Rep. Cleaver ends opening prayer for new Congress: ‘Amen and awoman’

Lawmakers return to the US Capitol for a new session of Congress with a packed agenda

Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver from Missouri opened the 117th Congress in prayer yesterday, but he closed his prayer by...

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri Democrat, delivered Sunday the opening prayer of the 117th Congress, ending it with the traditional "amen" and then tacking on "a-woman", drawing rebukes from stunned Republicans and others.

"Dems open congress with a prayer that ends "amen and awoman.' Amen is a Latin word that means 'truly" or 'so be it.' Awoman is a nonsense word that means nothing".

"Being that "Amen" has nothing to do with gender and is actually derived from an ancient Hebrew word meaning 'so be it, ' we never fail to impress here in the Show-Me State, do we?" tweeted former Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, now a popular radio talk show host in St. Louis. Raffensperger's office leaked the call to the Washington Post, which quickly keyed in on the word "find" and published out-of-context headlines alleging Mr. Trump was pressuring Raffensperger to "find" votes in order to turn over the election. "Is this what you voted for?" said Trump Jr., who incorrectly identified the word's origin as Latin.

Cleaver is an ordained United Methodist pastor and was tapped to lead the opening prayer to start the new session.

"I am deeply disappointed that my prayer has been misinterpreted and misconstrued by some to fit a narrative that stokes resentment and greater division among portions of our population", Cleaver told CBS News in a statement.

There are 144 women serving in the House and Senate. May the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon us and give us peace - peace in our families, peace across this land and, dare I ask, oh Lord - peace even in this chamber, now and ever more.

"Rather than reflecting on my faithful requests for community healing and reversion from our increasingly tribal tendencies, it appears that some have latched on to the final word of this conversation in an attempt to twist my message to God and demean me personally", Cleaver said.

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