Ruth Marcus gives additional context to the defenestration of the House Chaplain:
Ryan admonished the priest after the Nov. 6 prayer, saying, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics,” Conroy told the New York Times.
He was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted.
Over the five months since Ryan’s warning, Conroy dared to continue to preach the teachings of Jesus on the House floor:
He prayed to God that lawmakers would help “the least among us.”
He prayed for them to follow the example of St. Nicholas, “who fed the hungry, brought hope to the imprisoned, gave comfort to the lost.”
The House chaplain is not like a tenured faculty post at a university, which has some implicit protection for the right to give controversial political remarks. If you have a House chaplain — which I don’t even favor in the first place — you have no obligation to let them use the perch to push their own political values.
It’s important to separate substance from process. When you lose sight of that distinction, you wind up like Trump’s Republican allies, supporting anything their party does to advance their agenda. Ryan’s beliefs about taxes may be horrid, but he has no obligation to let the House chaplain deliver subtle rebukes to his ideology.
Makes perfect sense—from a secular point of view. And I’m sure that Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan’s patron said, would thoroughly approve of keeping religion out of Congress.
But from Father Ryan’s point of view, it wasn’t a matter of “ideology,” it was a matter of fundamental religious conviction.