Recently ousted House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy speaks during a memorial service in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Sept. 27, 2017. His removal by Speaker Paul D. Ryan set off a small furor. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)
“Bless your heart” is a phrase I got to know well when I moved from the Northeast to the South several years ago. Though often spoken in soft, sympathetic tones, there was nothing blessed about the sentiment. And when those three syllables were delivered in an email, usually after I wrote a column a reader did not like, they landed like a punch to the gut.
Oddly enough, it was commentary on faith and values that elicited quite a bit of high dudgeon, topped only by the historically reliable topic of race, which, like religion, carries the taint of a North versus South, “them” against “us” spiritual split.