Top House conservative ‘has stepped down’ from chaplain search committee after remarks

Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerNorth Carolina poised to pass new congressional maps Intercollegiate athletics just got a two-minute warning North Carolina ruling could cost GOP House seats MORE (R-N.C.) has stepped down from the committee tasked with finding a new House chaplain after he said he wanted the next chaplain to have a family, USA Today reported on Sunday.

Walker’s comments were seen as discriminatory against Catholics because priests are unable to have families, the newspaper noted.

Walker’s spokesman, Jack Minor, told USA Today that Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis Ryan Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan California Governor Newsom and family dress as 2020 Democrats for Halloween DC's liaison to rock 'n' roll MORE (R-Wis.) did not pressure the North Carolina lawmaker to remove himself from the search process.

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Sources told The Hill that Ryan pushed out the previous House chaplain, Patrick Conroy, who was the second Catholic to hold the post. Some Democrats have suggested that Ryan made the move because Conroy in a prayer last November urged lawmakers to seek equality ahead of a vote on the Republicans' tax bill.

Walker had said that he wanted a chaplain with a family because many lawmakers have to deal with being separated from their own families as part of their job.

The comments, according to Minor, were based “on initial feedback from his peers on preferences for a new House chaplain,” USA Today reported.

Minor noted that Walker had made it clear that such recommendations were not qualifications and did not mean he was excluding any faith or denomination.