One of our favorite wokefolk christians is up in arms over criticism of United States Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D), a United Methodist pastor who delivered the opening prayer for the 117th United States Congress and concluded the benediction with “amen, and awomen.”
After being roasted online and mocked by friend and foe alike, Cleaver has responded to the unending slew of potshots, saying that his prayer was a lighthearted pun has been misinterpreted:
“I concluded with a lighthearted pun in recognition of the record number of women who will be representing the American people in Congress during this term as well as in recognition of the first female Chaplain of the House of Representatives whose service commenced this week.”
He further told KCTV5 News:
“With that kind of gender and inclusion in the Congress, the most diverse Congress in history, I ended my prayer by saying ‘a woman,”
After I prayed, Republicans and Democrats alike were coming up to me saying ‘thank you for the prayer. We needed it. We need somebody to talk to God about helping us to get together.’ It was a prayer of unity.
We’ve got 300 some thousand people who have died of COVID and some people are concerned because I used two words—‘a woman?’ It’s mind boggling.”
We have the complete text below, and there is nothing humorous about it or any other mention of women being mentioned, making the explanation ring hollow. But at least one person has stuck up for the progressive pastor: Ally Henny.
For those not familiar, she’s the Vice President of Jemar Tisby’s Witness Black Christian Collective (WBBC) and is openly pro-choice and pro LBGT, which should tell you how seriously Jemar and the organization are to fighting injustice: everywhere but in the womb. She writes:
Sure Henny. “Joking.”
Eternal God, noiselessly we bow before your throne of grace as we leave behind the politically and socially clamorous year of 2020. We gather now in this consequential chamber to inaugurate another chapter in our roller coaster representative government.
The members of this august body acknowledge your sacred supremacy and therefore confess that without your favor and forbearance we enter this new year relying dangerously on our own fallible nature.
God, at a moment when many believe that the bright light of democracy is beginning to dim, empower us with an extra dose of commitment to its principles. May we of the 117th congress, refuel the lamp of liberty so brimful that generations unborn will witness its undying flame.
And may we model community healing, control our tribal tendencies and quicken our spirit that we may feel thy priestly presence even in moments of heightened disagreement.
May we so feel your presence that our service here many not be soiled by any utterances or acts unworthy of this high office, and insert in our spirits a light so bright, that we can see ourselves and our politics as we really are, soiled by selfishness, perverted by prejudice, and (unintelligible) by ideology.
Now may the God who created the world and everything in it bless us and keep us. May the Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us. 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 o lord even in this chamber. Now and every more.
We ask it in the name of the monotheistic god, Brahma, and god known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and Awomen. “
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