Meet People of Praise: Why This Far-Right Cult Shouldn't Be Allowed Anywhere Near the Supreme Court - 2018-07-09
Tonight, President Donald Trump is scheduled to announce his nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court—and one of the possible nominees is 46-year-old Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate judge. Trump has made it clear that he plans to nominate someone who is not only fiscally conservative, but a severe social conservative who would have no problem overturning the Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973. Barrett fits the bill, especially in light of her reported association with an extremist, predominantly Catholic group called People of Praise.
When Trump nominated Barrett for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit last year, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California was concerned about her extreme social conservatism and asserted, "Dogma lives loudly within you, and that's a concern." Feinstein didn't bring up People of Praise, but the New York Times' Laurie Goodstein did in a September 28, 2017 article. And the group's history is disturbing.
People of Praise are quite controversial within Catholicism. Founded in 1971, the group incorporates elements of fundamentalist Pentecostal Protestantism (such as speaking in tongues) and is considered a cult in mainstream Catholicism. Its practices include requiring members to swear an oath of loyalty to the group and teaching that wives must be submissive to their husbands, and in the past, People of Praise called its female leaders "handmaidens"—which is downright chilling if one is familiar with Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel "The Handmaid's Tale" and the 1990 film and 2017/2018 television series it has inspired. People of Praise embrace a highly patriarchal ideology, believing that while women can have some leadership positions, they ultimately must submit to male authority.