In the fall of 1774, the First Continental Congress, at a moment when hostilities looked imminent and the possibility of war weighed heavy on its members, turned to prayer for divine guidance. Just like today, members squabbled, divided over denominational status, and failed to find agreement. Then Sam Adams, the firebrand known more for being contentious than conciliatory, rose and said that he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as he was a patriot. This has been the criterion for every priest or pastor who has led Congress in prayer since.

Americans ask those who represent us to do an incredibly important task in often challenging times. We demand they carry out their constitutional functions in a civil and upright way for the good of our nation. The pressures are great, and the temptations strong. They need all the help they can get.

Keep the chaplain. If anything, Congress needs more chaplains, more prayer and more appeals, as it says in the Declaration of Independence, to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of their intentions.