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AMY CONEY BARRETT: A Faithful Judge for our Times

AMY CONEY BARRETT: A Faithful Judge for our Times

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline org
September 29, 2020

The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to be the next Supreme Court Justice might be the closest judge that evangelicals will have, or can expect to have, to the nation's highest court.

The court has been dominated by Catholics and Jews for decades, even though one in four Americans are evangelicals, they have not had a justice they can call their own. Barrett is a Catholic charismatic. She and her family belong to a Christian covenant community known as the People of Praise. She and her husband, Jesse, who is a federal prosecutor, have seven children.

According to Wikipedia, People of Praise is a Christian community. As a parachurch organization, membership is open to any baptized Christian who affirms the Nicene Creed and agrees to the community's covenant. Most of its members are Catholics, but Protestants can also join, reflecting the ecumenical nature of People of Praise. People of Praise has 22 branches in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, with approximately 1,700 members. It founded Trinity Schools, which are aligned with the philosophy of Classical Christian education.

People of Praise was formed in 1971 by Kevin Ranaghan and Paul DeCelles. Both men were involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, in which Pentecostal religious experiences such as baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and prophecy are practiced by Catholics. In its early history, People of Praise influenced the institutional development of the Catholic Charismatic movement in the United States and played important roles in national charismatic conferences.

People of Praise members practice a form of spiritual direction that involves the supervision of a member by a more "spiritually mature" person called a "head". People of Praise maintains that members retain their freedom of conscience under such direction. The community, like the rest of the Catholic Church, excludes women from leadership positions. It nevertheless encourages women to pursue higher education and employment.

It is not a catholic cult, they are evangelical Catholics closer to charismatic evangelicals, Pentecostals and Anglican evangelicals than any other Christian grouping. She and her family have more in common with ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach, than blase Joseph Cardinal Cupich of Chicago.

She would have nothing in common with The Episcopal Church, its Presiding Bishop Michael Curry or any mainline progressive denomination, as she would undoubtably eschew sodomy and homosexual marriage. She would have the "born again" experience of Southern Baptists but being a creedal Christian, that is where it would end.

The headship issue doesn't imply authoritarianism or control, but mutuality. That her husband, a lawyer, helped her get to where she has gotten, gives the lie to any notion that mutuality implies top down control.

Their marriage seems marked by mutuality and by all accounts is working well. They have two adopted children from Haiti, a legitimate sign of pluralism. Evangelicals should rejoice that while they may not have one of their own in the fullest sense of the word, she comes as close as they will get and they should celebrate that fact.

As one wag observed, her greatest "sin" is that she rented a video from Blockbuster and did not rewind the tape before returning it.


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