Senate chaplain offers prayer 'as children are being separated from their parents'

Senate chaplain offers prayer 'as children are being separated from their parents'
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Senate Chaplain Barry Black on Monday used his daily prayer in the chamber to highlight the plight of children who have been separated from their parents as part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. 

“We pray for our lawmakers, for our nation and its leaders and for all the nations of this earth. Through the power of your spirit, use our senators to cause justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream,” Black said. 

“As children are being separated from their parents, remind us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to protect the most vulnerable in our world,” he continued.

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Black’s message came amid growing opposition from lawmakers in both parties to the Trump administration’s practice of separating migrant families.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Hill.TV poll: 41 percent of Americans want Mueller to wrap up probe before midterms The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) MORE announced the so-called zero tolerance policy earlier this year, saying the Department of Justice would criminally prosecute all adults attempting to illegally cross the southern border into the U.S. As a result, families who crossed together would in some cases be separated, he said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBrennan fires new shot at Trump: ‘He’s drunk on power’ Trump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report Trump tried to dissuade Melania from 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign: report MORE has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the separation policy, despite his administration issuing the directive that led to the practice. On Monday, he doubled down, saying the U.S. “will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility.”

Administration officials have claimed only Congress can fix the issue by passing immigration reform.

Members of Congress have introduced legislation to end the practice of separating families, while simultaneously urging Trump to unilaterally stop the separations.

Monday’s prayer was not the first time Black highlighted political developments. In October, he prayed for “more patriots who will stand for right, regardless of the consequences.”

Those comments came one day after GOP Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances White House weighs clawing back State, foreign aid funding Rand Paul to ask Trump to lift sanctions on Russian leaders MORE (Tenn.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeVoters will punish Congress for ignoring duty on war and peace GOP Senate candidate truncates Trump tweet in campaign mailer GOP senator reviving effort to rein in Trump on tariffs MORE (Ariz.) laid into Trump. Both men, who are retiring after this Congress, have since become regular critics of the president. 

Black’s prayer came months after House Chaplain Pat Conroy found himself in the middle of a controversy allegedly because one of his prayers was perceived to be too political.

Conroy briefly resigned before later rescinding his resignation and returning to his post.