Congressman Paul Ryan was thrown out of Easter Mass today at his hometown Catholic Church because of his "unchristian" stance towards the poor.
A spokesperson for St. John Vianney's church in Janesville, Wis. says it was enforcing a new papal order barring uncharitable politicians from participating in Catholic rites when it refused communion to Ryan and asked him to leave the building.
Ryan reportedly declined to move at first, and was escorted out by several large male parishioners and taken to his car, where he waited for his wife and children to finish the service.
In a statement released to the media shortly after the incident Ryan came out swinging against the Church and its anti-poverty views.
"The Catholic Church believes it is society's responsibility to care for the poor. I believe the poor are invariably lazy and should be left cold and starving until they acquire a decent work ethic. What's the matter? We can't even have a debate about this? It's almost as if this new pope thinks he's infallible or something!"
Love Thy Neighbor
Although the Catholic Church's social positions are extremely conservative, its stance on economic issues is further left than most Democrats in the United States. The church explicitly opposes high levels of income inequality, favors an increased minimum wage, supports universal health care and has called for a global government body to regulate the financial industry.
The church's commitment to the poor strengthened with the ascension of Pope Francis I to the papacy, who while a bishop in his native Argentina was known for his deep devotion to fighting poverty.
Despite his Catholic faith, Paul Ryan is the author of a budget plan that directly contradicts these core values, tearing up the existing social safety net America has built for the poor. Last year the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called Ryan's budget "unjustified" and "wrong."
In an exclusive interview, Ryan says he rejects the bishop's criticisms and argues his viewpoint should be allowed within the Church.
"I'm a big fan of the Old Testament," Ryan says. "I like the parts where God is punishing people with plagues and locusts, and killing people's first born children. The verses where he sanctions rape and genocide are just brilliant.
"But I'm not really big on this hippie New Testament thing. Too much peace and love, not enough hatred and violence. But hey, it's all God's word. So I don't see why I am excluded from Catholic services just because I like some parts better than others."
Ryan represents Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was his party's losing vice presidential candidate in the 2012 election.