What ever happened to separation of church and state? In a ridiculous display of religious superstition, U.S. House Chaplain Pat Conroy prays to cast out “spirits of darkness” from Congress.
Appearing on the House Floor Thursday morning, House Chaplain Pat Conroy delivered the opening prayer, at one point declaring:
This has been a difficult and contentious week in which darker spirits seem to have been at play in the people’s house. In Your most holy name, I now cast out all spirits of darkness from this chamber, spirits not from You.
Reporting on the bizarre and embarrassing incident, CNN notes that Conroy’s prayer sounded like an exorcism:
At times, Conroy’s prayer sounded strikingly similar to the Catholic Church’s old Rite of Exorcism, in which a priest cast “unclean spirits” from a possessed person…
Watch the video below –
Transcript via CSPAN:
LET US PRAY. WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD, FOR GIVING US ANOTHER DAY. THIS HAS BEEN A DIFFICULT AND CONTENTIOUS WEEK IN WHICH DARKER SPIRITS SEEMED TO HAVE BEEN AT PLAY IN THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE. IN YOUR MOST HOLY NAME, I NOW CAST OUT ALL SPIRITS OF DARKNESS FROM THIS CHAMBER, SPIRITS NOT FROM YOU. I CAST OUT THE SPIRIT OF DISCOURAGEMENT, WHICH DEADENS THE HOPE OF THOSE WHO ARE OF GOOD WILL. I CAST OUT THE SPIRIT OF PETTY DIVISIVENESS, WHICH CLOUDS THE SENSE AND THE DESIRE TO BE OF FRUITFUL PRODUCTIVITY IN ADDRESSING THE ISSUES MORE APPROPRIATELY BEFORE THIS HOUSE. I CAST OUT ANY SADNESS BROUGHT ON BY THE FRUSTRATION OF DEALING WITH MATTERS DETRIMENTAL TO THE HONORABLE WORK EACH MEMBER HAS BEEN CALLED TO ENGAGE IN. POUR OUT, O LORD, YOUR SACRED OIL AS YOU DID UPON AARON OF OLD. ANOINT YOUR SERVANTS HERE IN THE HOUSE WITH A HEALING BALM TO COMFORT AND RENEW THE SOULS OF ALL IN THIS ASSEMBLY. MAY YOUR SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND PATIENCE DESCEND UPON ALL SO THAT ANY SPIRIT OF DARKNESS MAY HAVE NO PLAY IN OUR MIDST. RATHER, LET YOUR SPIRIT OF COMITY, OF BROTHER AND SISTERHOOD, AND LOVE OF OUR NATION AND OF ALL COLLEAGUES IN THIS CHAMBER. EMPOWER OUR BETTER ANGELS TO BE AT PLAY AND THE COMMON WORK TO BE DONE FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL YOUR PEOPLE. MAY ALL THAT IS DONE WITHIN THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE BE FOR YOUR GREATER HONOR AND GLORY. AMEN.
*Note – As expected, the prayer failed, and not one Republican was cast out from Congress. C’est la vie.
The story, like the prayer, is silly. However, what is disturbing is that a House Chaplain exists at all. Despite the obvious constitutional concerns, it is a big waste of money and time. Indeed, a recent report documenting wasteful spending shows congress spends $66,000 an hour for prayers, and when expenses are accounted for, the U.S. House and Senate is spending approximately $800,000 a year on opening prayers alone.
The report also notes that more than 96% of prayers in the House were Christian prayers. This fact is an insult to the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
If 96% of the prayers offered by the House and Senate chaplains are Christian prayers, one must wonder, is not Congress establishing Christianity as the de facto national religion, and in so doing, violating the constitution they swore to uphold?
Perhaps more annoying than the government waste, and the exorbitant salaries for glorified snake oil salesmen, is the blatant disregard and disrespect for the separation of church and state enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and the secular values upon which this nation was founded.
Bottom line: The spectacle and the absurdity of U.S. House Chaplain Pat Conroy offering a ridiculous prayer to cast out “spirits of darkness” from Congress only serves to demonstrate that Congress should not be wasting taxpayer’s money on such meaningless prayers.