News & Politics

The Left's Latest 'Handmaid's Tale' Attack on Amy Coney Barrett Reeks of Desperation

AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool

When Judge Amy Coney Barrett arrived at her Senate confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, she wore a mask to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Some mainstream leftists are so desperate to compare Trump’s Supreme Court nominee to the misogynistic regime of The Handmaid’s Tale that they seized on her coronavirus mask and her red suit as a pretext to smear Barrett.

“Under his eye. Blessed be the fruit,” leftist filmmaker and commentator Michael Moore tweeted with an image of Barrett in her black mask and her red dress alongside a picture of a handmaid from The Handmaid’s Tale.

“Under his eye” and “Blessed be the fruit” are mantras from the misogynistic regime of Gilead in the dystopian novel and television show. After taking away women’s rights to work and own property, the government forces handmaids — fertile women who are assigned to powerful men in order to bear them children — to repeat them. “Under his eye” refers to religiously based government surveillance, while “Blessed be the fruit” refers to the fruit of their wombs — the babies who are ripped from their arms. (It also echoes the Roman Catholic prayer, “Hail Mary.”)

As notable as Moore is, he was not the only one to compare Barrett’s mask with the masks forced on handmaids during The Handmaid’s Tale.

Zerlina Maxwell, an author and MSNBC contributor, explicitly compared Barrett’s mask with the masks used to gag women in the television show.

“Sorry but this has been on my mind all day. Carry on,” Maxwell tweeted, with images of Barrett in a mask compared with images of Handmaid’s Tale characters in gag masks used to torture them.

Many far-left activists have used The Handmaid’s Tale to demonize pro-lifers and conservative Christians. Pro-abortion activists have donned Handmaid’s Tale outfits, claiming that any restriction on abortion is effectively tantamount to removing women’s rights and forcing them to become broodmares. Leftists also compared the Republican attempt to replace Obamacare with The Handmaid’s Tale. Left-leaning protesters donned handmaid outfits to protest Barrett’s confirmation hearing.

While some leftists often mock people for refusing to wear masks during the pandemic, it seems particularly noteworthy and despicable that Moore and Maxwell used Barrett’s coronavirus mask to compare her to a misogynistic dystopia. Even if they were joking, their tweets played on a common trope demonizing conservative Christians and pro-life advocates.

No, Hillary Clinton Fans, Evangelicals Are Not Secretly Planning a ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Future

Is there any truth to the comparison?

In The Handmaid’s Tale, Gilead removes women’s property, fires them from their jobs, and forces them into a stratified society based extremely loosely on one specific Bible passage. The government assigns fertile women to the position of “handmaids,” silent servants who are systematically raped in order to bear children.

This is based on Genesis 30, where Rachel, anxious for children, tells her husband Jacob to have sex with her handmaid Bilhah. In response, Jacob’s other wife, Leah, tells Jacob to have sex with her handmaid Zilpah.

Nowhere in the Bible is this wifely rivalry in producing children praised as a good thing. In fact, it is likely part of the story so that God can show His disdain for the idea of polygamy itself. The general theme of scripture — from Genesis to Jesus’ words in the gospels — suggests that men and women were designed for one another in the covenant of marriage, which is one man and one woman.

Some media outlets falsely claimed that a group to which Barrett once belonged — People of Praise — inspired Margaret Atwood in writing The Handmaid’s Tale. In truth, Atwood’s notes referred to People of Hope, a different organization, and it is dubious that even People of Hope inspired Atwood’s novel.

Left-leaning journalists have seized on Barrett’s use of the common Christian phrase “the kingdom of God,” acting as though this were nefarious. The Associated Press ran a story exposing the fact that People of Praise refers to fathers as — get this — the “head” of the family! This phrase derives straight from the Bible and does not suggest nefarious patriarchy denying women and children rights.

Any traditional small-o orthodox Christian is well aware of what “the kingdom of God” means and what it means for men to be the “heads” of their families. Yet many on the Left do not understand Christianity, and many of them are openly hostile to traditional versions of Christianity.

Sociologists have revealed that animus against conservative Christians is rife in American society, especially among elites in academia and the media. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has branded conservative Christian nonprofits like Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and FRC “hate groups” due to their beliefs on marriage and sexuality, listing them along with the Ku Klux Klan. ADF has won nine Supreme Court cases in seven years. A terrorist attempted to kill everyone at FRC, thanks to the SPLC’s “hate map.”

The SPLC also marked the small Catholic charity the Ruth Institute a “hate group,” citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a “hate” document.

The SPLC is quite mainstream. Big Tech companies like Amazon use it to screen out “hate groups.” Schools across America receive its “Teaching Tolerance” materials. Democratic senators have cited the SPLC to demonize Trump’s administration and judicial appointees. In one case, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said of Amy Coney Barrett, “The dogma lives loudly” within her so she can’t be trusted. In another, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that Russell Vought is “really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about,” because he thinks Muslims do not go to heaven.

Many commentators twist conservative Christian positions in order to make them seem nefarious.

Contrary to Michael Moore and Zerlina Maxwell, conservative Christians like Amy Coney Barrett would not support anything like The Handmaid’s Tale, and the most basic familiarity with their beliefs and lifestyles makes this abundantly clear.

Also, note to Michael Moore and Zerlina Maxwell: Amy Coney Barrett is wearing a mask because of the coronavirus pandemic, not because of The Handmaid’s Tale. Have you been living under a rock?!

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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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