Senate Chaplain Barry Black calls SNL parody 'a great honor'

Posted by William Douglas on October 13, 2013 

Barry Black hadn't seen it by Sunday afternoon, but he certainly heard about it.

The chaplain for the U.S. Senate was parodied on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend for his opening prayers in the chamber that have become messages of encouragement and admonishment for lawmakers grappling to reach deals to end the partial federal government shutdown and to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

SNL cast member Kenan Thompson played the dapper, bow-tied, baritone-voiced minister during the show's "Weekend Update" segment.

"Lord, bless and forgive these braying jackasses," Thompson's Black prayed. "May they find themselves in a restroom stall devoid of toilet paper."

Some Senate workers smiled and congratulated Black on Sunday. Black said he didn't know about the send-up until his son telephoned him about it.

"I had no idea that it had happened and I haven't even seen it," said Black, a retired Navy rear admiral and the Senate's first African-American and Seventh Day Adventist chaplain. "I understand a flood ensued as a result of the prayers. I haven't seen it. I'll have to go online."

Black has received lots of media attention in recent weeks -- including a New York Times spread -- for his pointed prayers. He was named the "Power Player of the Week" on "Fox New Sunday." As for "Saturday Night Live," Black said he's a fan of the show and didn't mind being poked for his prayers.

"It's all in good humor," he said. "If you're doing something constructive enough that you're part of their cartoons, that's a great honor."

Keeping true to form, Black opened Sunday's Senate session with a blunt appeal to a higher power.

"Let us pray... Give our lawmakers the wisdom to trust you and each other, turning the stubbornness of impossibilities into the blessings of creative possibilities. You are our God, and we refuse to entertain fears about our nation's future, for we remember how you have led this great Republic in the past. Make a way out of no way, answer our prayers, and use your powerful arms to keep our nation safe and secure. We pray in your great name."


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