Senate Chaplain Prays for Harmony Amid Discord

Thursday, 22 Sep 2011 05:06 PM

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The Rev. Barry Black’s daily invocations for harmony, cooperation, and wisdom are definitely not instances of preaching to the choir. Black is making his plea to members of the U.S. Senate, a group that is not exactly open to suggestions of unity, The Washington Post reported.

Black is the Senate’s chaplain, and his morning prayer, often delivered to a just a few senators, is followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and then the daily ritual of senators rising to denounce each other.

“Do nothing, and protect the millionaires,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said while accusing his Republican colleagues of abandoning the middle class, according to the Post.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., followed by charging that Democratic plans for an economic recovery are a “charade,” adding, “I think the American people deserve better.”

Black, a retired rear admiral who served as chief of Navy chaplains, takes it all in stride.

“I don’t take it as any kind of litmus test on the efficacy of my intercession,” he told the Post.

Black is the Senate’s 62nd chaplain; the Senate elected its first in 1789. He writes his opening prayers in a Capitol office that has views of the National Mall and its monuments.

“There’s something about this view that drives home to me the sovereignty of God, and the unstoppable nature of providence,” Black told the Post. “Like the coming of morning, [it] will not be restrained.”

Although Black often preaches the message of good government and calls on God to “infuse them with a spirit of reconciliation that will break down divisive walls, bringing harmony and cooperation,” he does not feel that the rancor of the comments that often follow his prayer means he failed.

“These statements that are usually being read,” he told the Post, “have obviously been prepared before the prayer.”


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