Dan Hall is no longer the chaplain of the Minnesota State Senate. The current chaplain, (according to a January '07 Star Tribune Article) is Rev. Kevin McDonough, the vicar general of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. McDonough is also chief operating officer of the archdiocese and considered second only to Archbishop Harry Flynn. McDonough has been a frequent advocate for the church at the State Capitol.
The comment was made to the previous entry that Dan Hall received no tax money for being chaplain of the Senate, but is funded through donations. Maybe you are thinking of his role as president of Midwest Chaplains, which is a 501(c)(3). In it's 2005 tax filling (publicly available on the internet), Midwest Chaplains reported a revenue of $76,906 and it's one paid employee (Dan Hall) made $62,500. I assume he doesn't make as much, if anything, as the leader of the Bachmann Prayer Team, or any of his other ventures. His pay with Midwest Chaplains isn't an issue, I'm not donating any money to him. He can give himself a million dollars if that's what people want to give him.
The House chaplain gets $2000 per year, and $35 per prayer (visiting chaplains receive $35).
Even if the position of chaplain was volunteer and there was no money used to support it whatsoever, there are still issues with government appearing to endorse one religion (Christianity, in this case).
One of the issues I had with the position of chaplain in the Legislature is that the chaplain is proselytizing to state employees (the members of the legislature); by way of the prayers at the beginning of the sessions and, as Dan Hall admits, in their offices. The current Chaplain has also expressed his interest in proselytizing to legislators. In January, McDonough told the Star Tribune...
Q: Any plans to do lobbying on the side?That clearly shows his intent to proselytize on the job...and this article in Politics in Minnesota [I see this link is now behind a paywall - 11/5/13] mentions the lobbying he appeared to do against the bill that would extend the civil statute of limitations for victims of clergy sexual abuse.
A: No, this role is not related to my official role with the archdiocese. I'll only be trying to lobby the senators into heaven.
Dan Hall and Rev. Kevin McDonough may be great guys. If they feel their calling in life is to proselytize to people, fine...they can walk down any sidewalk and do a Kirk Cameron (I hope they don't forget to bring a Banana), but when they are given an official position in the government, that creates an unnecessary relationship between government and religion.
My original question still stands. As 'awesome' as you might think it is to have a 'Chaplin'[sic] at the Capitol...can you provide any legitimate reason why there should be one other than 'historical tradition'?
Update 11/5/2013: The Star Tribune has just done an article mentioning Rev. Kevin McDonough lobbying at the capitol. When will they do an article questioning the need for chaplains altogether?