Rep. Emanuel Cleaver closes Congress’ opening prayer with ‘amen and awoman’

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver closes Congress’ opening prayer with
‘amen and awoman’ 1

A House Democrat tasked with leading the body in an opening prayer for the new Congress has gendered the word “amen.”

To close a prayer he delivered from the House chamber Sunday to mark the swearing in of the 117th Congress, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), an ordained minister, altered the traditional “amen” to say “amen and awoman.”

“May the lord lift up the light of his countenance upon us and give us peace,” Cleaver said during his two-minute invocation, “Peace in our families, peace across this land, and dare I ask o Lord, peace even in this chamber.”

“We ask it in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and ‘god’ known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and awoman.”

While Cleaver may have been trying to be inclusive to women, “amen” is not a gendered word. The word translates from Hebrew to mean “so be it.”

The Missouri lawmaker did not seem phased by internet reaction to his “awoman” remark, posting video of the prayer to Twitter Sunday and writing, “I was honored to deliver the opening prayer for the 117th Congress.

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“May God bless each and every Representative with the courage and wisdom to defend our democracy and the liberties we all hold so dearly.”

His decision to gender the word, however, comes just days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) introduced new House rules that would “honor all gender identities” by eliminating specific terms such as mother and father, son and daughter, and aunt and uncle.

Instead, only gender-neutral terms such as “parent,” “child,” “sibling” and “parent’s sibling” would be allowed in the text of Congressional rules.

Calling the rules “future-focused” in a statement upon their release, Pelosi defended them as “the most inclusive in history.”

The package will be voted on by the House Monday.

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