A Democratic lawmaker from Missouri left social media users bemused after he ended an opening prayer with "awoman" -- a supposedly gendered version of traditional "amen." Rep. Emanuel Cleaver drew flak and was trolled for trying to make the prayer gender-neutral.
Cleaver, an ordained United Methodist pastor, opened the first session of the new 117th US Congress by delivering the prayer. He also included Hindu god Brahma in the invocation.
"May the lord lift up the light of his countenance upon us and give us peace," Cleaver said. "Peace in our families, peace across this land, and dare I ask o Lord, peace even in this chamber. We ask it in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and 'god' known by many names by many different faiths."
Cleaver ended the prayer by saying: "Amen and awoman."
A video of Cleaver's prayer went viral on social media leaving users bemused and baffled. Many tried to reason that "amen" -- a Biblical Hebrew word -- was not a gendered word and rather meant "so be it." Others suggested Cleaver change his name to "Ewomanuel" to show it as gender-neutral.
"Can I get an Amen and Awoman, Rep Emanuel or Ewomanuel," one Twitter user joked.
The invocation of Brahma, too, annoyed some Christian conservatives.
"brahma and YHWH are not the same god. A Methodist (or any other Christian) minister praying to anyone but YHWH should unquestionably be stripped of their title and position. Pray for Emanuel Cleaver," one Twitter user wrote.
"A Methodist preacher praying in the name of the "monotheistic God....and brahma?? Forget the a-woman, words can't even begin to explain," tweeted another user.
Cleaver's gender-neutral prayer came days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proposed new rules to "honor all gender identities." The rules aim to remove gender-specific terms including mother and father, son and daughter, and aunt and uncle. These will be replaced with "parent," "child," "sibling" and "parent's sibling." According to Pelosi, the change was "the most inclusive in history."
However, Republicans mocked the idea and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took to Twitter to call it "stupid" and added, "Signed, - A father, son, and brother."