President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has come under fire from liberal activists and politicians for her affiliation with a Christian group in South Bend, Indiana called "People of Praise."
On Sunday, Politico published a report detailing the influence of the People of Praise on Barrett's legal philosophy and social beliefs. Further stories have been published by a range of outlets, digging into her relationship with the group. People of Praise is a low-key yet charismatic group, sometimes described as a "cult" by critics and citizens of South Bend alike. The group maintains a strong influence on politics and conservatism in South Bend.
The article describes policies at the Trinity School at Greenlawn in South Bend, where Barrett served on the board from 2015 to 2017. Trinity is a "private intermediate and high school that is considered by some to be the best - and most conservative - school in South Bend." The school's website outlines that they are committed to fostering "culture of learning and a culture of Christian life."The school statement, controversial to some, reads, "We understand marriage to be a legal and committed relationship between a man and a woman and believe that the only proper place for sexual activity is within these bounds of conjugal love."
Adam Wren, the Politico contributing editor that penned the article, wrote on Twitter that a previous, essentially identical, statement was "at odds with American law."
Although same-sex marriage is legal and quite popular among the American public now, many religious organizations, schools, and groups still define marriage in their faith and policies according to their scripture.
Apart from their opposition to homosexual marriage, People of Praise have also been criticized for their "complementarian view of marriage."
A story by Mother Jones detailed criticisms of the group from Adrian Reimers, a longtime Notre Dame university professor who was one of the group's original founders in 1971.
"According to a teaching that has been circulating among the community heads, women are by nature manipulative," Reimers recounted to Mother Jones. "This is one of the effects of Original Sin on them. The wise husband will factor this into his relationship with his wife, recognizing that much of what she does is insincere. To deal with this, the husband should distrust her motives and instead draw closer to his head and the men in his men's group."
Barrett has not commented publicly about her association with People of Praise. The group's spokesperson declined a request by Associated Press to confirm whether or not Barrett and her husband are members. The Guardian also reported that People of Praise have removed all mentions of Barrett on their website ahead of her hearings and the intense scrutiny of the proceedings.
Barrett will have to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee again after doing so in 2017 for her confirmation to the appeals court. The confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin Oct. 12 but may be postponed with numerous members of the committee testing positive for Covid-19 in the past week.