- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 3, 2021

The 117th Congress kicked off with a fresh controversy Sunday when the Democrat delivering the opening prayer concluded by saying “amen,” and then added “a-woman.”

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri Democrat, ended his prayer “in the name of the monotheistic god,” then added what sounded like “Brahma,” before finishing with “and god known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and a-woman.”

Critics, led by Republican lawmakers, were quick to point out that “amen” means “so be it,” and does not refer to the male gender, while “a-woman” doesn’t mean anything.

“Amen is Latin for ‘so be it,’” tweeted Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, Pennsylvania Republican. “It’s not a gendered word. Unfortunately, facts are irrelevant to progressives. Unbelievable.”

According to Catholic.com, “Amen is a word that came to English from Latin, which got it from Greek, which got it from Aramaic, which got it from Hebrew (technically, Aramaic may have had it anyway, before it became the standard language of the Jewish people a few centuries before the time of Christ).”

“I guess the virtue signaling Democrats didn’t check the Herbrew [sic] etymology of the word ‘Amen’ to realize it has NOTHING to do with gender,” tweeted Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colorado Republican. “But don’t let facts get in the way of a good virtue signal. Also, didn’t those words just get banned?”

Indeed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rules Committee chairman James P. McGovern released Friday a proposed rules package that would “honor all gender identities by changing pronouns and familial relationships in the House rules to be gender neutral.”

The proposal would put the kibosh on the use of “he” and “she,” as well as “mother” and “father.” The package must be approved by a vote of Congress.

Mr. Cleaver posted a video of the prayer on his Twitter feed but offered no explanation as to why he used “a-woman.”

“I was honored to deliver the opening prayer for the 117th Congress. May God bless each and every Representative with the courage and wisdom to defend our democracy and the liberties we all hold so dearly,” said Mr. Cleaver, who is listed as a United Methodist pastor on Congressweb.com.

Tweeted Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican: “Amen and Awoman?!?! Don’t they know that gender isn’t binary??? What about the other 42 genders?”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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