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Praying for Senators...Whether They Like It or Not

The Rev. Dr. Barry Black is a Baltimore native, Seventh-Day Adventist, retired Rear Admiral, former Chief of Chaplains for the US Navy and, since 2003, the first African-American to serve as chaplain to the US Senate.

By opening the Senate in prayer each day, he's one of the few people US senators have to listen to...and to whom they can't talk back.

A trim, erect, dapper and distinguished-looking man, Rev. Black is not happy about this government shutdown.

"Keep us from shackling ourselves with the chains of dysfunction....Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis" he prayed on Friday, Sept. 27.

On Monday the 30th, the last day of the fiscal year, he asked God to "Lead (the senators) away from the unfortunate dialectic of ‘us versus them’ as they strive to unite for the common good of this land we love."

Since the shutdown took effect, Rev. Black's prayers have gotten more pointed:  "Have mercy upon us, oh God, and save us from the madness.... Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.  Remove the burdens of those who are the collateral damage of this government shutdown..." was his prayer this morning.

Rush Limbaugh isn't happy about this, but I doubt that bothers Rev. Black.



About the Author

Luke Hill is a writer and community organizer in Boston. He blogs at dotCommonweal and MassCommons. 



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Rev. Black is not blaming anyone in that prayers. All sides are to blame. He is praying that the parties come and "reason together". Saying one side is 100% to blame (which he is not) does not create helpful preconditions for an effective solution.

George, Check out Rush Limbaugh's analysis that Luke Hill links to. Those prayers are pure leftist,  liberalist, agendaism, and who sets the agenda? The Democrats! Rev. Black may be trying to stay right down the middle, and you may think he is there, but the clownmaster-in-chief knows the truth. Which is that Obama refuses to negotiate on repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Or: If the shoe fits, wear it.

Can I burn down your house?


Just the second floor?




Let's talk about what I can burn down.



Thanks for the comments.  I think part of the appeal (and the power) of Rev. Black's prayers is their brevity and their biblical cadence.  There's a "let those who have ears to hear, hear" quality to them.

...and to whom they can't talk back.

And for just that reason, it's important to be judicious when wielding that power.   It's easy to hit someone when you know he can't strike back--bullies do it all the time.

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