treating the others as rivals rather than colleagues, there will be a major factional fight in conservatism.

I imagine it’s more of a hostage situation: If God wants to smite congress, he’s going to have to take out the chaplain too.

Well, I’m reasonably sure that God has quite a bit of smiting experience. I think there are some old books in which he does threaten a lot of smiting.

He could make a song about it:

I smote the Congress
but I did not smite the chaplain too

Oh people please, make a song about this. I am too lacking in sleep to do so, but surely it is a most holy and religious duty?

It isn’t just Congress. A lot of law enforcement agencies have chaplains too. Mine does.

But it’s an LTE position (Limited Term Employment). Low pay, no benefits or retirement, and no representation. The guy can be terminated on a whim.

I thought it should be abolished. But then, out of deference to you, I thought twice.

I still think it should be abolished, of course. But I made sure to think twice.

Some publically funded hospitals have them, as well.

Who knows, they might have a telegraph operator on the payroll, too. Perhaps the chaplain conveys the forgiveness of God unto Congressmen for committing adultery and being uncharitable if they would only continue to put roadblocks in front of women seeking abortion. The congressmen are terrified of their Bible-thumping voters who might get their panties in a twist if they didn’t see their elected officials somberly starting each session with a prayer. Want to end the tradition? Hire a Muslim chaplain and watch the Bible Belt descend into unrest, rioting, looting, and arson.

I don’t have a problem with a public hospital having a chaplain. Many people there are quite distraught and need comforting. Congressmen don’t need comforting, they need exorcism.

Which does bring up the thought experiment of what would the good Representative think of appointing an ELCA or AME minister, Reform Rabbi or Imam, as opposed to some Southern Baptist or the head of an Evangelical TV Megachurch. They all can be married with children, just sayin’…

Congressmen have been shot at. They, and their colleagues, might be distraught and in need of comforting, too.