Better East Texas: Amen ... and a woman?

BET: Amen .... or a woman?

(KLTV/KTRE) Surely, there are a few components of our society that are immune from the pall of being divisive. I thought that used to be the case in that surely, a prayer won’t be divisive. Surely a prayer won’t be slanted for political commentary. But that is exactly what happened recently in our nation’s capital.

The opening prayer of the 93rd congress that assembled recently was delivered by Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri. He is a nine-term representative and an ordained minister. He delivered a sweet, humble prayer to open the congressional session but ended the prayer by declaring “Amen… and a woman.”

Amen and a woman. Now, it wasn’t a slip or a mis-speak. It was intentional. Representative Cleaver said afterwards that it was a pun – his word – to recognize the achievement of having the largest number of elected women in congress, in history. Which is obviously a noble achievement, and one that needs to continue to grow.

But to tailor the closing of a prayer, especially one of such visibility with a pun – again – his word – is over the top. And now, it is predictably open season on others inserting a pun or other casual comment in closing corporate prayers across the land.

We have once again taken the sacred and casualized it with this act. Prayer is exemplified in the Bible by Christ and others and just isn’t a casual event. With a pun. Perhaps Representative Cleaver will use the display as an opportunity to show some reverence in the future and that will make for a Better East Texas.