Unsurprisingly, Amy Coney Barrett's Weird Church Faces Allegations of Abuse

The feds won't confirm if there was an investigation, but weird ideas for sure beget weird behavior.

Esquire/October 3, 2023

By Charles P. Pierce

Now this is a strange one. Unsurprising, at this point, but strange nonetheless. There are corners of Holy Mother Church in which weird ideas beget weird behavior. From the Guardian:

The individuals were contacted following a years-long effort by a group called PoP Survivors, who have called for the South Bend-based sect to be investigated for leaders’ handling of sexual abuse allegations. The body, which has 54 members, has alleged that abuse claims were routinely mishandled or covered up for decades in order to protect the close-knit faith group. It is not clear whether the FBI has launched a formal investigation into the PoP. The Guardian has confirmed that at least five individuals were contacted by the FBI and four gave detailed accounts to agents of abusive behavior they allegedly experienced or witnessed. Individuals spoke to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity and said they believed the FBI interviews were part of an initial inquiry.

One of the late Senator Dianne Feinstein's last great moments was when she looked nominee Amy Coney Barrett up and down during the confirmation hearing and said, "The dogma lives loudly in you." There were howls from the Right about "bigotry" and "religious tests in office." And the confirmation process was so carefully built for speed — "Rigged," one might say — that a true debate on the subject never happened. (Once Dobbs dropped, Feinstein's statement looked a lot better.) But, if the feds really are onto something here, the question may reopen widely.

One woman who was interviewed by agents from Minneapolis, Minnesota, said she received an update last week and was told by agents that the investigation into her own claims, which involved allegations of sexual abuse by a teacher, had been closed. The woman told the Guardian that news had left her disappointed and defeated, and full of “a lot of questions”, because the agents had seemed interested in pursuing the matter.

The People of Praise believe in a theological hodgepodge that adds up to patriarchy of the most mundane sort. The movement is a product of the (basically) political alliance between conservative Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism. (The alliance became a little friendlier when the latter group stopped calling the pope the Whore of Babylon.) It flourishes in opposition to established churches of both faith beliefs.

The PoP was founded in the 1970s as part of a Christian charismatic movement. The group is led exclusively by men. Like other charismatic communities, it blends Catholicism and Protestant Pentecostalism – its members are mostly Catholic but include some Protestants. In meetings, members are encouraged to share prophecies and speak in tongues. One former member said adherents believe God can speak through members to deliver messages, sometimes about their future.

Right now, these allegations are just that. The FBI isn't even confirming the existence of the investigation. But if it comes to fruition, there will be another front on which to doubt the Court's credibility, and one involving a completely different kind of corruption.

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