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Gregory Matthews

Barry Black

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Gregory Matthews

With thanks to Spectrum and Pam Dietrich:

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Adventist Senate Chaplain Barry Black Featured in Multiple News Stories During Impeachment. Only one voice at the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump speaks to senators-turned-jurors about the values behind their actions — and keeps his focus on God. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, 71, regularly opens the chamber’s proceedings with prayer and has done the same during the impeachment trial, giving a broader audience to the velvet-voiced Seventh-day Adventist and retired Navy rear admiral. Since the trial began, Black’s prayers have at times sought to guide senators through the political turbulence of the moment.

“In spite of disagreements, may they strive for civility and respect,” Black said of senators on the final day of Democratic arguments against Trump. “May they respect the right of the opposing side to differ regarding convictions and conclusions. Give them the wisdom to distinguish between facts and opinions without lambasting the messengers.” A day earlier, Black opened the trial with a prayer that seemed to acknowledge rising tension on Capitol Hill, asking that “our senators not permit fatigue or cynicism to jeopardize friendships that have existed for years.”

Black, a Baltimore native who often sports a signature bow tie, became the Senate’s chaplain in 2003 after nearly three decades of military service that saw him become the chief of the Navy’s chaplains. He told C-SPAN in 2009 that he has seen lawmakers struggle to combat cynicism, which he described as a sin. During “times when the legislative process is laborious and predictable… and it appears that the parties go into polarized lockstep, where there’s almost an attitude, ‘don’t confuse me with the facts,’ that can many times engender a spirit of cynicism,” Black said. Within the Senate, Black has maintained the nonsectarian mission by reminding the chamber of higher ideals amid the storm of impeachment.

“Lord, grant that this impeachment trial will make our nation stronger, wiser and better,” Black said before Tuesday’s session began. From The Associated Press, “Senate chaplain's velvet voice cuts through impeachment fray” and from Christianity Today, “Split Down the Aisle by Impeachment, Senate Still United in Prayer.”

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