Washington D.C., Jan 4, 2021 / 17:21 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The word “amen” is not a gendered word and the term “a-women” is entirely made up, a professor of theology who specializes in Hebrew told CNA, after a prayer in the U.S. Congress used the fake word.
On Sunday, January 3, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) led the opening prayer for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Cleaver, an ordained Methodist pastor who served for 37 years as the senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, ended his prayer asking for peace in the legislative chamber, “in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and God known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and a-women.”
“Brahma” is the Hindu creator deity. There are members of the legislature who belong to Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Unitarian Universalist faiths.
While the word “amen” ends in “men,” like “repairmen” or “handymen,” it is not in reference to a gender, Dr. John Bergsma of the Franciscan University of Steubenville said to CNA on Monday. Bergsma has taught four undergraduate courses on Hebrew, as well as a summer intensive on the language.