Senate chaplain Barry Black was appointed to his post in 2003.
(USA TODAY) -- Who's got the toughest job in the Senate during the government shutdown?
some of the chamber's 100 senators might concede it belongs to Barry
Black, whose job as Senate chaplain to provide counsel, wisdom and
prayer is being put to the test.
The Seventh-day Adventist
minister and former chief of Navy chaplains has become "a daily
conscience check" for the U.S. Senate, as The New York Times put
it Monday. Every day since Oct. 1 when the government has been left
without funding for the fiscal year, Black has delivered a sharply
worded prayer to the men and women who hold a key to breaking the nasty
"Forgive us also when we put politics ahead of progress," Black said Monday in his deep baritone.
of Black's prayerful admonitions: "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, transforming negatives into positives."
like thousands of other government workers, is not being paid during
the partial federal shutdown. He began his current job in 2003, after 27
years in the U.S. Navy and retirement as a rear admiral. Black, who
grew up in a public housing project in Baltimore, is the first
African-American chaplain in the Senate.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democratic leader, paid tribute to Black on Monday by entering the NYT article
into the Congressional Record. Durbin said Black is "being given
awesome responsibility to prove the power of prayer in the midst of the