Senate Chaplain: No Separation of God and State

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Washington, D.C. – On this Sunday’s “State of Belief,” The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Reverend Welton Gaddy interviews Reverend Barry Black, the chaplain of the United States Senate. Incredibly, Chaplain Black speaks openly about what he considers “common doctrines” among U.S. Senators like “the second coming of Christ,” “the nature of revelation,” and “salvation by grace thought faith.” He goes on to say that “the goal of my office is to cooperate without compromising” and that “I talk to Christian senators and tell them they have one constituent whom they must please and that is Christ.”


The aspect of his job the public gets to see is his opening prayer in the Senate everyday.  Chaplain Black said he tries “to be sensitive to the heterogeneity of the audience that is listening to me.” However, he admits, “Some times I will end my prayers ‘in the name of Jesus.’”


The interview provides great insight into one of the most interesting examples of the intersection of religion and politics. Black states that his position is comparable to being a pastor at a Church with 7,000 members, counting Senators and their staffs and families. When non-Christian senators and staff members are in need of chaplaincy, Black brings in other clergy. He says “It’s an opportunity of facilitate their religious needs without actually participating.”


In addition to the edited version on the show, an unedited copy of the interview is available at on Monday.


Also on the show: Dr. Bruce Prescott, author of the blog Mainstreet Baptist; and Albert Menedez, director of research with Americans for Religious Liberty.