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Amy Coney Barrett's Faith Is Being Targeted, so What Does She Believe?

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Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, is President Donald Trump's choice fill the vacancy at the Supreme Court following the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month. 

This is not the first time Barrett has been in the spotlight for the high court. She was a strong contender for the opening that went to Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. At the time, Trump told confidants he was "saving" Barrett for Ginsburg's seat.

As Axios reported in 2019, Barrett became a favorite among conservatives for a couple of reasons. One, she's relatively young and is a devout Catholic. Two, her past academic record of legal writings suggest an openness to overturning Roe v. Wade. 

For those reasons, she's also become a target of the Left. Article Six of the United States Constitution forbids religious tests for government service:  "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

But Barrett's faith has already come under fire in previous confirmation hearings, and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) says she plans to zero in even more forcefully on Barrett's Christian beliefs if Trump picks her.

Family and Faith 

Barrett is a mother of seven children. At just 48-years-old, Barrett holds promise for a potential decades-long term on the bench. She once clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, taught law at Notre Dame, and has reported conservative views about protecting religious freedom.

As to her faith, Barrett is a part of the charismatic renewal movement within the Catholic Church and participates in a "covenant community" called People of Praise. The organization is not a formal Catholic organization. It has no canonical standing.

"The appeal is Christians living close together with a certain commitment to stick it out together," explained Craig Lent, the group's top coordinator and a professor of engineering and physics at the University of Notre Dame, according to Religion News Service. "It's a charismatic kind of life together with the gifts of the Spirit. We experience God's presence in our brothers and sisters."

Many charismatic Catholics see themselves as a continuation of the historic Azusa Street Revival of 1906, a modern outpouring of the Holy Spirit like in the biblical book of Acts. That includes supernatural gifts referred to in the New Testament, such as the gifts of healing, prophecy, and speaking in tongues.

The movement spread to the Catholic Church in 1967 when professors at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh held a retreat at which people were baptized in the Spirit. 

After that retreat, prayer groups began forming across the country, and the charismatic renewal movement within the Catholic Church blossomed. Fifty years later, charismatic Catholics can be found around the globe. They often worship in traditional churches but have developed a network of charismatic prayer groups, retreats, and conferences. 

The movement first gained a papal blessing in the 1980s. In 2017, Pope Francis marked the 50th anniversary of Catholic charismatic renewal in Rome.

Though it is not embraced by everyone, the pope said, "it is true that it fully belongs in the biblical tradition."

The Left Stands Opposed to Barrett's Strong Faith

As CBN News reported in 2018, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) opposed Barrett vehemently during her Senate confirmation battle for US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Feinstein even implemented a religious test, blasting Barrett for her deep Catholic faith, calling it "dogma."

"When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you and that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years," Feinstein said.

The California Democrat specifically referenced a 2006 graduation speech where Barrett made several references to God.

Barrett had told graduates, "No matter how exciting any career is, what is it really worth if you don't make it part of a bigger life project to know, love and serve the God who made you?"

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Steve Warren and Benjamin Gill
Steve Warren and Benjamin Gill