Letter to the Hon. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives - Request Information on His Decision to Remove House Chaplain


By: Danny Davis, Ben Lujan, Jr., Mark Takano, Ted Deutch, Gene Green, Eddie Johnson, Suzan DelBene, Nita Lowey, Doris Matsui, Gwen Moore, Rick Larsen, Diana DeGette, Kathy Castor, Jared Polis, Jared Huffman, Raul Ruiz, Sandy Levin, Jim Himes, Pete Aguilar, Susan Davis, Cheri Bustos, Ruben Kihuen, Alma Adams, Elizabeth Esty, Salud Carbajal, Tom O'Halleran, Brad Schneider, Don Payne, Jr., Bobby Rush, Collin Peterson, Norma Torres, Jackie Speier, Dina Titus, Paul Tonko, Brian Higgins, Mike Quigley, Frederica Wilson, John Garamendi, Jan Schakowsky, Marcia Fudge, Jerry McNerney, Sheila Jackson Lee, Elijah Cummings, André Carson, Earl Blumenauer, Colleen Hanabusa, Ted Lieu, Kurt Schrader, Judy Chu, Rosa DeLauro, Luis Gutiérrez, Sanford Bishop, Jr., Steve Cohen, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Rick Nolan, José Serrano, Alcee Hastings, Sr., Bill Keating, Joe Courtney, Dan Lipinski, Albio Sires, Emanuel Cleaver II, Conor Lamb, Linda Sánchez, Pete Visclosky, Carolyn Maloney, Lloyd Doggett II, Peter Welch, Nydia Velázquez, Stephen Lynch, Barbara Lee, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, David Cicilline, Karen Bass, Gregory Meeks, Henry Cuellar, Brad Sherman, Jerry Nadler, David Price, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Jim Langevin, Yvette Clarke, Bob Brady, John Delaney, Adriano Espaillat, Grace Napolitano, Niki Tsongas, Hakeem Jeffries, Juan Vargas, Jim Cooper, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Donald Norcross, Derek Kilmer, Kathleen Rice, Ron Kind, John Larson, Ami Bera, Darren Soto, Katherine Clark, Mike Capuano, Ed Perlmutter, Nanette Barragán, Grace Meng, Robin Kelly, Bill Foster, Bobby Scott, Brendan Boyle, Tim Ryan, Don Beyer, Jr., Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Dwight Evans, Lois Frankel, Joe Crowley, Matt Cartwright, Sean Maloney, Julia Brownley, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Suzanne Bonamici, Jim McGovern, Jamie Raskin, Charlie Crist, Jr., Denny Heck, Jacky Rosen, Richard Neal, Pramila Jayapal, Donald McEachin, Anna Eshoo, Mike Doyle, Jr., Val Demings, Mike Thompson, Jimmy Panetta, Dan Kildee, Thomas Suozzi, David Scott, Maxine Waters, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Joyce Beatty, John Yarmuth, Eric Swalwell, Alan Lowenthal, Debbie Dingell, Mark DeSaulnier, Carol Shea-Porter, Marcia Kaptur, Walter Jones, Jr., Gerry Connolly
Date: April 27, 2018
Location: Washington, DC

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.