WASHINGTON — A Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives and former longtime Methodist minister opened the 117th Congress with a prayer on Sunday that ended with citing the Hindu and Buddhist god Brahma and the seemingly gendered remark “amen and a woman.”
“Eternal God, noiselessly we bow before your throne of grace as we leave behind the politically and socially clamorous year of 2020,” began Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II as members of Congress stood socially distanced with their heads bowed. “We gather now in this consequential chamber to inaugurate another chapter in our roller coaster representative government.”
“The members of this august body acknowledge Your sacred supremacy and therefore confess that without Your favor and forbearance, we enter this New Year relying dangerously on our own fallible nature,” he stated.
Cleaver asked that God would empower the nation’s congressional leaders with an “extra dose” of commitment to democracy at a time when its light is fading.
“And may we model community healing, control our tribal tendencies, and quicken our spirit that we may feel thy priestly presence even in moments of heightened disagreement,” he prayed. “May we so feel Your presence that our service here may not be soiled by any utterances or acts unworthy of this high office.”
“Insert in our spirit a light so bright that we can see ourselves and our politics as we really are: soiled by selfishness, perverted by prejudice, and inveigled by ideology,” Cleaver continued.
He then proceeded with an Aaronic blessing, asking that “the God who created the world and everything in it” would “lift up the light of His countenance upon us and give us peace now and evermore.”
However, in ending his invocation, Cleaver then cited the Hindu and Buddhist god Brahma, who is touted in those religions to be the creator, and suggested that all faiths worship the same god — who is simply known by different names.
“We ask it in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and God known by many names by many different faiths,” he said.
Cleaver concluded his prayer with “amen and a woman.”
According to reports, the representative holds a Master of Divinity from Saint Paul School of Theology. He is the founder of the Kansas City branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and led St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri from 1972 to 2009. His son, Emanuel Cleaver III, is currently pastor of that church.
Cleaver’s unorthodox remarks have resulted in commotion online from those who are dismayed that the congressman and liberal minister would insert politically correct gender-equal language when “amen” has nothing to do with men or gender. The Old English word “amen” when translated from Greek and Hebrew simply means “it is truth” or “let it be so.”
“This must be a joke,” one commented.
“[Amen] has nothing to do with gender, absolutely nothing to do with gender,” another noted. “‘A woman’ is a meaningless word created to cater to special interest groups who are too ignorant to know ‘amen’ has nothing to do with ‘men.'”
“What a disgrace but a good representation of a ‘Democrat’ and the sleeping ‘church.’ The Lord rebuke thee, Satan!” a third exclaimed.
“[I]t’s disturbing to see an outward expression of rebellion towards Jesus Christ,” another lamented. “He didn’t address our Heavenly Father and he didn’t say, ‘in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.’ This prayer was in vain and [an] expression of pure disrespect to our Father in Heaven.”
1 Corinthians 8:5-6 states, “For though there be that are called gods, whether in Heaven or in Earth (as there be gods many and lords many), but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things and we in Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things and we by Him.”
Revelation 7:11-12 reads in reflecting the reverence surrounding the word amen, “And all the angels stood round about the throne and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen, blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.'”
Editor’s Note: A former version of this article mistakenly referred to the representative as Emanuel Cleaver III, who is actually the congressman’s son.