CNA Staff, Oct 7, 2020 / 11:00 am
Senators on Wednesday decried attacks on Catholic Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s religious beliefs.
“It is the definition of discrimination to assert that Justice Barrett’s particular faith makes her uniquely unqualified for this promotion,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stated on Wednesday. “Every Supreme Court Justice in history has possessed personal views.”
Responding to media and political criticism that Barrett’s faith-based beliefs rendered her incapable of serving as a justice, McConnell condemned the suggestions “that Judge Barrett is too Christian, or the wrong kind of Christian, to be a good judge.”
McConnell’s remarks came after multiple reports on Tuesday focused on Barrett’s membership in the ecumenical Christian group People of Praise, and suggested that her membership of the group meant she believed that women should be submissive to men.
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.”