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The U.S. House shouldn’t have a taxpayer-funded chaplain. Certainly not when atheists are banned from giving invocations in the House.

But if Rev. Pat Conroy is going to give speeches in the House, he should at least make them useful. Instead, responding to the racism of Donald Trump and the mostly silent defense of it by the rest of the Republican Party, Conroy delivered more of an exorcism rather than pointing fingers at the people responsible for infesting our politics.

YouTube video

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…

… May your spirit of wisdom and patience descend upon all so that any spirit of darkness might have no place 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 in our common work to be done for the benefit of all your people

That… didn’t help.

I’ve heard plenty of (accurate) criticisms from Democrats about how Republicans have basically ignored Trump’s hateful rhetoric, either pretending they didn’t hear it or acting like it wasn’t a big deal at all.

But what Conroy is doing is a different kind of mindlessness. Instead of downplaying the hate speech, Conroy is blaming the “spirits of darkness” — as if Satan is causing Trump and other Republicans to foment a race war. Don’t blame the devil for what the GOP is doing.

The prayers didn’t work, anyway. The House Republicans, nearly all of whom refused to condemn Trump’s words in a resolution, weren’t cast out of the chamber at all.

So thanks for nothing, God. If anything, religion deserves a lot of the blame for what’s happening since Trump is in office only because of the unwavering support of white evangelicals who don’t give a damn about his cruelty, bigotry, sexual assault, racism, or lack of basic human decency.

By the way, Conroy makes nearly $175,000 a year for delivering pointless speeches like that one.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.