Can I Get an Awoman?

The recently-opened 117th Congress experienced what could be considered the most laughable prayer ever uttered if it was not in the context of such a serious platform. Representative Emanuel Cleaver from Missouri was sworn in on Sunday, and led a prayer in front of Congress to conclude the process. Ordinarily, this would be an appropriate way to give thanks to God, as well as a good example for all public officials. However, the manner in which this Methodist pastor closed out his prayer is going viral because of its ludicrous nature.

“We ask this in the name of the monotheistic God…God known by many names and by many different faiths. Amen, and awoman.” Apart from the glaring and nonsensical “awoman,” there were many aspects of Cleaver’s prayer which were simply contradictory and illogical. He refers to the monotheistic God while also naming the Hindu god Brahma. He implies that God can be known by several names even if those faiths believe in antithetical views of the divine. In an effort not to offend, we end up with a theological mishmash. 

But back to the cringe-worthy “awoman.” The term amen has its original roots in the Hebrew equivalent which can be defined as “truth” or “certainty” regarding a stance. The Latin term means “so be it,” expressing an affirmation of a truth previously stated. As one approaches to receive the Body of Christ at the Sacrifice of the Mass, he or she responds with amen, stating that he or she believes that this is truly the Body of Christ. The term has absolutely nothing to do with gender identity or equality; the misuse of the term by Representative Cleaver personifies the irrational arguments made by his allies for years now.

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Most likely Cleaver was embracing the recently-stated woke desire of Nancy Pelosi to remove all potentially offensive gender specificities in the House; common words such as “he, she, mother, and father” are all now in that ever-expanding “offensive” list. These terms are to be forbidden and set apart as examples of bigotry in order to erode any sense of traditional (truth-based) values of sexual ethics and the family.  What sounds ridiculous to the ordinary observer is in fact directly in line with the movement and trajectory of the left’s ideology over the past decades.

The 1992 landmark Supreme Court case of Casey vs. Planned Parenthood ruled “the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, of the mystery of human life.” The dynamite which was buried during the sexual revolution of the 1960s exploded in Casey and has since spread like a forest fire in recent years. Ever since Casey the Left has been salivating over the possibilities inherent in “defin[ing their] own concept of existence.” 

As seen with Cleaver’s ridiculous use of an objectively gender-neutral word, however, this relativistic mindframe grounded in the will to power has led to rational and ethical absurdity, all while allowing those in the spotlight to feel as if they have the capacity to determine what is right and wrong, what is natural and unnatural. 

We used to hear that the Church has no right to tell people how to live their lives, nor are they the arbiters of what is moral or immoral. All human beings should have the right to choose this on their own, we heard. The old chorus refrain was to let others decide for themselves their reality. However, now we know better. We know that this is only true until you decide to stand for values which place you at odds with those who are in power. You are free to choose as you like unless you declare that the life in the womb has the DNA makeup of a full grown adult and ought to be protected, or unless you proclaim that biology and psychology shows us that marriage ought to be between a man and a woman, or unless you speak the inextricable truth that men and women are born equal but we are different. 

Because we have substituted truth for power we have arrived at a place where we cannot even use the word amen or refer to others as husband, wife, mother, and father. We are on the verge of slipping into a nothingness, surrounded on all sides by the irrational and contradictory claims of a culture that is only concerned with having the “liberty” to craft their own version of reality, rather than living in the truth of the reality in which they find themselves. 

[Photo Credit: Kyle Rivas/Getty Images]


  • Thomas Griffin

    Thomas Griffin is the chair of the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island where he lives with his wife and two sons. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Empty Tomb Project: The Magazine.

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