What is “The People of Praise”, of which a judge of the American Supreme Court is a member? – Ouest-France evening edition

The People of Praise, literally “People of Praise”, is a small American religious community, one of whose members now holds one of the most prominent positions in the American system. Amy Coney Barret, 50, is a Supreme Court justice, who could soon rule against abortion rights. She has been part of the community since childhood, known in particular for her stance against homosexuality.

On February 5, 2022, the American site Politico released a bombshell. A working paper, more specifically, from the US Supreme Court, which planned to reverse the “Roe versus Wade” ruling, guaranteeing the right to abortion in the United States since 1973. Among the judges of the highest institution of the country, the conservative jurist Amy Coney Barret, appointed in the fall of 2020 by Donald Trump. The latter is known for her positions against abortion (voluntary termination of pregnancy), but less for her membership of a small, very closed religious community: The People of Praise, literally “People of Praise”. This Christian group is known for its ultra-conservative positions, openly hostile to homosexuality, and its patriarchal conception of the family where the husband “is the head of his wife”.

See also: United States. Who is Amy Coney Barrett, the conservative justice appointed by Trump for the Supreme Court?

1,700 members belonging to the “Alliance”

This religious community, created in 1971, Judge Barret grew up there. Her parents are among them, as is her husband.

According to the British daily The Guardian, more than 1,700 people would today be part of the People of Praise, governed by strict rules. Members must take a lifelong oath, called the “Covenant”, and follow several principles.

“Correct” his wife, one of the husband’s responsibilities

The American Daily The New York Times was able to obtain a document entitled The men and women of People of Praise. Inside, it is written that the husbands “are the heads of their wives”.

If this position does not authorize a husband to dominate his wife, the latter “must take her husband’s instructions seriously”. “A husband’s responsibilities include ‘correcting’ his wife if she should stray from the right path,” continues the New York Times

A community that inspired “The Scarlet Servant”?

Each member of the community is also accountable to their personal advisor. The latter give directives: with whom to marry, where to live, what job to occupy, etc. Until recently, explains the New York Timesthe women’s councilor of the community was called hand maidor “maidservant”, as in the famous novel by Margaret Atwood, The Scarlet Maidwhich depicts a dystopian American society, where women are devalued and enslaved.

Since the release of the television adaptation of this novel, the members of the “Alliance” now opt for the term Women Leader, or “Women’s Guide”. It was the office held by Amy Coney Barret, according to a 2010 community directory, that the washington post could get.

A community openly opposed to homosexuality

The American Craig Lent is today the leader of the People of Praise. In 2018, he told the newspaper South Bend Grandstand that the community would terminate the membership of a person who disclosed gay sex or any other “continuous, deliberate and unrepented fault”, report it Guardian. To explain this decision, Craig Lent refers to the New Testamentand condemns abortion in the same way.

The British daily underlines that the belonging of the judge of the American Supreme Court to this very closed community raises questions, at a time when the legal body wishes to repeal the famous judgment authorizing the right to abortion.

While Amy Coney Barret has never had to answer for her involvement with the People of Praise, she said her religious beliefs would not influence her role as a judge. “I will judge according to the Constitution and not according to my convictions”, she said during her hearing before the US Senate in October 2020.

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