Barrett currently serves a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and was formerly a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School. A mother of seven, she is a member of People of Praise, an ecumenical charismatic group founded in the 1970s for Christians to practice their faith in community.
The group has previously been criticized as a "cult" where husbands and wives were previously referred to as "heads" and "handmaidens"–both Scriptural references. Shortly before Barrett was nominated by Trump to serve on the Supreme Court on Sept. 26, People of Praise was hacked, and its membership roles accessed.
Bishop Peter Smith, the auxiliary bishop of Portland and a member of the priestly association Brotherhood of the People of Praise, told CNA that original members started a "covenant," not an oath, to pray together, tithe, and meet regularly for spiritual, social, and service projects. He added that it is non-partisan, saying that he knew members of the group who were both Republican and Democrat.
On Thursday, The Guardian reported that Barrett, while a law student in the 1990s, resided in the house of the co-founder of People of Praise. The paper called the group "secretive" and one which "has been criticized for dominating the lives of its members and subjugating women."
"The revelation," The Guardian added, raises questions about the co-founder's influence on Barrett's current beliefs, saying that it "offers new clues about the possible influence of the People of Praise, and one of its leaders, on a woman who may shape the direction of the supreme court for the next 40 to 50 years."
Late on Tuesday evening, the Washington Post noted Barrett's position of "handmaiden" in People of Praise, and reported on the group's promotion of "obedience" and "submission" of wives to husbands. The paper interviewed former members of the group who said that women held lesser positions in the group to men, and that wives were expected to cede decision-making in the home to husbands.