Paul Ryan says decision to fire House chaplain was not political

Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House. Many Democrats and some Republicans were upset by the decision to remove the chaplain, who provides counsel to lawmakers.

The House speaker, Paul Ryan, has told fellow Republicans he fired the House chaplain after complaints from members that he was not doing a very good job – and not because of pressure over the Rev Patrick Conroy’s political leanings.

Democrats and Conroy himself have cited a prayer he offered that called for fairness as the House debated tax cuts as a reason for Republican discontent. Last November, Conroy prayed for lawmakers to make sure that “there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans”.

Republicans leaving a party meeting on Friday said Ryan told them Conroy was forced out after lawmakers complained that had not been adequately tending to the pastoral needs of lawmakers.

“He had a number of complaints that the chaplain was not meeting the pastoral needs of the members in general,” said Mike Coffman, a representative from Colorado.

Ryan’s office would not…

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