Religious Worship as Political Action
Chapter 3. Religious Worship as Public Policy Promotion
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RELIGIOUS WORSHIP AS PUBLIC POLICY PROMOTION
At the stroke of midnight to mark the start of October 1, 2013, many parts of the U.S. government shutdown. Due to an impasse between Senate Democrats and Tea Party Republicans in the House, Congress failed to pass necessary budget measures to keep the government running. Hundreds of thousands of “non-essential” governmental employees found themselves furloughed while governmental offices, public parks, and other official services hid from the public behind barricades and “closed” signs. Approval ratings for both major political parties tanked as media pundits and the public expressed frustration at the polarization and lack of cooperation. Giving voice to many of these complaints, Senate Chaplain Barry Black gained recognition during the shutdown for his harsh critiques of the nation’s elected leaders. These remarks from the first African-American and first Seventh-day Adventist to serve as the Senate’s chaplain came in the form of his official rhetoric—the Senate’s opening prayers. On an almost daily basis for four weeks, Black used his public remarks to the divine to express frustration about those in the chamber where he prayed.
A week before the government shutdown, Black started peppering his prayers—which are part of the Senate’s official discourse and included in the congressional record—with references to the political impasse. Exactly one week before the government shutdown, Black prayed on September 24: ← 75 | 76 →
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