Amy Coney Barrett by Rachel Malehorn / CC BY 3.0

Why Amy Coney Barrett’s Religious Beliefs Aren’t Off Limits

Sep 24, 2020

By Massimo Faggioli

Amy Coney Barrett has risen to the top of President Donald Trump’s short list to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court. A Roman Catholic, she is a life-long adherent of the People of Praise, a charismatic Christian group with a highly authoritarian internal structure.

Over the past several days, her backers have been arguing that public questions about her religious beliefs should be off limits—and that it’s anti-Catholic for Democrats even to raise questions about them, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein did in Barrett’s confirmation hearings the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in 2017. Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt has accused Democrats and the news media of expressing an “anti-Catholic bias” that is “deep and enduring.”

I’m a Catholic scholar, I’ve written two books on the type of religious community that Barrett is a member of, and I don’t think it’s anti-Catholic to ask questions about Barrett’s religious beliefs. On the contrary, as the president nears a decision on her potential nomination later this week, I’m convinced they need to be front and center.

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