"Worship Meeting" by Josué Goge / CC BY 2.0

As U.S. Supreme Court nomination looms, a religious community draws fresh interest

Sep 23, 2020

By Daniel Trotta

People of Praise, a self-described charismatic Christian community, has faced renewed interest since U.S. President Donald Trump put one of its purported members, Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on his short list of candidates for elevation to the Supreme Court.

The group says on its website it is made up of liberals and conservatives, with a mixture including Roman Catholic and Pentecostal traditions, though at least one expert and a former member consider it very conservative. Until 2018, it used the term ‘handmaid’ for its female leaders.

The group has declined to confirm or deny whether Barrett was a member since a New York Times article in 2017 said she was in the group, citing unnamed current and former members. It says it leaves it to members to disclose any involvement. At the time, Barrett did not respond to requests for comment from the Times.

The group’s spokesman, Sean Connolly, told Reuters that women are not considered subservient in People of Praise and that many hold leadership roles, such as directing schools and ministries.

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