On Amy Coney Barrett

She doesn’t look bat shit crazy does she?

Well the rush is on on to replace Justice Ginsburg before  her body is placed in the ground.  And  it has been reported that Trump’s nomination to the high court is Amy Coney Barrett.

Besides being a rock ribbed conservative, Amy is a Catholic.  Six members of the current court are Catholics, if you count Neil Gorsuch who was raised a Catholic but has been seen at Episcopal services.  Chief Justice John Roberts is a Catholic.   If Amy is nominated and confirmed, seven of the nine justices will be Catholic or raised Catholic.  The remaining two are Jewish.

All of the Catholic justices are conservatives with the exception  of Sonia Sotto Mayor.  Only 13 Catholic justices have been seated on the Court since 1836 and 7 or those 13 currently sit on the Court while Catholics are currently 20% of the U.S. population.

But of course religion doesn’t matter – right?

What do you think the chance of being nominated, let alone confirmed to the high court if you were an out atheist?  Seems to me that atheists are the most under represented group in America.  No where in government, House, Senate or Court is there an avowed atheist.

Oh well.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t particularly care about anyone’s religious beliefs although I did write a piece about snake handlers questioning their mental health.


I am firmly in the “live and let live” corner; believe what you like. It is your right as it is mine not to believe at all.  I do not look down on those who follow established religions nor am I in anyone’s face about it.  I live a quiet life in which religion plays no part.  It wasn’t that long ago I would have been burned at the stake for my utterances.

Its just that it sees to me that the “devout” don’t feel that way and they constantly work to ensure that everyone must be forced to believe as they believe. After all, they are following “God’s Law.”  Which of course I think is a pile of rubbish.  No matter that there are millions who believe as I do.

Now I was raised in the Catholic culture though my mom insisted her children attend public schools.  She had spent several years in a Catholic orphanage and never went to church again. I know lots of Catholics and lapsed Catholics.

Some don’t practice the faith at all.  Some go to church on Easter and Christmas.  Some go to church every Sunday. Some go to Mass everyday.  Some have the parish priest over for dinner.

And then there are the Opus Dei types.

Amy Coney Barrett is one of those.  And at her young age she could be sitting on the Court for 40 years.

The Louisiana native and Notre Dame Law graduate, a favorite among Trump’s evangelical Christian base, has said legal careers ought not to be seen as means of gaining satisfaction, prestige or money, but rather “as a means to the end of serving God”.

Her nomination is drawing attention to a secretive Catholic “covenant community” called People of Praise that counts Barrett as a member and faces claims of adhering to a “highly authoritarian” structure.

Charismatic communities emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit in the daily lives of believers. Some of their practices appear to have more in common with Pentecostal communities than with traditional Catholicism, such as speaking in tongues, healing services and prophecy.

Some conservative and progressive activists have said any discussion of Barrett’s faith is inappropriate in the context of a Senate confirmation to assess her judicial qualifications, and potentially reflects anti-Catholic bigotry.  I’d buy that if those same folks would agree that a candidate’s lack of  faith would not be a subject of discussion.

Other Catholic writers have said it is fair to scrutinize People of Praise because the group falls far outside mainstream Catholicism.

“Interviews with experts who have studied charismatic Christian groups such as People of Praise, and with former members of the group, plus a review of the group’s own literature, reveal an organization that appears to dominate some members’ everyday lives, in which so-called “heads” – or spiritual advisers – make big life decisions  and in which members are expected to financially support one another.

Married women – such as Barrett – count their husbands as their “heads,” vow to submit to their husbands and all members are expected to donate 5% of their income to the organization.”

Her father and her husband are also members.  The group emerged out of the Catholic charismatic movement of the late 1960s, which blended Catholicism and Protestant Pentecostalism – Catholics and Protestants are both members – and adopted practices like speaking in tongues. The group’s literature shows communal living is also encouraged, at least among unmarried members, as is the sharing of finances between households.

Massimo Faggioli, a historian and theologian at Villanova University, said there were “tensions” between serving as a supreme court justice, one of the final interpreters of the US constitution, and swearing an oath to an organization he said “lacks transparency and visible structures of authority that are accountable to their members, to the Roman Catholic church, and to the wider public”.

“A lot of what goes on in People of Praise is not that different than what goes on in a lot of rightwing or conservative Catholic circles,” said Heidi Schlumpf, a national correspondent for National Catholic Reporter, which reports on the church.

“Whether People of Praise rises to the level of cult, I am not in a position to make that judgment. But there is a level of secrecy that was concerning, and there was a level of reports by people who left the organization of authoritarianism that [is] concerning as well.”

Barrett served as a trustee for the Trinity School at Greenlawn, a private Catholic school affiliated with People of Praise, from 2015 to 2017. A parent handbook describes the school’s commitment to the establishment of “Christian relationships” that adhere to “scripture and Christian tradition”.

“We understand marriage to be a legal and committed relationship between a man and a woman and believe that the only proper place for sexual activity is within these bounds of conjugal love,” the handbook says, emphasizing that any sex outside of marriage – whether gay or straight – is not in keeping with “God’s plan for human sexuality”.

Students who experience same-sex attraction, the handbook says, ought not to “prematurely interpret any emotional experience as identity-defining”.

“We believe that such self-identification at a young age can lead to students being labeled based solely upon sexuality, generate distraction, create confusion, and prevent students from experiencing true freedom within the culture of the school,” the handbook says.

While the school’s objection to gay marriage and attraction is in line with mainstream Catholic teaching, the handbook also actively discourages teenage students from forming “exclusive relationships”, and asks them not to “be exclusive or give evidence of their dating relationships while at school”.

“While the handbook does not describe its objection to such relationships, one expert who asked not to be named, because they had already received online abuse for speaking critically about People of Praise, said it revealed the importance the group put on the concept of community, rather than individual relationships.”

“It’s typical of these charismatic communities that friendship is seen as a danger to the community,” the person said. “That’s normal.”

Now to my way of thinking this woman is bat shit crazy.  On  the other hand I believe studying theology is a total waste of time.  Sort of like arguing how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.  I view it as the study of myths.

Yet this woman will be making life altering decisions for all of us.

For example assume you are pro-choice.  Your position does not force anyone to have an abortion,  If you believe in personhood from the moment of conception and that abortion is wrong, well don’t have one.  On the other hand, for those who speak in terms of zygotes and fetuses, Judge Coney Barrett would impose her view on you.  God’s law even if you don’t believe in God.

And thus it is with all true believers.  Regular go to Mass everyday Catholicism was not good enough for Coney Barrett.  She had to join a cult.

Our new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America believes in speaking in tongues, laying on of hands, the gift of prophecy and healing by the Holy Ghost.

All she needs to add is snake handling.


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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16 Responses to On Amy Coney Barrett

  1. beetleypete says:

    “has said legal careers ought not to be seen as means of gaining satisfaction, prestige or money, but rather “as a means to the end of serving God”.
    Do I take it that she will carry out her duties free of charge in that case? It would be interesting to see that.
    Just what America needs. Another religious fundamentalist.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. toritto says:

    I doubt she will work for free Pete! Gotta give money monthly to her group.

    Yes, just what we need. Best from Florida.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There are Catholics and then there are Catholics. I attended a Jesuit school for my PhD and use Paulo Freire in my writing. My guess is my views would not fit well with those who support her nomination in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. toritto says:

    They would not.
    Best from Florida.


  5. jennasnanny04 says:

    My view is that religion has NO place in government. Looks, to me,
    like we are potentially screwed. Trump, the anti-Christ, is using every trick in the book to lure in his base and potential additions to it. We just shake our heads and ask, how can all these people not see his cons?
    I agree with all you’ve said, Frank, and my sadness continues to mount.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. leggypeggy says:

    So much for separation of church and state.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. GP Cox says:

    There is God’s Law and Man’s Law and as legal experts, they are well aware. Some may say “In God we trust” is legal and binding. So where is the answer? This has been debatable since this country was created.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toritto says:

      Hi GP. If one is not a believer then here is no “God’s Law” nor any “God” to trust in. I believe Jesus was a great teacher and we should all strive to live as he lived. But I do not believe he rose from the dead. Nor is he coming back. He was human.

      I force my beliefs on no one – yet not that long ago I would have been taken by the Inquisition. As for “In God We Trust” this motto was added in the 1950s, again by religious fanatics. The founding fathers had noting to do with it.

      Best regards.

      Liked by 2 people

      • GP Cox says:

        So, I don’t understand why Barrett’s religion comes into play. As a Federal judge, she has had to evaluate each case before her according to our laws.


  8. Oh, my. You’ve done some great research, here, frightening and horrible as it all sounds…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Don Ostertag says:

    That person is no more a ‘Catholic’ than Trump is a Republican…or an American

    Liked by 1 person

  10. dolphinwrite says:

    Our only concern is that she follows the U.S. Constitution as it was written, cannot be bought, cannot be influenced by the radical left, and stays true to separation of powers.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. toritto says:

    Hi Dolphin – . A justice’s personal beliefs cannot be separated from his or hers interpretation of the law. Let’s take Coney-Barrett. She was raised a devout Catholic, educated at Notre Dame but is currently a “hand maiden” (their words, not mine) in the charismatic group People of Praise. She has spoken out often against Roe v. Wade and deemed the right to abortion as “barbaric.”

    Not withstanding that the vast majority of the people in this county support it, she is fully prepared to strike it down. She is member of the minority. How do I know she would strike it down? Why do you think she was nominated. She will also vote to strike down Obama care. Everyone knows in advance how she will vote. Everyone knows what her “interpretation” of the law will be.

    That’s why you support her.

    As for “originalism’ the Constitution doesn’t mention a woman’s right to choose, social security, Medicare, or a woman’s right to vote for that matter.

    Where is democracy in that? There is none. When the GOP would not hold a hearing on Merritt Garland it turned the Court into one drastically needing reform.


  12. dolphinwrite says:

    Actually, and thanks for your views, for discussions are the heart of a free nation, but she will make decisions, as she said today, that supports the U.S. Constitution. She knows, in order to have a truly democratic republic, she must follow the laws. Not rubber stamp political persuasions. Now, if some laws are later deemed not constitutional, then they will be decided at that time. As far as abortion in concerned, and we’ve read the Constitution many times, also reading much of the federalist papers, there is no Constitutional right to an abortion. But the part that says all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is in the Constitution, and we know babies, born and unborn, are people. But that can be decided in the courts. We will do everything we can to encourage the support of life. With Obama care, she even explained today that there’s a possibility that if some parts are not constitutional, they can be ruled as such without removing all of it. It comes down to justices following the constitution and not special interests or politicians. I really don’t believe she will do what our president wants unless it’s constitutional, and then, she won’t be doing it for him.


    • toritto says:

      You (and she) are being completely disingenuous. She said nothing about her views yesterday and you say nothing today. She did say she is an acolyte of Scalia and his “originalism”. Do you know of any judge anywhere who holds similar views as A.S. who has supported choice? Me neither. You fully expect her and indeed you know where she comes down on the issue as she sits there a good catholic woman, member of a sub-cult with her 7 kids.

      You may think she is fit for the Court but this guy thinks she is bad shit crazy.

      You may believe zygotes and fetuses unable to exist outside of the womb are “persons” but millions do not. If you believe abortion is wrong then don’s have one. Choice is supported by the vast majority of Americans but that makes no difference to you. You are fully prepared to impose your beliefs on everyone.

      I remember a time when I couldn’t buy a condom in Connecticut.

      As far as Choice, make yours and answer to your own god yourself. But before you do walk ten years in my late wife’s shoes.


      PS – I am done with extensive discussion in the Comments section of my blog. I suggest you write your own post expressing your views.


      • dolphinwrite says:

        The moment a responder moves towards barbs and insults, they’ve already demonstrated their motivation and agenda, which is not of honesty and in this case, following the U.S. Constitution. As I speak, explaining very clearly, so people can get me, but those who aren’t honest say things like you aren’t clear, then send barbs. I know you’ll do what other disingenuous people do and bar me from the site. I don’t mind opposing views, but I will say it like it is.


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