Re: “The politics of prayer?” (April 28, Page D1):

Despite Speaker Paul Ryan’s denial that the U.S. House chaplain, the Rev. Patrick Conroy, was forced to resign because he was perceived as too partisan, many believe it was the Rev. Conroy’s prayer about the Republican tax cuts, asking that they provide “benefits balanced and shared by all Americans,” that was the coup de grâce.

After the Republican bill passed, Ryan claimed: “This is one of the most important pieces of legislation that Congress has passed in decades to help the American worker (and) to help grow the American economy.” The Congressional Budget Office predicts the federal deficit will be nearly $3 trillion higher between 2018 and 2027 than previously projected because of the bill.

In 2012, Republican vice presidential candidate Ryan, a fifth-generation Irish-American, said that the network of programs for the American poor “has created and perpetuated a debilitating culture of dependency,” echoing British finance minister Charles Trevelyan’s mantra during the Irish Famine: “Dependence on charity is not to be made an agreeable mode of life.”

Although only God and the Rev. Conroy know whether his prayer was a reprimand of President Trump and the Republican Party, the historical context of the unprecedented firing of the House chaplain suggests that the speaker’s allegiance now is with the vast percentage of white evangelicals who would likely “vote against Jesus Christ himself if he ran as a Democrat,” in the words of journalist Amy Sullivan’s March 31 New York Times op-ed.

The gospel message of Jesus Christ to provide for the needy collides with Speaker Ryan and the Republican Party. The Rev. Conroy and the majority of the American people just lost in the People’s House.

Robert Lyons