Adage : Common etiquette says not to talk about politics, religion, or money.
Well, since its TAXPAYER money being spent, maybe it’s time to break that rule when the budget grows from $277,000 to $415,000 in 10 years !
As the new Congress is being sworn in, they will address many issues with spending being a prime concern … and they will elect many officers. One position to be filled is that of Chaplain.
Actually, that would be two chaplains — as the Senate chaplain earns $151,000 a year, and the House chaplain earns $172,500 a year.
By reference a Member of Congress last year could have earned $174,000 … in essence, the Chaplain will earn almost as much as a Member of Congress !
However there are exceptions … like Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN-01) who every month this year has returned to the US Treasury $ 732 … or $8,784 for the year, making Congressman Walz’s take-home pay $ 165,216 … the same pay rate that was in effect when candidate Walz won election in 2006 … a practice that Congressman Walz maintained since Day One as his family’s contribution to reducing the national deficit.
The budgets for their office operations and staff are included in the annual legislative branch appropriations. The House has budgeted $415,000 for Office of the Chaplain for this year. Besides the salaries, the current Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black has a chief of staff, communications director and executive assistant helping him.
By contrast, in 2000, the Office of the Chaplain was funded for $277,000.
At one time, the Chaplins were a volutary position. In late 1994, prior to the convening of the 104th Congress, some thought was given to having volunteers of rotating denominations fill the post of House chaplain. However, the Republican leadership decided to maintain a full-time paid chaplain.
Besides offering a Opening Prayer, what is it that they provide that benefits the taxpayer and the government in general ?
The chaplains perform ceremonial, symbolic, and pastoral duties. They open the daily sessions in the chambers of each house with a prayer; serve as spiritual counselors to Members, their families, and staff; conduct Bible studies, discussion sessions, and prayer meetings for Members
Well, let’s just look at the schudule for this upcoming Friday …
Dr. Barry Black schedules Senate Bible Studies that are open to Congressional Members and Staff … with Lunch provided. There is also, a Muslim Congressional Jummah Prayer Service, a Latter Day Saints Staffer Scripture Study, and a Friday Rosary.
Besides the formal Chaplin function, the House also maintains various approved organizations such as the Congressional Jewish Staff Association, the Congressional Muslim Staff Association, and the Capitol Hill Bible Study Staff Association … each sponsored by a Member of the House of Representatives.
In today’s political world, it is not unusual that religion will not be part of the discussion, but should the TAXPAYER have to foot the bill … why not use volunteers ?
America is a religiously diversified country … just look at the last Congress … although it was dominated by Roman Catholics, there was a significant number of Baptists and Methodists with a smaller number of members of the Jewish, Presbyterian, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Unitarian Universalists faiths … and even one atheist.
Why do we want to have an election for Chaplin … and why should the TAXPAYERS pay so much for his service ?
Voters hear all the time that Government should be run like a Business … well, I will bet that there are very few businesses that invite a Chaplin in for daily prayers … and none that pay him over $150,000.
But if you want to see YOUR EMPLOYEE in action, tune into C-SPAN at 11AM to see the sessions’ Opening Prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
File Under : Washington’s reckless spending – Politics, Religion, and Money