On Friday, Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black, a former US Navy Rear Admiral, issued an ominous warning to senators as they consider final pieces of evidence in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Never one to mince his words, Black called the Senate to a higher standard under God: “Eternal Lord God, you have summarized ethical behavior in a single sentence: Do for others what you would like them to do for you..Remind our senators that they alone are accountable to you for their conduct.”
The chaplain went on to add what many believed to be a subtle rebuke of the dishonesty surrounding the case. Continuing to address the senators, he prayed: “Lord help them to remember, that they can't ignore you and get away with it. For we always reap what we sow."
Twitter exploded with responses to the chaplain’s seething undertones.
“Pretty sure the Senate Chaplain just dropped a not-so-subtle “guilty” vote,” CNN legal analyst, Elie Honig said in response to the prayer.
“I’m not a god-fearing man, but the Senate Chaplain has been a star of this Impeachment drama,” tweeted filmmaker Neil Miller. “This is an extreme dunk of the highest order.”
"Oh my," added podcast host John Aravosis. "The US Senate chaplain is pulling no punches during the opening prayer of today's impeachment trial. This sounds like a pointed sermon directed at Republican senators."
Others were more cautious about drawing conclusions from the words of a man who always presents as staunchly neutral and never involves him in partisan politics. "A careful study of #senatechaplain Barry Black indicates he is likely Republican," tweeted journalist and political pundit, Sophia A. Nelson. "Appointed to 2003 to the Senate. So the shade he may be throwing in these powerful prayers could be at the DEMS. It's hard to read. Very interesting to know what he is thinking..."
Concluding his powerful prayer, Black asked the Lord to have his way in the lives of all the senators in attendance:
“You are the potter, our senators and we are the clay. Mould and make us after your will. Stand up, omnipotent God, stretch yourself and let this nation and word know that you alone are sovereign. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
The prayer was delivered as the Senate prepared to vote on whether or not to permit new witnesses or evidence in the landmark case against Trump, which is set to conclude with a final vote on Wednesday. Though the trial progressed past the House, a large Republican majority in the Senate means that the President is likely to be acquitted of all charges.
At the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast and following an impassioned address by Rev. Black, President Trump assured the minister that his job was “very, very secure,” even though the Commander-in-Chief has no say in his appointment.
“I don't even know if you're Democrat or if you're Republican, but I'm appointing you for another year, the hell with it,” Trump said, much to Black’s dismay.
The current Senate Chaplain is the first Seventh-day Adventist to ever hold the position.