On Sunday, a Democratic representative — who also happens to have been a pastor for 37 years — gave an official prayer to open the 117th Congress. With great pomp and circumstance, he closed his prayer by invoking “the monotheistic god,” Brahma, and the god who supposedly goes by many names. He then concluded with the most asinine thing I have ever heard. He ended with “amen … and a-woman.”
Yes, in a moment worthy of The Babylon Bee, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), added the nonsense neologism “a-woman” to the classic prayer ending, “amen.”
“We ask it in the name of the monotheistic god, Brahma, and god known by many names by many different faiths,” Cleaver concluded. “Amen. … and A-woman.”
“Amen” means “so be it,” “it is so,” or “verily.” Jews and Christians have used the term to conclude prayers for thousands of years. The word appears 30 times in the Hebrew Bible and 52 times in the New Testament. There is no connection — absolutely none — between “amen” and “men,” the far later English word for plural male individuals.
This truth is so basic that it honestly strains credulity that any educated Jew, Christian, or Muslim — much less a Methodist who served as a pastor for 37 years — would feel the need to make the term of assent “amen” inclusive by adding “a-woman.” Yet Emanuel Cleaver, who served as the pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Mo., from March 1972 to June 2009, did exactly that — and it seems he is proud of it.
Naturally, many conservatives rightly mocked Cleaver for this absurd virtue signaling. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) mentioned “a-woman” and added, “Amen is Latin for ‘so be it.’ It’s not a gendered word. Unfortunately, facts are irrelevant to progressives. Unbelievable.”
“Amen is a Latin word that means ‘truly’ or ‘so be it.’ Awoman is a nonsense word that means nothing. Dems find a way to make everything stupid and nonsensical. Utter clowns, all of them,” The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh tweeted.
Yet this “a-woman” fiasco should show Americans just how stupid and shallow much of Democrats’ pandering in the name of “inclusivity” really is.
Democrats have championed Marxist critical race theory, which teaches that hidden racism permeates American society so that if America’s institutions are colorblind, they must be racist in some hidden, mysterious way. That’s what “institutional racism” really means.
Democrats have trained themselves to see racism even in situations where the law clearly states that individuals are to be judged on the content of their character, rather than on the color of their skin — and this extends to other kinds of prejudice as well. Feminists must root out any trace of “patriarchy.” Islamists must fight “Islamophobia,” which they redefine to mean any suggestion that radical Islamist terrorism has any connection to Islam.
This Marxist quest to root out hidden prejudice culminates in the transgender movement’s quest to rid the world of “white cis-hetero-patriarchy,” the supposed dominance of white males who identify as male and who wish that heterosexual relationships were the norm.
These ideologies converge to create a massive conspiratorial mindset. Behind every government building is a racist, sexist, religionist, anti-you-name-it bigot pulling the strings. How disappointed these social justice warriors will be when they discover that civilization does not exist in order to oppress them. Yet conspiracy theories have an ugly tendency to persist and even grow in the face of the truth.
It seems this poisonous thinking has convinced a former pastor who should have known better that the very term “amen” is an instrument of patriarchal oppression.
Ironically, Cleaver’s speech — which he ended with a virtue-signaling attempt to appear inclusive — addressed a very Christian God. He described God as “eternal,” a being with “sacred supremacy,” a deity “who created the world and everything in it,” and one with a “priestly presence.”
This concept of God may appear compatible with many faiths, but it is not. Neither Judaism nor Islam involves a God who is also a priest. Only in Christianity does one Person of the Trinity — Jesus Christ — make supplication to another Person of God — the Father — on behalf of humanity. While God may listen to the prayers of non-Christians, it is false to suggest that different religions all pray to the same God (Christianity and Islam provide an important example of this).
For all Cleaver’s mentioning of Brahma, his suggestion that the Christian God is “known by many names by many faiths,” and his asinine ending with “Amen. … and A-woman,” Cleaver delivered a very Christian prayer. He acknowledged humans’ “fallible nature” in contrast to God’s perfection, asking God to enable Congress to defend democracy and to overcome the divisions of tribalism and ideology.
Jews and Muslims who were listening closely in order to find something offensive will not be disappointed. Atheists will have a field day.
Cleaver was right to pray for unity amid tribalism and ideology, and he was right to acknowledge humanity’s fallible nature. Yet his attempts to be more inclusive will not satisfy those who are paying attention. Rather, his shallow inclusivity makes him a laughingstock.
Perhaps Cleaver will realize his mistake and admit that “amen” is not some deep symbol of the oppressive white cis-hetero-patriarchy. Perhaps many on the Left will even mock him for this absurdity. Yet it seems plausible that some SJWs will probably cheer the nonsensical neologism “a-woman,” and start using it to end their prayers.
Watch the “a-woman” incident below.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.