In a demonstration of political correctness run amok, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) offered the opening prayer of the 117th Congress on Sunday — ending the invocation with "amen and a-woman."
Cleaver's shocking choice of words came after Democrats proposed eliminating all "gendered" language from the House rules, instead opting for "gender-inclusive" language. Cleaver's decision to end the prayer with supposed gender inclusivity was no doubt a nod to his party's genderless agenda.
What did Cleaver say?
Not only did Cleaver conclude the prayer with an unorthodox, supposed gender-inclusive ending, the entire prayer was riddled with politically correct statements.
In fact, Cleaver, despite being an ordained Methodist minister, appeared to endorse universalism or omnism, the idea that all religions lead to the same deity.
"We ask [these things] in the name of the monotheistic god, Brahma, and god known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and a-woman," Cleaver said to end the prayer.
Daily Congress Prayer, January 3, 2021, House guest chaplain Emanuel Cleaver: "A-man. And A-Woman." www.youtube.com
What was the reaction?
Cleaver was widely denounced for the prayer, not only because of its politically correct nature, but because his ending was not congruent with grammar.
As Ben Shapiro, an orthodox Jew, explained, the common ending used to finish prayers — "amen" — is a biblical Hebrew word that communicates affirmation or support and, in the context of prayer conclusion, means "may it be so."
"'Amen' is a Biblical Hebrew word: אמן. It is a word simply meaning 'may it be so.' It has nothing to do with the word 'man' or 'woman' because it is FROM HEBREW," Shapiro reacted. "This is some of the dumbest s*** I have ever seen in my life."
"Amen" is a Biblical Hebrew word: אמן. It is a word simply meaning "may it be so." It has nothing to do with the wo… https://t.co/Qo9OMceo3R— Ben Shapiro (@Ben Shapiro)1609723230.0
In fact, biblical Hebrew is an inflected language, meaning grammatical gender is built into the language system. Grammatical gender is completely unrelated to human gender.
For example, the Hebrew word meaning "heavens/sky" is grammatically masculine, while the word meaning "earth/land" is grammatically feminine.
Grammatical gender is often a difficult concept for native English speakers to grasp because modern English is an analytical language, meaning English uses word order, prepositions, verbal voice, and other features to discern syntax and understand meaning. Old English and Middle English, however, were inflected languages, and some of the case and verb conjugation features have been retained in modern English. Some examples of this are when we add an "-s" to the end of most nouns to denote plurality, or when we add "-ed" to the end of most verbs to communicate past tense.
On the other hand, inflected languages, also known as "synthetic languages," use case, grammatical gender, verbal conjugations, and other morphological changes to discern syntax and meaning.