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FLASHBACK: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver Concludes Opening Prayer For 117th Congress With ‘Amen And Awomen’

Today marks three years since, on Sunday January 3, 2021, Reverend Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), ended the opening session of the 117th Congress with a prayer using the words “amen and a-woman.”

After a significant backlash, Cleaver told the Kansas City Star that he was making a “lighthearted pun” when he used the made-up word “a-woman” to finish the prayer.

He said the pun was a tribute to Rear Admiral Margaret Grun Kibben, the United States House of Representative's chaplain, a Presbyterian minister and the first woman to serve in that role.

She is the former Chief of Chaplains of the Navy. Mr. Cleaver led the public search committee that ultimately selected her.

Congressman Cleaver is the former pastor at St. James United Methodist Church of Kansas City. He is credited with starting Kansas City's chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Council.

The SCLC was established in 1957, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, as an original convocation of some 60 Black ministers and leaders.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the SCLC's first president. In 1957, he was the pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. His dad, Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., was the senior pastor at Ebenezer.

The mini-furor over Reverend Cleaver’s lighthearted moment came days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was thoroughly ridiculed by her critics, and encouraged by her supporters, on New Year’s Day, for eliminating gendered terms such as “father, mother, son, and daughter” in the procedural language or the 117th Congress.

“It shows you how out of touch the Democrats in the House are,” Rep. Jim Hagedorn said, referring to the so called woke mafia. “They are so fixated on ‘degenderizing’ everything they even take it to prayers, and to a word that has nothing to do with gender.”

It is notable that neither male nor female is ascribed to the word “amen.” The word is derived from Greek and Hebrew. It is used by Christians and Jews in prayer. Amen translates, in English, to “truly” or “it is so.”



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