Why does the Senate Chaplain make $150k and have staff making $129k, $86k, and $52k?

Legistorm, annual salaries:

Chaplain: $150,698
Chief of Staff: $129,223
Director of Communications: $86,056
Executive Assistant: $52,828

I’ve often wondered why God doesn’t answer all my prayers. And now it’s hit me: I don’t have an $86,000 a year communications director helping me grease the celestial wheels.

I get that that religious politically correctness won’t permit the Congress to entirely phase out the Chaplain’s office, but give me a break.  The guy opens up the day with a prayer and he’s getting $150k a year, and need a chief of staff, a publicist, and a secretary to pull it off?  One of the more pious members of Congress could simply offer the prayer themselves.

Check out the “other” responsibilities of the Senate chaplain:

In addition to opening the Senate each day in prayer, Chaplain Black’s duties include counseling and spiritual care for the Senators, their families and their staffs, a combined constituency of six thousand people. Chaplain Black’s days are filled with meeting Senators about spiritual and moral issues, assisting Senators’ staffs with research on theological and biblical questions, teaching Senate Bible study groups, encouraging such groups as the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, and facilitating discussion and reflection small groups among Senators and staff.

Let’s walk through this a moment.

1. He offers spiritual counseling to Senators, their families, and staff. Why? They don’t have their own priests, preachers, rabbis and mullahs? Seriously, how many Americans get, need, a priest on the job because they can’t just pick up the phone and call the head of their church if they have a question?

2. What do you mean he’s helping staff research theological and biblical questions? If the research is for the staff’s own personal religion then the taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for it. And if the research is to influence legislation, then that’s just creepy.

3. Bible study? Because, again, Senators and staff can’t just go to church on Sunday like everybody else?  If they want to hold a bible study at work, they can pay for it themselves.  No one is subsidizing my personal bible study on the job.

4. “Encouraging the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast.” At $150k a year, that had better be a lot of encouraging.

This office seems superfluous at best.  But this is America, and we dare not suggest that the line item for God be cut.  God forbid.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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