The Common Good

Senate Chaplain Scolds Lawmakers For Shutdown, Unwillingness To Compromise

Source: Deseret News
Date: October 7, 2013

If hearing the public rail on them for the government shutdown isn't enough, members of the U.S. Senate have also been getting an earful from an unexpected critic: the Senate chaplain.

For the past week, news media have pointed to the prayers of Rear Adm. Barry Black, a retired Navy chaplain and Seventh-Day Adventist who has expressed his displeasure with the name-calling, political gamesmanship and unwillingness of both parties to compromise.

Just days before the shutdown, the Washington Post reported, Black petitioned the Almighty to keep the Senate "from shackling ourselves with the chains of dysfunction."

And he's not the only religious leader who believes Congress has strayed from the Bible in its stalemate over the budget and Obamacare.

Jim Wallis, president of the Christian social justice group Sojourners, explained on his blog that allowing the government to shut down violates the Bible's teachings on the role of government.

"Government is meant to protect its people’s safety, security and peace, and promote the common good of a society — and even collect taxes for those purposes," Wallis wrote, citing chapter and verse. "The scriptures also make it clear that governmental authority is responsible for fairness and justice and particularly responsible to protect the poor and vulnerable."

He admonished political leaders to recapture the vision of working for the common good.

"Transparency, accountability and service are the ethics of good government," Wallis wrote. " 'Of the people, by the people, and for the people' is still a good measure and goal of civil authority."