Daniel Markind

The Desecration of the Word ‘Amen’

To open the new session of Congress last week, Missouri Representative Emanuel Cleaver began with a prayer. At the end, the former Methodist pastor stated “Amen, and Awomen.” The uproar was immediate, and justified. While Cleaver tried to explain to the Kansas City Star that he intended the word to be “a lighthearted pun…” it came at the same time United States House of Representative, on a 217-206 party line vote, approve a code of conduct that mandates “gender inclusive” terms.

According to the very words of the code, no more will words like “father,” “mother,” “son,” or “daughter” be permitted to be used by the House. No longer can a Bill in Congress say “he or she serves” or “he or she holds.” Instead, it must state “such Member, Delegate or Resident” serves or holds. According to the Democrats in the House of Representatives, gender now is fluid, and outdated concepts such as male or female must be stricken from the public record.

Which brings us to “Amen.” Of course, it has nothing to do with the English word “men”, deriving instead from the Hebrew letters Aleph, Mem and Nun, which also includes words like “Ma’amin” – “believes.” But no more. Because its English translation includes the letters “m” “e” “n,” Amen must be changed and brought forward into the new “woke” times. Now perhaps the most used word in any Hebrew or Christian prayer service, which invokes a confirmation of faith, must be included within the modern culture wars.

Is nothing sacred? Must every aspect of language now be under the control and dictation of a self-appointed Ministry of Linguistic Social and Gender Justice?  Do those who would claim the right to decide on these issues even accept the possibility that a person could be in favor of LGBTQ rights without agreeing to rework all concepts of language?

On a train to his death in Treblinka in 1942, Azriel David Fastag wrote the melody for the twelfth “Ani Maamin”. “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah…” Remarkably, two boys escaped the locked train and one survived the Holocaust, delivering it to New York. Since then, it has become the musical symbol of the Holocaust. The haunting melody constitutes a sanctification of the most immoral event of modern times. Would even that be enough for the Ministry of Linguistic Social and Gender Justice to allow it to continue to be sung?

Like it or not, the Bible (both Old Testament and New Testament) is not gender neutral, and certainly not “woke”.  Will our social justice warriors insist on a new translation – one that omits any reference to concepts of gender? Will they even allow the Bible to be read, or perhaps more prophetically be discussed on the internet?  Will social media platforms allow any discussion of religion or religious themes that does not disavow any concept of gender? How far will this go?

Let’s take Representative Cleaver at his word and agree that his comment was a lighthearted joke. Let’s also be very clear that what is happening with language is not a joke. In our “free” societies, we all have the right to insist that our freedom to speak (with certain extremely narrow limitations) and to believe remains sacred, even if it does not conform to the current thoughts of those who would constitute the Ministry of Linguistic Social and Gender Justice.

About the Author
Daniel B, Markind is an attorney based in Philadelphia specializing in real estate, commercial, energy and aviation law. He is the former Chair of the National Legal Committee of the Jewish National Fund of America as well as being a former member of the National Executive Board and the National Chair of the JNF National Future Leadership. He writes frequently on Middle Eastern and energy issues. Mr. Markind lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and children.
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