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148 Members Send Letter to Speaker Ryan Requesting Information on His Decision to Remove House Chaplain

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Good work by Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Bobby Scott, Rep. Donald McEachin, etc. on Paul Ryan’s latest nastiness, pettiness, etc.

148 Members Send Letter to Speaker Ryan Requesting Information on His Decision to Remove House Chaplain

Washington, D.C. – Today, 148 members sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan requesting information on his decision to remove the House chaplain. The letter was led by Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).

“We are seeking additional information regarding your decision to request the resignation of Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives,” the members wrote. “The sensitive nature of this situation requires a description of the process followed to arrive at the decision and a justification for that decision. We believe that, absent such details, questions will inevitably arise about the politicization of the process for hiring and dismissing a House chaplain.”

“Absent transparency, we are also concerned about the implicit damage done to the reputation of the House chaplain personally,” the members added. “Continued silence on this matter could allow unfair and utterly unfounded inferences to be made about his character and the evenhandedness of the House on dealing in matters of faith.”

The letter was signed by Representatives Gerry Connolly, Walter Jones, Marcy Kaptur, Carol Shea-Porter, Mark DeSaulnier, Debbie Dingell, Alan Lowenthal, Eric Swalwell, John A. Yarmuth, Joyce Beatty, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Maxine Waters, David Scott, Thomas R. Suozzi, Daniel T. Kildee, Jimmy Panetta, Mike Thompson, Val Demings, Michael Doyle, Anna G. Eshoo, A. Donald McEachin, Pramila Jayapal, Richard E. Neal, Jacky Rosen, Denny Heck, Charlie Crist, Jamie Raskin, James P. McGovern, Suzanne Bonamici, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Julia Brownley, Sean Patrick Maloney, Matt Cartwright, Joseph Crowley, Lois Frankel, Dwight Evans, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donald S. Beyer, Jr., Tim Ryan, Brendan F. Boyle, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Bill Foster, Robin Kelly, Grace Meng, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Ed Perlmutter, Michael E. Capuano, Katherine M. Clark, Darren Soto, Ami Bera, John B. Larson, Ron Kind, Kathleen M. Rice, Derek Kilmer, Donald Norcross, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Jim Cooper, Juan Vargas, Hakeem M. Jeffries, Niki Tsongas, Grace F. Napolitano, Adriano Espaillat, John K. Delaney, Robert A. Brady, Yvette D. Clarke, James R. Langevin, Lucille Roybal-Allard, David E. Price, Jerrold Nadler, Brad Sherman, Henry Cuellar, Gregory W. Meeks, Karen Bass, David N. Cicilline, Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Barbara Lee, Stephen F. Lynch, Nydia M. Velázquez, Peter Welch, Lloyd Doggett, Carolyn B. Maloney, Peter J. Visclosky, Linda T. Sánchez, Connor Lamb, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Albio Sires, Daniel W. Lipinski, Joe Courtney, William R. Keating, Alcee L. Hastings, José E. Serrano, Rick Nolan, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Steve Cohen, Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Luis V. Gutiérrez, Rosa L. DeLauro, Judy Chu, Kurt Schrader, Ted W. Lieu, Colleen Hanabusa, Earl Blumenauer, André Carson, Elijah E. Cummings, Sheila Jackson Lee, Jerry McNerney, Marcia L. Fudge, Janice D. Schakowsky, John Garamendi, Frederica Wilson, Mike Quigley, Brian Higgins, Paul D. Tonko, Dina Titus, Jackie Speier, Norma J. Torres, Collin C. Peterson, Bobby L. Rush, Donald M. Payne, Jr., and Bradley S. Schneider, Tom O’Halleran, Salud O. Carbajal, Elizabeth Esty, Alma Adams, Ruben J. Kihuen, Cheri Bustos, Susan Davis, Pete Aguilar, Jim Himes, Sander M. Levin, Raul Ruiz, Jared Huffman, Jared Polis, Kathy Castor, Diana DeGette, Rick Larsen, Gwen Moore, Doris O. Matsui, Nita Lowey, Suzan K. DelBene, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Gene Green, Theodore E. Deutch, Mark Takano, and Danny K. Davis

The full letter follows and is available here.

The Honorable Paul D. Ryan
Speaker of the House of Representatives
H-232, United States Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker,

We respectfully write regarding your decision to remove the House chaplain without cause from his office prior to his term’s expiration.  

Since the election of Reverend William Linn in 1789, the Chaplain of the House of Representatives has provided pastoral counseling to individuals who serve in and support our institution. The House chaplain is vested with a special mission, including the free exercise of religion, the integrity of which must be safeguarded. 

To that end and in the expectation of a shared commitment to transparency and due process, we are seeking additional information regarding your decision to request the resignation of Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives. The sensitive nature of this situation requires a description of the process followed to arrive at the decision and a justification for that decision. We believe that, absent such details, questions will inevitably arise about the politicization of the process for hiring and dismissing a House chaplain. Not revealing such details could also risk resurrecting prior questions of religious bias. Absent transparency, we are also concerned about the implicit damage done to the reputation of the House chaplain personally. Continued silence on this matter could allow unfair and utterly unfounded inferences to be made about his character and the evenhandedness of the House on dealing in matters of faith.

We appreciate your urgent attention to our request. This is a matter that has serious implications for our institution, and we look forward to your reply to address the concerns raised by your decision to request Reverend Conroy’s resignation. 

Sincerely,