The Left Still Wants a Religious Test for Justice Amy Coney Barrett

Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool

Article VI of the Constitution can’t be any clearer on establishing some kind of “religious test” for any office. It specifically says that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

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And yet the left has been trying to force Justice Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself from LGBTQ cases since she was seated on the high court in January of 2021. This is due to her membership in a conservative Christian organization known as “People of Praise.”

There’s been much disinformation spread about People of Praise. Some on the left have tried to portray the groups as some kind of Christian cult or a secret society of Catholics. But the People of Praise are ecumenical in that any Christian can join one of its 22 branches in the United States and Canada. It is not “anti-woman,” as evidenced by Barrett’s rising to the top of her profession.

It is, like the Catholic Church and many fundamentalist Christian groups, opposed to gay marriage and sees sexual acts between gay people as a sin. This is so unremarkable a position that it’s surprising the left tries to portray these simple beliefs as “hate.” Regardless, the left sees Barrett’s membership in the group as a threat to the LGBTQ community.

There is now an important court case that has arrived at the Supreme Court that would affect religious freedom in America. A Christian website developer, Lori Smith, says that Colorado’s “anti-discrimination” law has forced her to “create messages that go against my deeply held beliefs” since she is unable to legally turn away gay couples.

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A group of former People of Praise members is claiming that, because of Barrett’s beliefs that gay marriage is a sin, she should recuse herself from the case.

The Guardian:

Barrett said in her confirmation hearing that her personal religious beliefs would not interfere with her abilities to be an unbiased judge. Conservatives have also lashed out against any suggestion that her affiliation with a Christian sect could compromise her independence.

But some former members of the faith group say they see a big difference between judges who have faith and are religious, and Barrett’s affiliation with the People of Praise, a tight-knit community whose members agree to a lifelong covenant of loyalty to one another.

“The People of Praise has deeply entrenched, anti-gay values that negatively affect the lives of real people, including vulnerable youth. These values show up in the everyday policies of the People of Praise and their schools. They are policies that are way outside the mainstream, and most Americans would be disturbed by them,” Kevin Connolly, a former member of the People of Praise who is the brother of the group’s chief spokesperson, told the Guardian.

Regardless of what the “policies” of People of Praise are, Barrett has so far given no indication that they affect her decisions or that she bases those decisions on religious doctrine. It’s a bogus argument and one the founders well recognized when they wrote the “religious test” clause.

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In fact, there is no connection between Barrett’s affiliation with the group — an affiliation she has never publicly acknowledged — and the notion that she would be incapable of being impartial in this case. Certainly, since her faith is part of who she is, it has shaped her and impacted how she views the world. But the law is the law, and to ask Barrett to recuse herself because of the kind of person she is is unfair and wrong.

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