"Privatize Congress' Chaplains," a Commentary by Bill Tammeus

January 20, 2007

Author: Bill Tammeus

Source: The Kansas City Star


The government shouldn’t be hiring clergy of any brand to pray for elected officials.

As the new Congress starts to spend billions of our dollars this year, I know a way to save just a little of it.

I hope the Democrats now in charge of both houses will pay heed.

When I said a little money, it is, in fact, so little that you may question my sanity for bothering at all. But as the saying goes, it’s not the money, it’s the principle.

I think Congress no longer should spend taxpayer dollars on the offices of chaplain of the House and Senate. When you combine the savings if that were to happen, the total allotted for those two operations this fiscal year is only a little over half a million bucks. But the question is why any public money is going to employ people of particular faiths to do religious work.

I’m not against having chaplains for the House and Senate if members want them. And I even hope they do want them. Opening legislative sessions with prayer certainly can’t hurt (though, frankly, the evidence that prayer has helped is pretty slim).