If the new Republican-controlled Senate really wants to trim the Federal budget, the first thing they should do is eliminate the job of Senate Chaplain. Now is the ideal time to make this symbolic gesture, as the Rev. Richard Halverson, 78, is retiring at the end of the year. His salary as Senate Chaplain is $115,700 annually, paid for with taxpayer dollars.
Taxpayers should not be forced to pay a government-sponsored preacher to say a two-minute prayer each day the Senate begins its sessions. The practice violates the separation between church and state.
Because other options for prayer remain open, religious freedom is not restricted. Senators or staff members who feel the need for prayer have every right to utter one. And if they need professional help with prayer, there are plenty of churches within an easy walk of the Senate Building. The ministers of those churches would gladly pray with a Senator without charge.
To encourage your Senator to bring an end to this practice, ask for him or her at 202-225-3121, or check the list of Senate email addresses at the bottom of this article.
-- Skipp Porteous
====================================================================== Institute for | PO Box 589 | 413.274.3786 (t) | Skipp Porteous First Amendment | Great Barrington | 413.274.0240 (f) | Barbara Simon Studies, Inc. | MA 01230 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Ruth Shepard ======================================================================Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. -- Wendell Phillips
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) email@example.com
Larry E.Craig (R-ID) firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher J.Dodd (D-CT) email@example.com
Dave Durenberger (R-MN) firstname.lastname@example.org
Edward M.Kennedy (D-MA) email@example.com
Patrick J.Leahy (D-VT) firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry Pressler (R-SD) email@example.com
Charles S.Robb (D-VA) firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Simon (D-IL) email@example.com