With the new Congress starting, the opening prayer was led by Representative Emanuel Cleaver, who is also a pastor, ending the prayer with “amen and a-woman.” This upset some of his colleagues who point out “amen” has nothing to do with gender.
During the opening session of the new Congress, Representative Emanuel Cleaver ended the opening prayer of the session with “amen and a-woman.”
- Cleaver, who is also a pastor, drew some sharp reactions from his remarks, with Republican Representative Guy Reschenthaler tweeting “Amen is Latin for ‘so be it.’ It’s not a gendered word.”
- The hubbub comes as the House passed their rules for the 117th Congress that disallows gendered terms in “official language found in the House rules”, so that “the term seamen will be replaced with seafarers” as an example.
- Representative Cleaver responded to the story saying it was a pun “intended to recognize the record number of women” elected to Congress this term.
- Dictionary.com got in the twitter snark game by criticizing Rep. Jim Jordan for his tweet lambasting the push to make Congress gender neutral.
- The Independent snuck in reporting on a single Twitter user objecting to including “Brahma” in the prayer.
- TMZ framed their reporting by saying Republicans were “taking shots” and that Donald Trump Jr. “angrily tweeted about the incident.
- The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, ABC News, and NBC News have yet to report on the story.
- Fox News’ coverage characterized the story in cultural terms, reporting on Ben Shapiro and Kat Timpf calling the “amen and a-woman” prayer ending a mockery.
- Much of the Washington Examiner’s reporting also focused on reactions from Rep. Cleaver’s Republican colleagues.
- The Federalist characterized Cleaver’s comments as “insanity spread to the opening prayer”, referring to the House rules that are banning gendered nouns.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021