State can't even afford prayers

December 04, 1991|By Annapolis Bureau of The Sun

ANNAPOLIS -- Holy budget cut! Maryland's legislative leaders are all but eliminating future funds for prayer.

It is not that they believe the General Assembly doesn't need prayer in these difficult times. It just don't want to pay for it anymore.

Sessions of the Senate and House of Delegates have traditionally opened with prayer, usually delivered by a priest, rabbi or minister invited to the State House by a lawmaker representing his or her district.

For their trouble, these men and women of the cloth were slipped a $40 stipend. But no more.

In their zeal to trim frills from the General Assembly's budget to help eliminate a $1 billion deficit, legislative leaders recommended yesterday that funds for the "chaplain's stipend" be reduced from the $5,120 appropriated this year to a mere $220 next year.

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