Donald Trump has stated that he will pick a nominee for the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by the end of this week. He added that he will choose a woman for the position.
Reportedly, Trump’s top pick, Judge Amy Barrett belongs to a religious group that believes husbands should rule over their wives.
Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed by the Senate to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago back in 2017. She is part of a Christian group known as “People of Praise.” The fact that she was a member of this religious group was not known during her confirmation hearing.
Barrett did not reveal she belonged to “People of Praise” instead she stated that she was a “faithful Catholic.” She also stated that her religious beliefs would not affect any decisions that she made as an appellate judge.
The “People of Praise” have practices that would surprise the country’s faithful Catholics. To be part of the group one must swear a lifelong oath of loyalty, known as a covenant. They are assigned and are accountable to a personal advisor known as a “head” for men and a “handmaid” for women.
The covenant each member must make is this: “Therefore, we covenant ourselves to live our lives together in Christ, our Lord, by the power of his spirit. We agree to be a basic Christian community, to find within our fellowship the essential core of our life in the spirit, in worship and the sacraments, spiritual and moral guidance, service, and apostolic activity. We accept the order of this community, which the Lord is establishing with all the ministry gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially with the foundational ministry gifts of apostles, pastors, prophets, teachers, and evangelists. We agree to obey the direction of the Holy Spirit manifested in and through these ministries in full harmony with the Church. We recognize in the covenant a unique relationship one to another and between the individual and the community. We accept the responsibility for mutual care, concern, and ministry among ourselves. We will serve one another and the community as a whole in all needs: spiritual, material, financial. We agree that the weekly meeting of the community is primary among our commitments and that we will not be absent except for a serious reason.”
The group teaches that the husband is in complete control of their wives and children. Husbands are the only authority figure in the family.
The New York Times interviewed a legal scholar who stated that loyalty oaths like that required by the “People of Praise” could easily prove problematic for a judge.
“These groups can become so absorbing that it’s difficult for a person to retain individual judgment,” said Sarah Barringer Gordon, a professor of constitutional law and history at the University of Pennsylvania. “I don’t think it’s discriminatory or hostile to religion to want to learn more” about her relationship with the group.
Craig S. Lent, the leader of “People of Praise” said his group was neither “nefarious” nor “controversial.” Because of group policy, he refused to confirm that Barrett was a member.
“We don’t try to control people,” said Lent, who is also a professor of electrical engineering and physics at Notre Dame. “And there’s never any guarantee that the leader is always right. You have to discern and act in the Lord.”
“If and when members hold political offices, or judicial offices, or administrative offices, we would certainly not tell them how to discharge their responsibilities,” Lent added.
Both current and former members of “People of Praise” have stated that Barrett, her husband, and seven children belong to the group. The group was founded in 1971 and reportedly has 1,800 adult members in 22 different locations in the United States and the Caribbean.
According to the group’s website “People of Praise is a charismatic Christian community. We admire the first Christians who were led by the Holy Spirit to form a community. Those early believers put their lives and their possessions in common, and “there were no needy persons among them.”
The website adds, “People of Praise is part of a global movement that has brought powerful new experiences of the Holy Spirit to more than 500 million people since the beginning of the 20th century.”
People of Praise reportedly partially inspired the hit HULU TV series the Handmaiden’s Tale.