Senate Chaplain Calls Out Congress, Prays ‘Save Us From Madness’

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On Friday morning, one day after Capitol Police working without pay shot a woman driving dangerously outside Senate offices, the Chaplain of the Senate came to the floor with a prayer. “May we go beyond applause in expressing our gratitude, but make decisions that will ensure their timely and fair compensation,” said Barry Black. “Remove from [the Senators] that stubborn pride which imagines itself to be above and beyond criticism. Forgive them for the blunders they have committed, infusing them with the courage to admit and correct mistakes. Amen.”

It was not the first time that Black had used his morning benediction to discuss the issues of the day, nor would it be the last. He has led the Senate the past 10 years in morning prayer, addressing a flock which would leave any pastor frustrated. Before his eyes, senators bicker and quarrel and sometimes steal the spotlight of the C-SPAN cameras to gain public notoriety to the detriment of the country they represent.

In the days before and during the government shutdown, the first time Congress has done so in seventeen years, Black’s prayers have coalesced with the nation’s wishes. “Lord lead them away from the unfortunate dialectic of us versus them, as they strive to unite for the common good of this land we love,” prayed Black the morning before the shutdown on September 30. “Let them not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give them the determination to make the right things happen.”

The Senate has elected a Chaplain since 1789 to serve as pastor, deliver opening prayers and presiding at funerals and memorial services for departed members. Since the founding of the country, the position of chaplain has been hotly debated, and even the current chaplain, a retired navy rear admiral, has had to turn away some events that were seen as too political, including a controversial inaugural prayer breakfast hosted this year by conservative televangelist Pat Robertson.

The recent government shutdown has been a topic of Black’s prayers. By the end of the week, Black’s tone had turned much more confrontational. “Have mercy upon us, O God” prayed Black Thursday morning, “And save us from the madness.”

“Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable,” he went on. “Remove the burdens of those who are the collateral damage of this government shutdown, transforming negatives into positives as you work for the good of those who love youOn Friday TIME asked Black what his message is during the shutdown crisis. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin will destroy any people,” Chaplain Black emailed TIME.

After his time as Chief of Navy Chaplains, Black became the 62nd Chaplain of the Senate by unanimous consent in the summer of 2003. He writes his prayers in his office, car, home and while jogging. He and wife Brenda are fond of alliteration—their sons are Barry II, Brendan, and Bradford.

Despite hosting a weekly prayer lunch, Black isn’t a fan of the meal. “Lunch is for chumps,” Black told TIME, referencing an old Navy phrase he learned during his 27 years there. He calls the legislative process “challenging” but “often quite predictable.” He calls prayer, “a conversation with God, so it simply involves me interceding on behalf of our lawmakers.”

11 comments
j45ashton
j45ashton

 According to the Huffington Post the following GOP congressmen have indicated that they would vote for a clean CR.  More than enough to carry.  This implies John Boehner is lying.  Just to prove his integrity & that he can be trusted, why doesn't he take a vote on a clean CR:

Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa)

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.)

Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J)

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.)

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa)

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y)

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa)

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.)  

Rep. Scott Rigell (R)  

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y)

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.):  

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.):  

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho

Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.):  

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill

Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark 


AmusedByItAll
AmusedByItAll

Can anyone imagine the catastrophic consequences in the change of attitude toward the American democracy and stability the world will experience, if a US political minority with an ideology that resembles a mid-nineteenth century Southern slave plutocracy with early twentieth Gilded age values is able to dictate political policy to a US president, who has the power to reign both economic and nuclear devastation on the world? Will they consider that the inmates are running the insane asylum and act accordingly or will they give the US the benefit of the doubt and consider the US just another banana republic in the making?

fitty_three
fitty_three

So, in short, the GOP plan isn't God's plan?

Who woulda thunk...

Openminded1
Openminded1

Talk about a waste of money, this prayer announcer was a rear admiral making a nice income just by being a chaplain. the rank he  held while in the navy was a rear admiral that is crazy. What branch of the military needs a chaplain holding the rank of a general or admiral what a waste of money. you do not need to hold a flag rank to lead a bunch of chaplains.

johncbragg@sbcglobal.net
johncbragg@sbcglobal.net

From his mouth to the ears of he who would presume to be god on earth, the Poser in Chief. The hypocrisy of the Poser in Chief that refuses to discuss his chosen path to destruction for a nation while looting the people's pockets is almost as amazing as it is troubling. If this current President (Poser in Chief) has chosen to IGNORE his constitutional responsibilities literally from day one, how and why should we as a people be surprised HIS party follows his lead and stonewalls ANY resolution?

Time and again we are told by the Poser in Chief HE is not the problem it is those pesky Republicans or tea party or Libritarians that they are enemies of the small person in this nation. I hope it is not lost on you that there are more and more "small persons" in this nation due directly to HIS failed economic and social engineering. By definition the word HOPE, which was his campaign mantra, in a political application is SUPPOSED to mean better lives for the electorate as a whole. Has he delivered?

The clear answer is a resounding NO. From the first day of his MIS-administration to present he has failed to submit ANYTHING even remotely resembling a budget. This government has been run on a series of stop gap measures called continuing resolutions. My reading of the constitution finds no such wording, thought or intention. It specifically outlines a budget so that the various states and their appointed representatives may track what the government is doing and hold the government in check. If there is no check on the spending of the government we have financial chaos such as that we have seen.

I have read the Poser in Chief's book outlining his life and thought processes and would direct every American to read in his own words what he thinks about America AND Americans. From the first word of his first chapter he admits he does not feel "truly linked" to the American way of life. His discussions of his life as a community organizer clearly follow chapter and verse from Das Kapital, the American way of life, which he swore an oath to protect and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic, is diametrically opposed to his "core values". So the question arises here, Why are we as a nation surprised when anti-American dialogue comes from the White House? He told us as a nation he was not of an American mind set and is unapologetically pursuing a course that will advance HIS world view. What is the Poser in Chief's world view?

To answer that all you need do is go back to his Obama Manifesto, The world would be a better place with a weaker less involved America. Which is a staggering thought if you think about it as it was Nikita Khruschev who stated the same thing in the kitchen with Richard Nixon all of those years ago. So we have a conundrum should we believe the Poser in Chief's actions or his words? In this case we are actually quite lucky as in both words and actions he has consistently sought to undermine the purpose and place of the United States at every table at home and across the world. This is again proven in his own words when he tells us how RIGHT the socialist of the past were, they just didn't have the economic basis to implement a true socialist state. What does that mean? It means that they did not have the fiscal or physical base to truly FORCE government ownership of every thing and everyone. With the advent of the Affordable Healthcare Act that second step has been taken by instituted or nationalization of the means by which the people MAINTAIN their health. Once the government has your health in their hands how far is total despotic rule? How long will it be before ANYTHING deemed by the government to be health related will be grounds to remove it from your ownership?

Imagine an America where fast food, nannys, luxury cars, large homes, bank accounts, guns of any kind, high paying jobs, college educations, professions, business ownership are deemed to be detrimental to your health and as such removed from your hands. We have seen this before in China in the 30's they had a charismatic leader who also wrote a book, "a little read book" that the people were required to read and in turn outlined what their lives would be for the next 70 years. History is repeating itself for one reason and one reason only, we did not learn to recognize the pattern of a despotic mind and turn away. Nikita Khrusche said that it will only take ONE GENERATION (Barrack H. Obama) for Communism to burry us. But in this case with the help of the Poser in Chief we are digging our own grave, kneeling at the edge and waiting for the Poser in Chief's policies and actions to execute us to oblivion. "Go softly into that sweet night" I do not think so, THAT is why the Republicans are fighting the Poser in Chief so mightly, and that is why the administration is so intent upon making every aspect of the "shut down" as painful as possible. It will make the sheep among us fearful, and it is when we are fearful that they are the MOST dangerous.

A word to the wise... do not fear. Take up the fight in your own life, house, town, city, state, region, nation. Call despotism despotism and make your opposition known. THAT is what the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights AND The Constitution of the United States of America are about. THAT is a power guaranteed from the beginning as inalienable rights... Are you listening? inalienable meaning they can not be taken away, not even by the government that they established.

Call your representatives both state and local and demand action.

Call your national leaders in the respective parties and demand a return to the VALUES of the founding documents.

Call your local news providers and demand more content detailing who and what is ACTUALLY being done in Washington and hold them accountable at election time. They are only as good as what they have done for you lately and if it has been anything less than outstanding it is YOUR responsibility to ensure they are replaced - VOTE!

Ask questions and seek answers... If you do not no one else will.

vstillwell
vstillwell

@Openminded1 A Chaplain from the Korean war was awarded the Medal of Honor recently. I've read several accounts of our Chaplains in service today. It sounded very stressful and dangerous. I think you're not being open minded about this. You're being reactionary, which goes against what you are trying to represent. Just saying. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@vstillwell @Openminded1 I am sure the chaplain in question during the Korean war deserves the Honor. I saw a few chaps in Vietnam all nice guys none above the rank of major. My point is and was there is no reason for a  chaplain to hold a flag officer rank. It does not mean they do not do good work and have been helpful in times of need and some have been brave.  still does not warrant the rank of 07 and above. nothing to do with open mind ,which in my case is meant to be ironic.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@sbicknel @Openminded1 Sure they are, but at best they should not be given a rank above 06, which in the navy is CApt or the other branches  a full bird Col. that is high enough and maybe to high for a warrior of God.