Is Amy Coney Barrett's People of Praise anti-abortion and anti-gay? Ex-member spills secrets on thongs ban

In the world of People of Praise, large belt buckles are seen as a sin as 'they draw attention to the crotch region'. They also ban perfumes and insist single women wear plain white cotton panties

                            Is Amy Coney Barrett's People of Praise anti-abortion and anti-gay? Ex-member spills secrets on thongs ban
Amy Coney Barrett (Getty Images)

Judge Amy Coney Barrett's ties to conservative group People of Praise and the startling revelations about the group's inner workings have become a talking point ahead of the Senate hearing on the Supreme Court nominee's confirmation to the SCOTUS on Monday, October 12.

In the secretive world of the ultra-conservative People of Praise, large belt buckles are seen as a sin. "They draw attention to the crotch region," a former member told Daily Mail. Moreover, perfume and cologne are also banned by the group for similar reasons. "That would indicate you are trying to tempt someone with pheromones," the ex-member reportedly said.

Further, single women are told they can only wear plain white cotton panties. "Certainly, no thongs —not that anyone is going to see their underwear anyway," the ex-member, who sought anonymity, reportedly said.
These are some of the rules that the Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was reportedly conditioned under as a member of People of Praise, a mainly Roman Catholic faith group that boasts of fewer than 1,700 adult members. Now, with Barrett's hearing to the nation's highest court underway, these revelations might prove to be obstacles in her way. 

President Donald Trump arrives to introduce 7th US Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26, 2020, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Barrett will be taking over the highest position in the Supreme Court and replacing late iconic judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Republicans, led by Judiciary Committee chairman Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have vouched for her nomination. However, Democrats have been opposing her as they feel her selection would incline the court to the right for decades to come.

Before a decision is taken, here's a look at Barrett's connection with the group. 

Amy Coney Barrett's ties with People of Praise

Judge Barrett was raised in Metairie, Louisiana, as a member of People of Praise. Her father, Mike Coney, a former oil company lawyer, and her husband Jesse, who is an attorney, were both conditioned in that group. Until now she has never publicly mentioned that she is a member of the group however, certain media reports suggest she is an active member.

People of Praise is based in Notre Dame's hometown, South Bend, Indiana, and Barrett has tried to reportedly hide her affiliation to the group. Daily Mail reported that articles mentioning her were removed from the group's website shortly before she was to be considered for a seat on the Federal Appeals Court in 2017.

Seventh US Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court in Washington DC on September 30, 2020, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

In fact, Barrett's link to People of Praise came into the spotlight when New York Times broke the story after her confirmation hearing when she was picked as a SCOTUS nominee. Shedding some light on the group's conduct, NYT wrote that its practices would surprise many faithful Catholics.

"Members of the group swear a lifelong oath of loyalty, called a covenant, to one another and are assigned and are accountable to a personal adviser, called a 'head' for men and a 'handmaid' for women. The group teaches that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority over the family," the report stated.

The report added that current and former members say that the heads and handmaids give directions on important decisions, including whom to date or marry, where to live, whether to take a job or buy a home and how to bring up children.

Is the group anti-abortion and anti-gay?

Coming to the issue of abortion, People of Praise is strongly anti-abortion, according to Daily Mail. The group reportedly rejects homosexuality. "Both are seen as being accepted by human law, but rejected by divine law," the former member of the group explained to Daily Mail. 

The group reportedly has restrictions on homosexual relationships, "Homosexual relationships are taboo and any LGBTQ inclinations are seen as temptations that must be overcome through prayer. If that fails, the member must lead a life of chastity."

Seventh US Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee for the US Supreme Court, at the US Capitol on September 29, 2020, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Daily Mail mentions Mary Belton, who was a grade eight student in the 1980s, was expelled from People of Praise along with her entire family when her mother came out as gay. She told the Associated Press, according to the report, "I literally thought that my mom was this awful sinner and she's going to this literal fiery hell. And that if I supported her, that I was going there, too."

She said about Barrett, "It's worrisome. It's who she is." She added, "Anyone that I know, including myself, that has grown up in it and has left has had to go through a huge transformation and rewiring of your personhood, of your brain, of your soul and spirit." Belton said she felt that Barrett would not be able to set the group's teachings aside.

Daily Mail reported that the group had strong views on gender roles. "There is a large emphasis on embodying masculine characteristics and mannerisms," the former member said in the report. "Men are told they may not have piercings or long hair because it will make them look effeminate."

It is not just the group but even Barrett who has been termed by Democrats as a conservative judge who has criticized abortion. Now, as she undergoes confirmation hearings, such revelations are worth pondering over.

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