Senate Chaplain Barry Black isn’t above discussing politics in his morning prayer, and Wednesday was no exception. The chaplain prayed for an end to the government shutdown and voiced his frustration that death benefits for families of fallen soldiers are being delayed by the government shutdown.
Black’s prayer on Wednesday was the latest in a series of rather fiery comments that the former chief of Navy chaplains offered since the shutdown began.
USA Today notes that the Senate Chaplain prayed:
“Lord, when our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to the families of children dying on faraway battlefields, it’s time for our lawmakers to say ‘enough is enough.’ Cover our shame with the robe of your righteousness. Forgive us, reform us and make us whole.”
Barry Black, a former Navy rear admiral, has been the Senate’s official chaplain for 10 years. The daily chastising began last week, when the chaplain commented, “Save us from this madness.” The New York Times reports that Black went on to say, “We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness and our pride.”
For what it’s worth, it appears Black’s morning prayers are working a bit. During the chaplain’s prayer on Friday, he mentioned that officers involved in last Thursday’s car chase and shooting outside the White House weren’t being paid for their work. Black added of the senators, “Remove them from that stubborn pride which imagines itself to be above and beyond criticism.”
Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had his head bowed for prayer, looked up at the chaplain. Afterward, Reid commented, “Following the suggestion in the prayer of Admiral Black. I think we’ve all here in the Senate kind of lost the aura of Robert Byrd.” Byrd was a historical senate figure who was known for gentility and compromise.
While the Senate chaplain’s prayers of late have been fairly political, he has carefully kept his political leanings vague. Like many employees, Barry Black isn’t getting paid during the government shutdown.