Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Membership In People Of Praise Has Drawn Criticism
With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump can now create a conservative court that could last for decades. On the shortlist of nominations is Judge Amy Coney Barrett. She is a federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge. She is also a conservative Catholic who has taught at Notre Dame Law School.
Her battle with Senator Feinstein during her federal confirmation hearing on her faith made her a hero among religious conservatives. But some politicians are asking new questions about her participation in the religious group People of Praise.
People of Praise is a Christian group created in 1971. It was part of the Christian revivalist movement that swept the world. The organization has grown to thousands in the United States. It is ecumenical. Any Christian may join, regardless of denomination. Members must give five percent of their wages to the organization. After six years of commitment to the organization, members can move into residential communities.
What is drawing criticism and accusations of being “cult-like” are some of the other regulations of the organization. Members of the group are put under the direction of a same-sex leader. These leaders are titled “heads” and “handmaidens.” Former members have claimed these mentors have vast influence in the lives of their charges. This includes who to marry, what jobs to take, and how many children to have. Some former members felt pressured to move into single-sex households with other People of Praise participants until they were married.
A religious group in which members take an oath of loyalty to each other and are supervised by a male “head” or female “handmaiden.” That looks like a cult. Now she wants a seat on SCOTUS for the sole purpose of overturning Roe v. Wade. The answer is NO.https://t.co/i3lb7nVJPU
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) June 30, 2018
Some politicians have pointed out the organization requires their members to take a loyalty oath that could interfere with Barrett’s ability to be a fair and impartial justice. Barrett has publicly stated she is open to the idea of using the law to make sweeping social reforms and does not believe in the doctrine of staying true to the original intent of the Constitution.
This has upset political liberals who believe if Barrett is nominated to the Supreme Court, she will overturn Roe v. Wade, ending abortion in the United States. She may vote to protect religious freedoms over LGBTQ civil rights or limit the scope of gay marriage.
Leaders of People of Praise argue that describing the organization as a “cult” is ridiculous. While the organization does have a loyalty pledge, it is mainly to help members of the community. The leaders say the organization is non-partisan. People of Praise have recently changed the title of their female leaders from “handmaiden” to “women leaders.”
Either way, the organization promotes a conservative approach to Christianity that demonstrates that if Barrett were elected, she would be similar to another justice with extremely traditional personal beliefs, Justice Scalia. Coincidentally, Barrett clerked for Justice Scalia before she joined the Notre Dame Law School faculty.