UPDATE: Can priests be arrested tomorrow?

2013_10 06 Now it's up to the Senate

I have not been able to find where the Senate has taken any vote on this. But it’s the week-end. Democrats apparently don’t work week-ends … or holidays. Not even when there’s an international crisis. Remember the Fourth of July when Egypt was burning and SecState Kerry was spotted on his yacht off Nantucket?

2013_10 06 Enyart voted NO to chaplains

So … is it true that priests could face arrest for saying Mass on base while furloughed? There’s been a lot of mis-information thrown around about this, so here’s the best info I’ve found:

31 USC 1342 says “An officer or employee of the United States Government or of the District of Columbia government may not accept voluntary services for either government or employ personal services exceeding that authorized by law except for emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.”

Penalties for violating 31 USC 1342 are spelled out in 31 USC 1350: “An officer or employee of the United States Government or of the District of Columbia government knowingly and willfully violating section 1341(a) or 1342 of this title shall be fined not more than $5,000, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.”

So yes, priests can be arrested if they defy the furlough and say Mass on base.





Filed under Armed Forces, Christianity, Democrats, Government Shutdown

3 responses to “UPDATE: Can priests be arrested tomorrow?

  1. Thanks for tracking this down, Chrissy. It’s hard to know what’s really going on here. This is good info.


  2. For the record, these “no volunteering in a shut down” rules originated in the 19th century in response to a president trying to by-pass the “keepers of the purse” (Congress). Executive over-reach goes way back.


  3. Ting

    It was my understanding that the priests in question were not actual government employees, however. I think I read somewhere yesterday that they are actually employed by an entity that contracts with the government to provide the chaplain services at particular bases.

    I don’t know what kind of difference it makes, however. For example, I could imagine that if this was a business as opposed to the government that there might be some issue of liability insurance not being in effect. But I don’t know that the government even has insurance. Maybe they do – I just never thought about it before.