Congressional prayer ends with the words ‘amen and awoman.’ Rep. Guest calls it ‘disrespectful.’
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Representative Michael Guest is calling a prayer opening the 117th Congress “disrespectful to all people of faith.”
The prayer, which was said by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a practicing Methodist pastor in Missouri, ended with the words “amen and awoman,” causing it to go viral on social media Monday morning.
“May the Lord make His face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us,” Cleaver said towards the end of his prayer. “May the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon us and give us peace.
“Peace on our families, peace on this land and, dare I ask oh Lord, peace even in this chamber now and evermore. We ask it in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma (creator God in Hinduism), and God known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and awoman.”
In Greek, the word “amen” translates to “it is so” or “so it be.”
The prayer was met with immediate backlash from some who called it both shocking and offensive, Rep. Guest among them.
“Amen is an affirmative statement that expresses approval or agreement at the end of a prayer and in no way denotes gender,” the congressman wrote on Facebook. “Closing a prayer in this manner is disrespectful to all people of faith.”
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, went a step further, stating on Twitter that the “radical madness has begun.”
Rep. Cleaver has not yet responded to any criticism of his prayer, simply stating that he “was honored to deliver the opening prayer for the 117th Congress.”
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