American politician and pastor Emanuel Cleaver is under fire after he ended his Congress prayer in a bizarre way. Here’s the ‘amen a woman’ meme explained.

If you’ve been on Twitter recently, you’ve probably seen everyone using the phrase ‘amen a woman’ as it’s has gone viral on social media over the past few days, but why?

Well, it all relates back to a US Congress prayer that was broadcast on Sunday, and the way Emanuel Cleaver ended his prayer has caused a lot of backlash.

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The ‘amen a woman’ meme explained

On January 3rd, house guest Chaplin Emanuel Cleaver opened the 117th congress with a prayer, and the sermon was broadcast live on TV. Little did he know, he would become the latest viral Twitter meme.

Many viewers started noticing something strange about the way he ended his prayer. Rather than simply saying ‘Amen’ as you would expect, he said “A-man and A-woman”.

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Social media users began sharing the video online, claiming that he attempted to change the common prayer ending to be gender-neutral. His phrase hasn’t gone down well on social media, and he’s been getting a lot of backlash on Twitter.

What does Amen actually mean?

To understand why his words are getting so much backlash, you need to understand exactly what ‘Amen’ actually means.

The phrase is a formal statement that is spoken to express solemn agreement, essentially a declaration of affirmation.

The term is derived from the Hebrew word āmēn which means ‘certainty’, ‘truth’ and ‘verily’, and can be translated to mean ‘so it be’ in English.

So, the phrase has absolutely nothing to do with gender.

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The phrase gets backlash on Twitter

Many social media users have taken to Twitter to express backlash over Emanuel’s phrase, claiming that his statement was hugely ignorant as the word ‘Amen’ has nothing to do with gender at all.

One Twitter user said: “Amen and a woman is perhaps the greatest example of ignorance I have come across in a long time. ‘Amen’ is a Hebrew word and the ‘men’ in ‘Amen’ has nothing to do with the English ‘men’. Ugh! Insulting to people of faith and shamefully ignorant!”

“Just when I think politicians can’t surprise me they do. Ending a Congressional prayer with ‘Amen and a woman’ is insulting to EVERY person of faith. Using prayer to try to get a viral political soundbite shows how far we’ve strayed from being ‘one nation under God,” said another.

Another person said: “Congress today did a prayer and finished it with “amen” AND “a woman” to be gender equal. Are they really that dumb. Amen is Latin/Hebrew for “Truly” or “So be it”? It has nothing to do with Gender. These people are complete idiots. Ex: “God is great.” “Amen” (truly) duh!”

Emanuel confirms his prayer ending was a pun

Others have argued that Emanuel’s words have been misconstrued, and Emanuel has confirmed that he did not intend to be ignorant at all.

According to the Kansas City Star, Emanuel said that his statement was intended to be a pun, claiming he was surprised by the backlash from a pun that he said was intended to recognise the record number of women serving in the new Congress.

“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 said.

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