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.



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

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