What is People of Praise? A look inside Amy Coney Barrett's church that inspired 'The Handmaid's Tale'

Amy Coney Barrett is an active follower of the People of Praise church and while people have praised it, others have scrutinized their beliefs


                            What is People of Praise? A look inside Amy Coney Barrett's church that inspired 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Amy Coney Barrett (Rachel Malehorn/Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump has been vocal about having a list of candidates who he thinks will be perfect to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Among all, Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as one of the top candidates. Trump has not shied away from praising Barrett's capabilities, and with him promising to reveal his decision soon, it looks like Barrett has a fair chance of winning.

Apart from being an attorney, Barrett and her family are members of a controversial church called People of Praise. The church asks members to take a "lifetime loyalty 'covenant', encourages female submission to their husbands", as reported by Daily Mail. The church also inspired 'The Handmaid's Tale', a show that gained popularity when it first made its debut in 2017. The church was formed as part of the Catholic revitalization movement in 1971, and at least 10 members from Barrett's family are part of it. Barrett's father, Mike Coney, is part of the board of members of the church. They are believed to be the "highest authority".

The website of the church calls themselves "a charismatic Christian community. We admire the first Christians who were led by the Holy Spirit to form a community". Those early believers put their lives and their possessions in common, and "there were no needy persons among them". Each member of the church is allotted a "personal adviser" who helps them with the "decisions on marriage, career, and other life choices". Apart from this, the members are also asked to give out other information, such as sins committed by them, their financial information. While they are being called advisors, previously these people were known as "heads" for males and "handmaids" for females. The outlet further reports that the church believes the husband has authority over his wife. While members of the church had to make a lifelong commitment, they were given time to think about their decision.

The website claims, "community members make this pledge freely, after a formation and instruction period that lasts three to six years. The covenant is a permanent commitment, and yet we are also open to the possibility that God may call a person to another way of life". The members of the community also give "five percent of their gross income" to the church, which is then used for supporting the community. At the same time, marriages within the members of the church are not uncommon. The website claims that "marriages in the community have a very low divorce rate". At the same time, the members of the community are willing to be there for each other. "Spiritual, material or financial," any kind of their need is fulfilled by the other member. Despite agreeing to spend a lifetime in the community, their official website reveals that people have the freedom to walk out when they want.

"Yes. We have always understood that God can call a person to another way of life, in which case he or she would be released from the covenant," read the answer to the question if members can leave at any time. While Barrett has not mentioned anything about her community, will this pose a problem for her in the future?

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