Amy Coney Barrett Is Allegedly a Member of a Religious Group That's Been Called a "Cult." What Is It, Really? - 2018-07-03
Amy Coney Barrett, now a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, became a heroic figure to some religious conservatives during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last fall. Sen. Dianne Feinstein challenged the Catholic law professor about her religious beliefs, sneering—it seemed to many—that "the dogma lives loudly within you." With its strong whiff of anti-Catholic prejudice, the line became a rallying cry on the right.
This past weekend, Barrett emerged as a potential favorite to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy upon his retirement later this month. CBS News reported on Monday that Barrett and D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh are Trump's leading contenders for the appointment. Barrett is in her 40s, which means she could serve for decades, and she would be the court's only conservative woman, which some commentators have noted would make for better optics in abortion cases. (She is also a mother of seven, including one child with special needs and two children adopted from Haiti.)
Thanks to her new proximity to power, the dark murmurings over Barrett's religious affiliations have been revived. Many critics are particularly incensed over her apparent membership in a Catholic-adjacent group called "People of Praise," which the New York Times reported last fall. Law professor and Senate candidate Richard Painter tweeted the old Times story this weekend and said People of Praise "looks like a cult"; another prominent critic one-upped Painter by calling it a "secretive religious cult."